Any kind of oil refinery work can be dangerous for workers. Workers in this industry are highly trained, and there are stringent safety practices in place to minimize incidents where California workers may be injured on the job. However, a recent push to adopt new rules in California shows there may be room for improvement.
The U.S. Chemical Safety Board has asked for new rules to be implemented. The Board doesn't have the authority to make any industry abide by the recommendations. However, the CSB does investigate incidents and help propose changes that can make the industry safer.
Recommendations made by the CSB recently were the result of an accident that happened roughly a year and a half ago. A fire led to 15,000 people needing medical treatment for exposure to smoke. A spokesperson for the Board says that the goal of the recommendations is basically to drive down risk and help California serve as a model when it comes to industry safety.
While no regulatory measures or implementation of new policies will eliminate every incident or situation that can lead to a worker being injured on the job, adaptations can help reduce risks. Despite the risks, when a California worker is injured on the job, there are protections in place to minimize the impact an accident has on the life of the worker and the worker's family. Workers' compensation laws seek to protect a worker from financial ruin due to needing medical treatment or time off work to recuperate.
Source: Reuters, UPDATE 1-U.S. safety board urges new rules for California refineries, No author, Dec. 16, 2013