The accident at the Delaware City refinery has been in the headlines for a couple of days
News of the Tuesday mishap was posted on Wednesday, with initial reports indicating an explosion and/or fire took place as three contractors were doing maintenance work on a piece of equipment.
Officials for the refinery and the contractor firmly denied the early report, with the release of a substance listed as the likely cause. More information will eventually come to light.
Delaware City has a good safety record under its current owner,PBF Energy. But any complex with pressurized processes comes with risks – even with a strong safety culture in place.
Many of us are strangers to the hard and dangerous work needed at afactory, refinery, farm, construction site or mine. We assume thatthe gas our vehicles burn, the minerals mined and processed, the food we eat and the buildings where we work come out ofrisk-free environment.
I still think about the three summers I spent working at Arizona mine sites. Although my jobs were relatively safe, there was little room for carelessness. Longtime workers had plenty of stories about moments whenthingswent terribly wrong in those pre-OSHA days.
Hard-working people allow us to enjoy many of the things we take for granted. Still, the risks can never be completely eliminated.
My thoughts go out to the families of those injured this week and for anyone who puts on that hard hat and hard-toed boots. – Doug Rainey, publisher.