Baker & O'Brien, Inc.

Experience

Experience

 

Case Attribute: Safety

Article
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
Business Interruption
Performed an analysis of the schedule delay and financial impact from chemical plant downtime due to a major equipment fabrication error.
Business Interruption , EPC-related , Industry Practice/Standard of Care , Safety
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
Defective Product Lawsuit
Provided an expert report concerning a dispute between a pressure safety relief device manufacturer and an operator of a claim that a device did not operate as designed in a reactor overpressure incident.
Forensic Analysis , Industry Practice/Standard of Care , Operations/Maintenance
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
Litigation - Fuels Terminal Operations Assessment
Performed expert advice on fuels terminal operations that focused on the practices and procedures with an emphasis on the filling of product tanks.
Industry Practice/Standard of Care , Operations/Maintenance , Property Damage , 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
Gas Wellhead Equipment Failure
Performed root cause analysis of a gas well casing hanger which led to a well blow out.
Forensic Analysis , Industry Practice/Standard of Care , Operations/Maintenance , Safety
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
Industrial Incident
Investigated cause of dust cloud deflagration at a Vitamin E production facility. Assessed that bulk solids handling procedures were modified without considering the original safety design basis for the equipment. Developed expert opinions on causation.
Industry Practice/Standard of Care , Operations/Maintenance , Safety
Investigate Refinery Heater Explosion
Performed root cause analysis of an explosion at a refinery heater and identified contributing factors. Performed a review of safe operating procedures, including shutdown and start-up of heaters. Provided expert testimony.
Expert Witness/Testimony , Forensic Analysis , Industry Practice/Standard of Care , Operations/Maintenance , Property Damage , Safety
Pulp and Paper Mill Incident
Analyzed processing operations and engineering design in a pulp and paper mill to determine sequence of events and possible causes of incident.
Industry Practice/Standard of Care , Operations/Maintenance , 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
Subsea Pipeline Rupture
Assisted attorneys in investigating the circumstances surrounding a rupture of a subsea crude oil pipeline caused by a vessel dragging an anchor. This assignment included a review of the impact on crude oil gathering system and receiving terminal operations, the owner's emergency response, subsea pipeline repair costs, and a determination of the maximum insurable loss.
Business Interruption , Offshore , Pipeline , Property Damage , Safety , Waterborne/Marine
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
Coal Gasification Plant Accident
Provided assistance to a mechanical contractor for a root-cause investigation of a fatal accident at a coal gasification plant.
Gasification , Industry Practice/Standard of Care , Operations/Maintenance , Safety
Petrochemical Terminal Fire
Reviewed testimony, expert reports, and forensic evidence and attended depositions to determine cause and origin of terminal fire.  Prepared report addressing electrostatic discharge theory, petrochemical handling procedures, employee training, and management issues. 
Forensic Analysis , Industry Practice/Standard of Care , 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
Pipeline Pigging Accident
Reviewed injury accident that occurred while pigging a gathering pipeline to remove formation water produced with natural gas. Provided an expert report regarding applicable industry standards regarding operation of vacuum truck for disposal of formation, as well as observations regarding the contractual responsibilities of the tank truck operator and the production operator.
Industry Practice/Standard of Care , Pipeline , Safety
NGL Pipeline Due Diligence
Reviewed data presented by a potential NGL pipeline seller on behalf of a potential buyer. The review focused on mechanical integrity and other safety issues.
Operations/Maintenance , Physical Asset Appraisal , Pipeline
Dust Explosion Capability Testing
Provided assistance in testing of explosiveness of resin dust during the operation of hand tools in a confined space.  Dust test results were videotaped and used for litigation support.
Safety
Petroleum Refinery Due Diligence
Prepared a due diligence report on a full conversion refinery, including a review of regional crude oil supply and regional products markets.  Reviewed refinery operations, including high level assessments of refinery safety and environmental performance.  Developed economic model of refinery and estimated market value.
Pricing
Biodiesel Plant Construction Dispute
Evaluated engineering and construction practices in a dispute between an owner and EPC contractor due to cost overruns.  Issues included engineering and project management practices which required rework, and construction practices which created safety and operability issues.  Cost estimates were prepared for correcting the deficiencies.
EPC-related , Industry Practice/Standard of Care
Gas Treating Facility Explosion Investigation
Investigated cause of system overpressure and shutdown of downstream pipelines which led to flange gasket failure and fire.  Reviewed system design, construction, and overpressure protection at wellheads located upstream to determine cause of failure.   
EPC-related , Industry Practice/Standard of Care , Pipeline , Safety
Gasoline and Diesel Terminal Due Diligence
Performed technical due diligence for terminal assets on behalf of financial firm.  Visited the facilities and reviewed relevant documentation to advise the client on issues concerning the operability, safety, and physical conditions of the facilities and potential future maintenance and capital costs.
Operations/Maintenance , Physical Asset Appraisal , Waterborne/Marine
Cause and Origin Analysis
Conducted a cause and origin investigation of a fire at a natural gas combined cycle generation plant.  Investigation included in-plant interviews and review of operational data, as well as metallurgical investigation to determine the probable cause and origin of the fire.
Forensic Analysis , Operations/Maintenance , Safety
Turbine Fire
Performed review of root cause analysis of the failure of a 125 MW generating steam turbine.
Operations/Maintenance , Safety
Performance Improvement Initiatives in Worldwide Refineries
Helped design and direct a consulting project to identify the most successful profit improvement initiatives at top performing worldwide refineries. Audited and examined company culture, energy usage, refinery losses, personnel training, safety practices, environmental controls, process operations, technical services, administration, planning and economics, capital investments, maintenance, and reliability factors. Identified and documented those initiatives, which proved most successful, including their duration, need, and value added. Assignments were in the U.S., U.K., Romania, Korea, and West Africa.
Industry Practice/Standard of Care , LP/Planning Practice , Operations/Maintenance , Pipeline , Pricing
Reliability and Maintenance Continuous Improvement Initiatives
Improved efforts to eliminate equipment defects and unscheduled outages by developing and incorporating the use of reliability indices to identify problem equipment. Reliability teams were then able to prioritize concerns to focus reliability improvement initiatives in areas of highest risk to safety, operational performance, and profits. This defect elimination program was utilized as the cornerstone for the plant’s continuous improvement initiatives.
Industry Practice/Standard of Care , Operations/Maintenance , Pipeline
Marine Accident Investigation
Investigated causes for contamination of a cargo of residual fuel aboard a barge that exploded and sank.
Industry Practice/Standard of Care , Operations/Maintenance , Product Quality , Property Damage , Safety , Waterborne/Marine
Pipeline Pigging Incident Investigation
Following a plant incident caused by the ingress of water, we investigated upstream pipeline activities and operating records to determine the root cause of the incident.  
Pipeline , Safety
Heat Exchanger Failure Investigation
Investigated cause and events surrounding the rupture of process precooler involving one fatality. Assisted outside counsel by evaluating plant maintenance, safety and operator training procedures compared to industry accepted practices, as well as developing an understanding of probable circumstances that led to the event.
Industry Practice/Standard of Care , Operations/Maintenance , Safety
Sulfuric Acid Plant Fire Investigation
Investigated cause for sulfuric acid plant fire. Reviewed plant operating conditions prior to the fire and the unit design to identify the cause and potential contributing causes to the fire and subsequent explosions.
Safety
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
Power Transmission Fire Investigation
Investigated the cause of major fire that resulted in a fatality.  
Safety
Heat Exchanger Failure Investigation
Investigated circumstances concerning a heat exchanger failure that resulted in a fire and explosion, fatally injuring several employees. Investigation included evaluating relevant operating records and comparing these with design specifications to evaluate whether exchanger was operated, inspected and maintained in accordance within design parameters and industry practices. Prepared expert report.
Industry Practice/Standard of Care , Operations/Maintenance , Safety
Tank Truck Fatality Incident
Provided inspection of truck tank and tank cleaning facilities related to a fatality accident. Investigation including collecting samples of tanker contents for further testing.
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
Equipment Demolition / Fire Investigation
Investigated circumstances of a large refinery fire related to a hydrocarbon release from a partially demolitioned open-ended pipe. Developed expert report of findings and provided opinions concerning industry practices and standards of care for the demolition of decommissioned facilities. Provided deposition and arbitration testimony.
Arbitration , Expert Witness/Testimony , Industry Practice/Standard of Care , Operations/Maintenance , Safety
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
Natural Gas Midstream Due Diligence
Conducted due diligence on gas gathering assets in East Texas for a prospective purchaser. Inspected facilities, reviewed pipeline and facility construction records, confirmed regulatory status, evaluated pipeline integrity management program, and assessed process 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
Nitrogen Manifold Failure
Provided litigation support for nitrogen manifold explosion.
Operations/Maintenance , Safety
Tank Collapse Assessment
Assessed contractor work practices associated with the collapse of  a storage tank that occurred during cleaning operations.
Expert Witness/Testimony , Industry Practice/Standard of Care , Operations/Maintenance , Property Damage , 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
Barge Loading Incident Investigation
Investigated a marine over pressure and rupture incident which occurred while loading a barge with light stabilized hydrocarbons.
Safety
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
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