Reuters quoted the Brazilian union for petroleum workers, FUP, as saying the tragedy highlighted the worsening working conditions at Petrobras plants, adding the accident was the sixth in a week at different refineries run by Brazil’s state-run oil company.
The worker, Antonio Rafael Santana, 26, suffered first-, second- and third-degree burns to 75% of his body after gasses from a water and oil waste pool at the REMAN Refinery ignited while he was inspecting a faulty pump, the union said.
FUP said there was also an accident on Saturday at the REDUC refinery in the state of Rio de Janeiro, in which a worker suffered injuries to his face, neck and eyes after being hit by an oil mix at 180 degrees temperature.
The refinery had suffered three other accidents earlier in the week, according to the union, which said there was also an accident at a refinery in Sao Paulo state.
Petrobras officials were not immediately available for comment. The accident late Saturday at REMAN did not affect output at the refinery.
Union officials say Petrobras’s refineries are operating at more than 95% of capacity in an effort to reduce money-losing imports with maintenance being cut back to dangerously low levels.
Petrobras recently announced an early retirement plan to cut costs that could see one in eight employees leave the company. The union has previously expressed concern over so many older and experienced workers leaving the company.