Baker & O'Brien, Inc.

Experience

Experience

 

Article
Ammonia/Urea Plant Failure Analysis
Worked in support of client and its attorneys to investigate the cause of a reactor failure and defend against claims by OSHA and third parties.  Work involved extensive analysis of process equipment and operating practices used in ammonia and urea manufacture. 
Industry Practice/Standard of Care , Operations/Maintenance , OSHA-related
Asbestos Exposure Litigation
Assisted a manufacturer of industrial equipment in defending personal injury claims related to asbestos exposure.  Assisted in discovery, assessed the likelihood and degree of employee exposure to asbestos during maintenance activities, and reviewed equipment specifications, project histories, and maintenance records for various power generation units.  Provided opinions regarding the potential for personal injury due to asbestos exposure in the course of normal work activities.
Industry Practice/Standard of Care , Operations/Maintenance , OSHA-related , Safety , Toxic Tort
Benzene Exposure
Assessed possibility of employee exposures to benzene during prior refinery operations.  Reviewed plant operating history and emissions records and provided preliminary opinions regarding potential benzene exposure to plaintiffs.
Industry Practice/Standard of Care , Operations/Maintenance , OSHA-related
Chemical Plant Accident Investigation
Investigated an accident at a polyethylene production and storage facility. Reviewed equipment design, inspection and repair history, training of personnel, industry practices, and standards of care.
Industry Practice/Standard of Care , Operations/Maintenance , OSHA-related , Safety
Delayed Coker Fire Investigation
Assisted client in investigating the cause of a coker hydrocarbon release and fire, which resulted in multiple fatalities. Visited refinery and reviewed procedures and events preceding the incident to identify potential areas of causation and liability. Operating experience and knowledge of technical and safety issues and of industry and management practices helped the client in addressing specific claims issues.
Industry Practice/Standard of Care , Operations/Maintenance , OSHA-related , Safety
Dust Collection System Risk Assessment
Performed a quantitative risk assessment on a dust collection system associated with the multifolder process at a large paper products manufacturing facility. Purpose was to determine if OSHA stipulations were appropriate.
Industry Practice/Standard of Care , Operations/Maintenance , OSHA-related , Safety
Expert Consulting Services
Provided expert consulting services concerning a personal injury incident that involved a weld failure and a release of hydrocarbons.
Industry Practice/Standard of Care , Operations/Maintenance , OSHA-related , Safety
Gas Well Incident
Prepared expert report on behalf of client versus OSHA.  Matter involved failure of a pipe carrying natural gas that injured one contractor.  OSHA cited client for failure to provided a safe means of pressure relief for vessel (in-line heater) and piping.
Industry Practice/Standard of Care , Operations/Maintenance , OSHA-related , Safety
Heliport Pipeline Leak
Prepared expert rejoinder report on leakage from fuel storage, pipeline, and loading system located at a heliport and marine dock.
Industry Practice/Standard of Care , OSHA-related
HF Alkylation Incident
Investigated facts related to pump casing rupture where hydrofluoric acid was released. Reviewed refinery operations, training, and safety practices. Advised attorneys on generally accepted industry engineering practices and standards regarding design, operation, and maintenance of hydrofluoric acid alkylation unit.
Industry Practice/Standard of Care , Operations/Maintenance , OSHA-related , Safety
Incident Analysis - Petrochemicals
Performed an investigation analysis following fire and explosion incidents at a major Gulf Coast manufacturing facility.  The engagement entailed development of the sequence of events, root cause analysis, assessment of the decision to rebuild, and reconstruction monitoring.  An independent project schedule and cost estimate for the plant reconstruction was developed.
Business Interruption , EPC-related , Industry Practice/Standard of Care , Operations/Maintenance , OSHA-related , Property Damage , Safety
Sulfuric Acid Storage Incident
Retained to assist in the investigation of a fatality incident at a sulfuric acid processing and storage facility.  Reviewed equipment design, inspection and repair history, operating procedures, training of personnel, and industry practices.  Assisted legal team with on-site investigation and interaction with local, state, and federal agencies.  Reviewed conclusions by root cause analysis for consistency and factual support.
Forensic Analysis , Industry Practice/Standard of Care , Operations/Maintenance , OSHA-related , Safety
Thermal Radiation Exposure
Investigated an incident involving a claim of thermal radiation exposure during a refining unit fire.  Engineering reports, videos, weather conditions, unit design drawings, and published literature on levels of heat exposure from large hydrocarbon fires were evaluated.
Expert Witness/Testimony , Industry Practice/Standard of Care , Operations/Maintenance , OSHA-related , Safety
Salt Water Disposal Tank Explosion
Investigated the cause and origin of a storage tank explosion at an oil and gas salt water disposal facility in Colorado. Conducted site investigation and facility/equipment inspections, evaluated system design and operation, and conducted witness interviews. Determined cause of explosion and worked with company management to evaluate existing policies and procedures for potential areas of improvement.
EPC-related , Industry Practice/Standard of Care , Operations/Maintenance , OSHA-related , Physical Asset Appraisal , Safety
Underground Storage Tanks Claim
Assisted in a dispute concerning an allegation that Underground Storage Tanks (USTs) at a retail outlet had released gasoline vapors, resulting in contamination of groundwater with MTBE. Assignment included review of procedures for delivery of gasoline from tankers to UST, review of equipment and fittings used in UST, review of hydrogeological data regarding groundwater and contamination plumes, review of the design of vapor recovery systems, and calculations of vapor composition and amounts released. Prepared report to document findings and testified in deposition.
Environmental , Expert Witness/Testimony , Industry Practice/Standard of Care , OSHA-related , Toxic Tort
Review of Facilities Safety Issues
Assisted in technical review of safety related issues at crude oil production and gathering facilities.
Industry Practice/Standard of Care , Operations/Maintenance , OSHA-related , Pipeline , Safety
Reciprocating Compressor Accident
Reviewed details of non-fatal accident involving a restart of skid-mounted gas compression machinery at a producing well. Upon investigation of the facts, prepared report detailing the proximate cause of the incident.
Industry Practice/Standard of Care , Operations/Maintenance , OSHA-related , Safety
Tank Truck Explosion Investigation
Investigated the potential causes and sources of ignition for an explosion that destroyed a road tanker, used to haul raw natural gas liquids from a gas treating plant, that was in a repair shop for the replacement of a pressure relief valve. 
Industry Practice/Standard of Care , Operations/Maintenance , OSHA-related , Safety
Pressure Vessel Failure
Investigated the cause of a hydrocarbon release resulting from the brittle fracture of a pressure vessel during start-up at a petrochemical plant. Incident involved multiple injuries and deaths and extensive property damage. Issues studied include ethylene plant design, operating practices and procedures, start-up operations, instrumentation, and safety training.
Expert Witness/Testimony , Industry Practice/Standard of Care , Operations/Maintenance , OSHA-related , Safety
Polyolefins Plant Explosion
Assisted attorneys and company in preparation for litigation and negotiation with government agencies while investigating the cause of an explosion which caused the death of over 20 people. Assisted risk management in preparing and negotiating property damage and business interruption claims in excess of $1.3 billion.
Business Interruption , Expert Witness/Testimony , Industry Practice/Standard of Care , Operations/Maintenance , OSHA-related , Property Damage , Safety
Fall Protection Evaluation
Investigated circumstances concerning the injury to a person who fell from a loading dock.  Provided opinions regarding general safety requirements, industry practices, and fall protection requirements for this type of activity.
Industry Practice/Standard of Care , OSHA-related
Refinery Business Interruption - Marine Spill
Conducted an assessment of business interruption damages stemming from downtime caused by an oil spill which disrupted marine traffic at several adjacent manufacturing facilities.  
OSHA-related , Waterborne/Marine
Air Compressor Incident Investigation
Provided independent assessment of an accident that occurred at a container manufacturing facility involving an air compressor and high pressure piping. Efforts included reviewing the compressor operators' work practices and potential causes of the incident.
Industry Practice/Standard of Care , Operations/Maintenance , OSHA-related , Safety
Hydrogen Sulfide Incident Investigation
Following a fatality caused by exposure to hydrogen sulfide at a crude oil storage tank with a known sour gas atmosphere, investigated the causes for the incident and the operating and maintenance practices (standard of care) with respect to: supervision, training, and use of personal protective equipment.
Industry Practice/Standard of Care , OSHA-related , Safety
Confined Space Incident and Dispute
Provided support in a wrongful death dispute regarding a confined workspace incident.  The incident involved nitrogen asphyxiation where two maintenance contractors died.  Investigated the cause and origin of the incident, including work procedures and practices. 
Operations/Maintenance , OSHA-related , Safety
Contractor Tripping Incident
Investigated circumstances concerning the personal injury of a contract employee. Provided opinions regarding general safety requirements, industry practices, contractor training and safety expertise and utilizing contractors for the activity being performed.
Operations/Maintenance , OSHA-related , Safety
Storage Tank Spill Incident
Developed an expert witness report associated with a spill from a sour naphtha storage tank.  Reviewed numerous documents and depositions to develop opinions associated with the event.  Provided expert opinions on the standards of care and operation of a petroleum refinery. 
Environmental , OSHA-related , Safety
Gas Plant Construction Dispute
Prepared expert report for AAA arbitration regarding alleged deficiencies by the EPC contractor relating to compliance with recognized and generally accepted good engineering practice (RAGAGEP) for adherence with OSHA requirements. Multiple issues, including control room safe location, electrical area classification, positive material identification, process hazard analysis, metallurgy selection, and building ventilation design were addressed.
EPC-related , OSHA-related
Fall-Related Injury Investigation
Investigated circumstances concerning the personal injury of a contract employee who fell inside a flue gas system during a refinery turnaround.  The investigation included evaluation of:  (1) refinery safe work practices compared to industry standards; (2) utilization of fall arrest systems to mitigate the presence of fall hazards; (3) the responsibilities of both operating companies and contractors to recognize and develop plans to mitigate fall hazards; and (4) responsibilities of both parties to execute and communicate turnaround work plans.
Industry Practice/Standard of Care , OSHA-related , Safety
Drilling Incident Investigation
Following an incident on an oil drilling platform, assisted with the investigation to discern whether relevant practices, e.g., API and others, were followed.
Expert Witness/Testimony , Industry Practice/Standard of Care , Operations/Maintenance , OSHA-related , Safety
Gas Plant Acquisition Dispute
After concluding a transaction, the acquiring party claimed that the facilities were not sufficient to conduct business due to deficiencies related to design, construction, safety, and failure to meet environmental regulations.  Visited the plant to interview key personnel, viewed the physical facilities, and reviewed relevant operational, safety, and engineering design information.  Our findings and opinions were presented in an expert report which was submitted into evidence.
Arbitration , Expert Witness/Testimony , OSHA-related
Paper Mill Safety Incident
Assisted attorneys by investigating the circumstances concerning an incident that occurred at a paper plant during a scheduled turnaround that resulted in a fatality. Issues studied included assessing work practices and safety procedures utilized to prepare equipment for turnaround activities, including vessel entry and paper mill plant design. 
Forensic Analysis , Operations/Maintenance , OSHA-related , Safety
Flash Fire Investigation
Investigated circumstances concerning a flash fire that occurred during vessel entry and cleaning operations.  The investigation included the:  (1) assessment of refinery safe work practices  compared to industry standards and government regulations; (2) utilization of vessel entry and confined space safety practices to mitigate ignition hazards; and (3) responsibilities of both the operating company and contractor organization to recognize,  develop, and follow safe work plans to prevent potential flash fires from occurring during vessel entry.  Developed and submitted expert report. 
Forensic Analysis , Operations/Maintenance , OSHA-related , Safety
Litigation Support for Asbestos Claim
Asbestos Litigation---provided expert input and litigation support for trial preparation on refinery/chemical personnel's exposure to asbestos gaskets and equipment insulation materials. 
Environmental , Operations/Maintenance , OSHA-related , Safety , Toxic Tort
Refractory Failure Investigation
Provided expertise and technical assistance related to the evaluation of a failed refractory in a methanol reformer. 
Business Interruption , Forensic Analysis , OSHA-related , Property Damage
Refinery Flare Incident
Following a fire during a scheduled flare system maintenance turnaround, retained to assess the feasibility of safely hot tapping the flare header to install a stopple and allow removal of a large gate valve upstream of a flare knock-out drum.  In consultation with other parties, assessed: (1) the flare system equipment, (2) the refinery hot tap procedures, and (3) evaluated if the activities could be performed safely.
Expert Witness/Testimony , Industry Practice/Standard of Care , Operations/Maintenance , OSHA-related , Safety
Accident Liability
Assisted in a personal injury claim following an incident in a petroleum refinery process unit.  Examined refinery conformity with the latest available industry technology, regulations, standards, and practices.  
Industry Practice/Standard of Care , OSHA-related , Safety