Two Dead and Several Injured Following Multiple PEMEX Fires
Two workers have been declared dead due to multiple fires reported at PEMEX’s refineries on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023. This incident puts the state-owned company’s safety regulations under severe scrutiny.
According to Mexico News Daily, the fire that caused the death of two workers and the hospitalization of three workers erupted at 1:30 p.m. ET at the Lázaro Cárdenas refinery, located in Minatitlan, Veracruz. The company reported that the fire was caused by a runoff of product onto a hot surface, which was controlled with the help of the fire brigade. Within a couple of hours, the company reported another fire at its pipeline situated at the Tuzadepetl fuel storage hub in Veracruz. The fire not only damaged the pipeline but also engulfed other wells in the facility, thus causing the hospitalization of three workers. Five workers are still unaccounted for. Lastly, PEMEX issued a community alert for the third fire in the crude distillation unit at its Deer Park refinery in Texas.
With an already rocky start to the year, the entire incident has put PEMEX´s environment, social and governance record under the spotlight, as the company has been accused of witnessing an upsurge in the workers’ incidents without a proper response, including the explosion near an offshore oil platform, dubbed the “eye of fire,” which sparked international controversy.
“Safety at work continues to be a red flag for PEMEX’s operations. The index that measures the number of disabling accidents, per million worker hours of exposure to risk, worsened significantly, rising from 0.44 to 0.49 between 3Q21 and 3Q22. [In other words] this data represents a serious setback in terms of industrial and labor safety; therefore, it must be the object of immediate attention by the PEMEX administration. In this area, there should be no consideration of austerity, or of any other limiting measure, since the objective of any company should be to provide the greatest possible safety to those who work in a high-risk sector such as the oil industry," Fluvio Ruíz, Mexico Senate Advisor, told MBN in 2022.