The Consequences of Workplace Explosions
Local 10 News recently reported that four firefighters were injured in an explosion while responding to a call for hazardous materials at an electric company in Arizona. The force of the explosion was reportedly severe enough to knock the helmets and face masks off the injured firefighters. One firefighter remains in critical condition after being knocked unconscious, two others are in serious condition with acid burns and facial trauma, respectively, and the fourth firefighter had minor injuries. The official cause of the explosion remains under investigation though a spokesperson from the electric company has attested that there was equipment failure at their storage facility.
How Common Are Workplace Explosions?
Fortunately, statistics indicate that workplace explosions are not a common source of workplace injuries. However, when they do occur, the results can be especially tragic. Data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that 123 people suffered fatal injuries in 2017 as the result of a workplace fire and/or explosion.
What Causes Workplace Explosions?
While you may never have considered the risk if you work in an office or some other seemingly contained industry, the reality is that you don’t need to work in any specific kind of workplace to be placed at risk of being involved in a workplace explosion. It is true that those working in certain industries – including manufacturing, mining, construction, chemical, and gas and oil production – face a higher risk of a workplace explosion. However, an explosion can happen at any time in any work environment and sadly, its cause may never even be identified. Causes for explosions in the workplace can include factors such as:
- Natural gas leaks or other gas leaks
- Accidental mixing of chemicals that triggers a chemical reaction
- Equipment malfunctions
- Boiler explosions
- Overloaded transformers
- Negligence of an employer or another worker
- Accumulation of dust, vapors, or other combustible substances
What Kinds of Injuries Can a Workplace Explosion Cause Workers to Suffer From?
Most people probably immediately think of burns when they ponder potential injuries that can result from burns, and burns are a very real possibility. However, an explosion can, unfortunately, cause a plethora of different dangerous and life-threatening medical consequences. In addition to burns, workplace explosions can cause workers to suffer from injuries such as:
- Cuts, lacerations and punctures
- Hearing injuries from the noise of the blast
- Lung injuries associated with smoke inhalation
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal bleeding and other injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Impact injuries from the force of the blast
Have You or the Worker You Love Been Injured in a Workplace Explosion?
If you or a loved one has suffered an explosion-related injury while working that you believe warrants entitlement to workers’ compensation benefits, allow us to help. The process for obtaining workers’ compensation benefits can be overwhelming and challenging for anyone who has been injured at work. Fortunately, the Miami workers’ compensation attorneys at Payer & Associates have significant experience helping people like you and you should allow us to help you get the benefits you deserve. Begin by contacting us today to schedule a free consultation.