The explosion in West, Texas came in the middle of a week of tragedy. On the evening of April 17, a fire at a fertilizer plant caused a massive explosion. The blast killed 14 people, injured hundreds of others, destroyed or damaged dozens of buildings and wounded the heart of the small town of 2,700 people. No foul play is suspected, making the explosion most likely a horrific accident.
The tragedy has caused Washington residents and officials to take a close look at potentially hazardous sites within the state.
Workplace Explosion Hazards You Need to Know About
Everyone knows that it’s dangerous to work on an oil rig or in an industrial plant. But what about in a bakery? Or a scuba shop? As a worker, make it a priority to know what hazardous conditions are present in your workplace, starting with the following explosion hazards:
- Combustible dust. Many workplace fires and explosions have been caused by combustible dust, which can come from a wide variety of things including grain, tobacco, wood, plastics, metals, coal, pesticides, textiles, rubber and flour.
- Compressed gas. From manufacturing plants to scuba shops, compressed gas is not an uncommon workplace hazard. When cylinders used to store gas are poorly maintained or cylinders are filled too quickly or handled improperly, there is a risk of explosion. Training employees about equipment maintenance is essential to preventing disaster.
- Combustible liquids. Combustible liquids have a flash point at or above 100º F and include acetic acid, mineral spirits, kerosene, carbolic acid and pine oil. Storage of both flammable and combustible liquids should be well-regulated by employers to prevent accidents.
In the Texas incident, the explosions could have been caused by vapor from liquid anhydrous ammonia or the ammonium nitrate stored at the facility.
Workplace Explosions Cause Injury and Death
Several types of injuries can result from explosions:
- Blast injuries typically affect the ears, lungs and gastrointestinal tract
- Injury from flying objects
- Injuries incurred by being propelled by the blast into an object
- Crush injuries
- Inhalation of toxic substances
Death can result from any of these injuries.
Who is Responsible?
It is an employer’s responsibility to train employees to manage workplace risks and to keep their facilities up to date on safety protocols and maintenance. But the employer is not always at fault. Often, the responsibility lies with the manufacturer of a chemical or a product. Figuring out where the negligence occurred in the chain of events is key to getting injured workers their due compensation.
That is where the Perey Law Group comes in. We have the knowledge and diligence to conduct a thorough investigation and obtain justice for workers hurt in explosions. If you or a loved one has been injured in an explosion, or you have lost someone due to one, please contact us immediately. You may be eligible for compensation. We offer a free consolation with one of our experienced attorneys during which we will discuss your options.