Explosions & Fire Hazards Endanger Workers - The Lyon Firm
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Explosions & Fire Hazards Endanger Workers

Cincinnati Personal Injury Lawyer: Gas Explosions Endanger Employees at Workplace


Explosions at America’s workplace can result in devastating damage and severe injuries to employees. Gas-related explosions are most common in industrial settings, though they can occur in almost any workplace that has flammable gases on site. Common sources of explosions and workplace fires include natural gas, methane, propane and butane. When explosions occur at the workplace, workers risk their life and serious burn injuries.

Preventable gas explosions can result from negligent management, unsafe work conditions, or defective equipment. If investigators find evidence of a defective product, or safety violations that caused the explosion, victims and families can take legal action and hold an employer liable for any injury that results. Gas explosions are likely to cause physical injuries and serious burn injuries. Victims can seek compensation for physical, emotional and financial damages, as well as lost wages.

Joe Lyon is an experienced Ohio workplace injury and Cincinnati toxic tort lawyer accepting industrial accident cases nationwide.


Types of Hazardous Involved in Gas Explosion Accidents

Flammable gases, often found compressed or liquefied at the workplace, can burn or explode under certain conditions. Gasses commonly found on work sites may include:

  • Benzene
  • Propane
  • Butane
  • Ethylene
  • Vinyl Chloride
  • Hydrogen
  • Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG)
  • Methane
  • Hydrogen Sulfide
  • Acetylene

Preventing Workplace Explosions

According to the National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 122 workers were killed in 2012 by a fire or explosion at work. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) notes that an average of more than 5,000 employees are injured each year in industrial accidents.

Important safety precautions are critical in preventing explosions. Precautions in risky positions include wearing safety gear such as hard hats, goggles, gloves, and boots. It is also important to train employees on safe practices in workplaces that have gasses present. Handling hazardous materials correctly is crucial in preventing industrial explosions. Holding regular inspections, maintaining safety data sheets, and installing gas leak detectors can be the difference between life and death. Many gas explosion accidents are caused by faulty equipment, a failure to follow safety procedures, and the negligence of management and contractors.


Common Workplace Explosion Injuries

Burn injuries are the most likely sustained injuries when an explosion occurs. Extreme pressure from an explosion can cause damage to a victim’s ears and lungs. Also flying debris can lead to serious lacerations, and head injuries. Explosive blast injuries include the following:

  • Primary blast injuries are caused by the initial pressure created by an explosion. The pressure affects tissues throughout the body. Pressure and shock waves rupture ear drums, cause concussions and abdominal hemorrhaging.
  • Secondary blast injuries are caused when explosions send debris through the air, leading to secondary injuries. Eyes and other areas are subject to penetrative injury.
  • Tertiary blast injuries are caused by high-energy explosions that toss victims to the ground or into another object. Bone fractures, internal injuries and head and neck injuries are common.
  • Quaternary blast injuries include all other injuries caused by an explosion, including respiratory injuries, burns and crush injuries.

 Types of Workplaces at Risk of Gas-related Explosions

  • Oil & Gas Refineries
  • Fracking Sites
  • Transport Depots
  • Chemical Plants
  • Lumber Plants
  • Construction Sites
  • Manufacturing plants
  • Mining operations
  • Power Plant
  • Fertilizer Plants

Plant Explosions in Ohio and Around the United States

  • In 2013, a chemical explosion and fire occurred at Canton, Ohio’s Hydrodec oil recycling plant. The plant reprocesses used transformer oil from electric utilities.
  • In 2017, six people were injured at an explosion incident at M. Stuart Station—a coal and diesel generating facility operated by Dayton Power and Light Company.
  • In 2017, a fire was reported at the Hebron Solvent Recycling The plant works with recycling industrial solvents. And provides fuel blending and wastewater treatment.

Some of the worst plant explosions that have ever occurred in the U.S. include the following:

  • The Thiokol-Woodbine chemical plant was set on fire and later exploded. Almost 30 people died in the accident, and at least 50 other individuals suffered catastrophic injuries.
  • Explosions and a fire occurred at a Phillips Houston Chemical Complex (HCC) Texas facility that was producing high-density polyethylene (HDPE). The accident killed 23 employees and injured over 300.
  • A chemical plant operated by IMC Fertilizer in Louisiana suffered an explosion accident and killed eight of the workers at the plant.
  • In 2013, a Williams Olefins Plant explosion killed 2 workers and injured 114 others.

Home Natural Gas Accidents

Homeowners may also be at risk of gas explosions and fire injuries. Natural gas is a widely used, though it can also be highly unstable and cause catastrophic home explosions. Natural gas explosions in the home can occur from gas leaks in the pipes, gas that doesn’t contain the required smell as a safety precaution, or from a defective household product, such as a stove that has a faulty shutoff valve. There are potentially numerous parties that could be held responsible.

One problem in natural gas explosion claims is identifying and proving the source of the explosion. This can be a difficult task. After a natural gas explosion, contact an experienced attorney to investigate the cause.


Compensation for Injuries in Gas Explosion Accidents

Industrial companies that manage unsafe workplaces in Ohio can be liable for injuries sustained after a fire or explosion. In some cases, engineers and equipment manufacturers may be responsible for compensating victims of gas accidents.

In many past incidents, industrial equipment that houses hazardous gasses has been found to be inherently flawed. If machinery is found to have a faulty design or missing safety components, victims can file suit against large industrial employers and manufacturers.

The legal options for accident victims depend on what caused an accident and injury. Any industrial accident should be addressed by a lawyer qualified in complex cases. Joe Lyon has successfully litigated cases and obtained settlements for Ohio workers in addition to workers compensation.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to an industrial gas-related accident in Ohio, and have questions about the legal remedies available to improve quality of life and medical care, contact The Lyon Firm (800) 513-2403. You will speak directly with Mr. Lyon, and he will help you answer these critical questions.

Contact us today.