One of the most potentially dangerous accidents that can happen in a workplace is an explosion. These types of workplace accidents are so serious because they can be incredibly deadly. Explosion accidents can have a chain reaction effect, causing other dangerous conditions in the workplace. For example, an explosion can trigger other hazards, such as other explosions, fires, structural damage, etc.
You don’t have to work in a particularly dangerous industry to be placed at risk of being involved in a workplace explosion. While some industries are at higher risk for explosions, such as the chemical industry, manufacturing industry, mining, oil and gas production, and construction, an explosion could happen in any work environment. Explosion accidents in the workplace could be caused by any number of triggers – some are easy to identify because the accident was caused by some sort of negligence, but other times the source of the explosion might never be clearly identified. Some typical causes for explosions in the workplace include:
- Accumulation of dust, flammable vapors, or other combustible substances, which catches fire, producing an explosion.
- Natural gas leaks or other gas leaks, such as diesel or petroleum tank leaks.
- Accidental mixing of chemicals that triggers an explosive chemical reaction.
- Accidental damage to a compressed gas cannister so that the cannister loses structural integrity and explodes.
- Equipment malfunctions (e.g., the sudden depressurization of a machine).
- Boiler explosions.
- Overloaded transformers.
Explosion accidents are particularly difficult to investigate quickly since the explosion often causes damage to the surrounding area around the explosion, making it unsafe for rescuers, and investigators to enter.
What Types of Injuries Do Explosions Cause?
An explosion in the workplace can cause a number of injuries to workers. These injuries can be extensive, even fatal, and the severity of the injuries is often linked to how close the worker was to the explosion when it occurred. Common injuries that are caused by explosions include:
- First, second and third degree burns;
- Lung injuries due to smoke inhalation or due to breathing superheated air or harmful gases that are produced by the explosion or a fire;
- Lung injuries due to the rapid change in pressure associated with an explosion blast (e.g., blast lung injuries);
- Hearing injuries, as blown and injured eardrums are often experienced after a workplace explosion;
- Impact injuries due to the impact of the explosion blast (an explosion could be so powerful that it physically throws a worker due to the force of pressure behind the explosion).
- Lacerations due to flying debris;
- Internal injuries from the concussive force of the explosion blast;
- Head injuries when a worker is thrown to the ground or into an object by the force of the explosion;
- Concussions, and traumatic brain injuries from open or closed head wounds; and
- Penetration and ballistic type injuries from the blast.
Workers who are injured by explosions in the workplace often suffer serious injuries that require a long time to recover from. This means time off from work in order to make a full recovery. Injured workers can seek workers’ compensation benefits for their medical treatment and a portion of their lost wages as they recover from their injuries. Atlanta workers who are injured on the job by an explosion or fire should consult with an experienced Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible after the accident for guidance on what to do to preserve their rights.
Recent Instances of Workplace Explosions in Georgia
Workplace explosion accidents are far more common than you might want to believe in and around Georgia. These types of accidents get a lot of media coverage when either a lot or workers are injured or killed, or if many people in the public notice the explosion (i.e., the explosion is located somewhere where a lot of people can see or hear the explosion. But many workplace explosions involve just a small number of workers, or the accidents happen late at night or early in the morning. Below are just a few examples or workplace explosions that have happened in the last year, in and around Atlanta.
- In March, a food worker was injured at the Georgia Gwinnett College after an explosion occurred in one of the women’s restrooms. The explosion was presumed to be due to an accumulation of methane gas in the sewer that became ignited by an unknown flame or spark. The worker was hospitalized for her serious injuries.
- Also in March 2016, there was an explosion at the Kapstone Paper Plant in College Park. A boiler exploded, causing walls of the plant to be blown out, and the explosion also started a fire outside the facility. The accident had the potential to be much worse as there was a 10,000 gallon diesel tank nearby, but this tank did not also explode.
- Early in the morning on February 7, 2016, there was an explosion at the JCG Farms, chicken feed mill in Rockmart, Georgia that resulted in one fatality and several other workers being injured. OSHA has regulations that require employers of grain workers to provide certain protections for workers in the event of an explosion.
- On September 23, 2015, a worker at the Nakanishi Manufacturing Corp. plant in Winterville, which is a Georgia auto parts manufacturing facility, was severely burned after a dust collection machine exploded and engulf the worker’s upper body in a flash fire. The worker suffered third degree burns.
Bader Law Firm, LLC Can Help With Your Atlanta Workers’ Compensation Claim
Explosions in the workplace are some of the scariest workplace accidents. They are unpredictable, can cause serious damage to property, and can cause serious injuries to workers. Explosions are often fatal too. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed while on the job by an explosion, the experienced Atlanta, GA work injury professionals at Bader Law Firm, LLC can help you seek the workers’ compensation benefits that you deserve. At Bader Law Firm, LLC, we strive to assist Atalanta workers obtain workers’ compensation when they need it most. We can assist you with all aspects of your workers’ compensation claim. Please feel free to contact us today.