Placid Refining Company LLC only owns one refinery, and that is located in Port Allen, Louisiana. Placid Refining bought the transportation fuel refinery in 1975 and have since installed modern equipment and expanded the operation. They are conveniently located on 100 acres only a couple of miles off the interstate, which makes it easy to receive the crude oil for processing as well as to distribute the final products. In addition to unleaded gasoline, they refine commercial jet fuel, diesel fuel, military jet fuel, heavy fuel oil, and liquefied petroleum gas.
Taking safety seriously, Placid Refining has strict and mandatory safety procedures in place for all of its employees. Employees regularly attend safety meetings where current procedures are highlighted and new procedures are taught. There are 46 different safety subjects that every plant employee is trained on in one year's time. Furthermore, they have four response teams to handle emergencies.
Out of all the US refineries, Placid Refining ranks in the top 10 percent on a regular basis. They received the Distinguished Safety Award in both 1997 and in 2005 from the National Petroleum Refiner's Association. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) awarded Placid Refining their highest rank, the star level, for OSHA's Voluntary Protection Programs. Furthermore, their overall injury rate falls below the national average by 87 percent.
Oil Refineries and Asbestos
For most of the 20th century, when flame or extreme temperature was a danger, asbestos was used as an insulator. As a result, it was not uncommon for oil refineries such as Placid Refining Company to be built with asbestos-containing materials. Resistance to reactive chemicals is perhaps a less well-known property of various kinds of amphibole asbestos. Floor tiles, insulation, benches, even protective clothing, therefore, commonly were made with the fibrous mineral. Asbestos, however, came with a significant downside that was not understood or at times deliberately ignored: serious and sometimes fatal diseases were found to be the result of exposure to asbestos.
For the most part, amosite was the type of asbestos utilized. Often called "brown asbestos", amosite is especially resistant to corrosive chemicals like those produced in Oil Refineries because of the iron in its chemical composition. Although it was banned for construction purposes in the 1970s, this amosite, in the form of asbestos-containing transite, appeared for many years in labs and oil refineries across the country.
Asbestos transite displayed qualities similar to cement; it could be sprayed onto ductwork and pipes, molded into working surfaces and laminated. As long as it remained solid, this form of asbestos offered almost no danger. Tiny fibers of asbestos enter into the air, however, as transite with asbestos containing material (ACM) gets older and becomes prone to crumbling. When it is in this state, it is said to be friable, or able to be pulverized by hand pressure alone. Also, laboratory and chemical plant ovens frequently were constructed with friable asbestos in insulation linings.
Why Is Friable Asbestos Bad?
Asbestos particles, when friable, can be readily dispersed in the air. Medical conditions like asbestosis can result from breathing asbestos. In addition, inhaling asbestos is known to be the primary cause of pleural mesothelioma, an unusual but all too often deadly cancer affecting the mesothelium, the tissue that lies between the lungs and the chest cavity. Ingestion of asbestos fibers, which happens when the tiny fibers enter the air and land on food or drinks, may be the cause of pericardial or peritoneal mesothelioma.
Increased pressure from news media, the medical community and citizen groups resulted in rules controlling the use of asbestos. However, when Oil Refineries were constructed, asbestos was much more commonplace. Before modern regulations were put into place, workers frequently toiled without protective equipment in spaces where asbestos dust clouded the air.
The Lurking Danger of Asbestos
Asbestos-related diseases, in contrast to many workplace injuries, which are easily observed and known about soon after the incident, can take many, many years to manifest. It can also be challenging to diagnose asbestos-related diseases since their symptoms can be mistaken for those of other conditions. It is very important, therefore, that men and women that worked in or lived near sites like Placid Refining Company ask their physicians for mesothelioma information. Such information can assist physicians make a timely diagnosis; especially with mesothelioma, the earlier it is caught, the higher the odds of surviving or at the least of enjoying an improved quality of life with treatments like mesothelioma surgery.Sources
Placid Refining Company - Company Website
University of Wisconsin - Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) - Laboratories and Shops
University of Wisconsin - Asbestos Disposal