Worker claims he was doused with chemicals at BP refinery

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Aug. 12, 2009, 10:43am

GALVESTON � A Texas City man alleges he had chemicals sprayed on him while working at BP's Texas City refinery almost two years ago, recent court documents say.

Joseph Rolland is suing the oil giant and Corpus Christi-based Repcon Inc. in Galveston County District Court for multiple injuries he sustained as a result of the alleged incident that occurred on Nov. 12, 2007.

"The defendants, Repcon Inc. and BP Products North America Inc. had a duty to exercise the degree of care that a reasonably careful person would use to avoid harm to others," the suit, which was filed on Aug. 5, says. "The plaintiff's injuries were proximately caused by the defendants, Repcon Inc. and BP Products North America Inc.'s negligent, careless, and reckless disregard of said duty."

Rolland says he was trying to unstop a drain at the PS3B Unit on the premises when other workers resumed cleaning the area without notifying the plaintiff or checking to see if he was still working in the way.

"As a result, Mr. Rolland was doused with chemicals of an unknown origin," the suit says. "The plaintiff suffered severe injuries to his eyes, face, and skin."

Consequently, Rolland sought medical treatment at the refinery's clinic.

He claims that he had problems with his eyes, and a severe rash developed on his face.

Rolland alleges the defendants, however, dissuaded him from seeking additional care because it would result in the incident become "OSHA recordable."

"The plaintiff alleges that the discouragement from seeking additional treatment came directly or indirectly from the employees of BP."

Repcon and BP are ultimately faulted for operating the refinery with institutional ignorance or defiance to a culture of safety and accountability, managerial acceptance or encouragement of normalized deviation from appropriate refining procedures, and failing to execute proper safety procedures.

Rolland, who is represented by Beaumont attorney Eric W. Newell of Brent Coon & Associates, seeks exemplary damages and a jury trial.

Galveston County 56th District Court Judge Lonnie Cox is presiding over the case.

Case No. 09CV1388

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