Accidents at Chemical Factories Can Have Catastrophic Consequences
Those who work in chemical plants have dangerous jobs that expose them to harmful chemicals and other workplace hazards. Those who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses may be eligible for benefits under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act. The Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. help chemical plant workers receive the financial assistance they need for medical costs, lost wages, and other injury-related losses.
Common Injuries in the Industry
Chemical plants are typically large facilities that house many types of workers, including operators, engineers, and technicians. Any of these workers may suffer the following injuries or illnesses on the job:
- Caught-in/between injuries
- Chemical burns
- Repetitive stress injuries
- Respiratory illnesses
- Slip and fall injuries
- Struck-by injuries
Causes of Chemical Plant Worker Injuries
Most chemical plant accidents occur due to inadequate training, human error, improper equipment maintenance, or manufacturing defects. Those who work in chemical plants may become injured in slip and fall accidents, struck-by accidents, or other types of accidents involving:
- Electricity – Maintenance workers who do not follow the proper lockout/tagout procedures may suffer electric shock, burns or other electricity-related injuries.
- Explosions – Failure to follow chemical regulations and safety standards can cause catastrophic chemical plant explosions.
- Gas leaks – Broken pipes and compromised containers can lead to dangerous gas leaks.
- Exposure to toxic chemicals – Industrial chemicals in the gas, liquid, or solid state pose a hazard to plant workers.
Workers’ Compensation for Pennsylvania Chemical Plant Accidents
Pennsylvania workers who are injured in workplace accidents may be eligible for benefits to help cover the costs associated with their workplace injury. The workers’ compensation system is no-fault; therefore, workers may be entitled to compensation even if their employer did not intentionally or negligently cause the accident.
However, a third party, such as an equipment manufacturer, may be held liable in a personal injury lawsuit. Third-party suits allow workers to recover additional damages such as pain and suffering and can be filed simultaneously with a workers’ compensation claim.
Under the Act, workers must report their injuries to their employers within 120 days of their accident. If a worker’s claim is accepted, they may begin receiving financial compensation to help with reasonable and necessary medical expenses, lost wages, and in some cases other losses associated with the injury such as disfigurement. Workers whose claims are denied may file an appeal. Certain deadlines and requirements must be met; therefore, it is advisable to seek assistance from a qualified local attorney as soon as possible in the event of an initial denial.
Chemical Plant Accident Prevention
The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) offers some general safety recommendations to help prevent chemical plant accidents. The report identifies the following key deficiencies that contribute to the severity of chemical plant incidents:
- Auditing and corrective actions
- Building ventilation design
- Emergency response
- Formal process safety culture assessments
- Management of change
- Safe work practices
- Shift communications
- Toxic gas detections
- Troubleshooting operations
According to the CSB, the chemical industry can glean important lessons pertaining to:
- Emergency planning and response – Chemical plants should have a prepared emergency response program to mitigate damage in the event of an emergency.
- Safety management system – Formal evaluation of safety culture is a necessary component of an effective safety management system.
- Employee incentive program – Employers should not disincentivize workers from reporting workplace injuries or hazards.
Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Represent Chemical Plant Workers
If you were injured or you lost a loved one in a chemical plant accident, contact a Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyer at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Our experienced attorneys can help you file your claim and obtain the benefits to which you are entitled. For a free consultation, please complete our online contact form or call us at 888-PITT-LAW.
Located in Philadelphia, Bensalem, Lansdowne, and Reading, we represent injured workers in Berks County, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County, and throughout Pennsylvania, including those in the communities of Abington, Ambler, Ardmore, Bala Cynwyd, Bensalem, Clifton Heights, Crum Lynne, Darby, Downingtown, Doylestown, Drexel Hill, Essington, Folcroft, Glenolden, Haverford, Havertown, Holmes, Kutztown, Lansdowne, Media, Merion Station, Morton, Narberth, Norristown, Norwood, Philadelphia, Prospect Park, Quakertown, Reading, Roxborough, Sharon Hill, Upper Darby, West Chester, and Wynnewood.