Workplace Explosions in Pennsylvania
Dedicated Representation for Injured Workers
Workers in certain industries such as construction, oil and gas, manufacturing and mining are at higher risk of being injured in an explosion accident. However, explosions can occur in any workplace and they can cause workers to suffer serious, sometimes fatal, injuries. For over four decades, the Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. have represented workers injured in all types of workplace accidents, including explosions.
Major Causes of Workplace Explosions
Employers are responsible for providing workers with working conditions that do not pose a risk of serious harm. Sometimes accidents happen because employers do not uphold that responsibility and other times they happen due to unforeseeable circumstances. It is important that both employers and employees be aware of the common causes of workplace explosions, so they can be avoided whenever possible. Occupational Health & Safety (OHS) lists five major causes of workplace explosions:
Combustible dust: Combustible dust is a byproduct of almost all industries including woodworking, manufacturing and pharmaceuticals. Items that do not pose a fire risk when in whole form may be combustible when in dust form. Combustible dust is present in many work environments and includes metal, wood, coal, carbon, organic and plastic dust.
Hot work: Hot work includes activities such as welding, torch cutting and soldering. Sparks from this type of work can reach temperatures of 1,000 degrees or more and can travel approximately 35 feet. Hot work is often the catalyst for combustible dust explosions because the sparks can ignite dust in the surrounding area.
Flammable liquids and gasses: Flammable liquids and gases are present in many workplaces and include cleaning solvents, paints and crude oil. When they are not stored in accordance with OSHA requirements, it can lead to an industrial fire or explosion. Employers should store flammable liquids and gasses properly, keep them away from ignition sources and provide employees with the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).
Equipment and machinery: Improperly maintained or faulty equipment and machinery can cause industrial fires or explosions. Hot work equipment and furnaces are typically responsible for this type of accident; however, an explosion can also occur when machinery has excess grease or not enough lubrication between moving parts. Employers should keep equipment and machinery clean and properly maintained to reduce fire risk.
Electrical hazards: When wiring is exposed or not up to code or outlets are overloaded, an electrical fire can break out. Electrical fires can also ignite combustible dust or flammable liquids and gasses, leading to compounding, catastrophic consequences. Employers should follow OSHA requirements and train employees on how to prevent electrical fires.
Types of Injuries Caused by Workplace Explosions
Workplace explosions are extremely dangerous, especially when they cause secondary explosions, fires or structural damage. Workers who were not in the vicinity of the primary explosion may be injured by flying debris or collapsing buildings. At Larry Pitt & Associates, we fight to recover compensation for workers who sustained all types of injuries in workplace explosions, including:
Workers who are injured in workplace explosions are generally entitled to workers’ compensation benefits under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act. If you were injured in a workplace explosion, contact a Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyer who can ensure your rights are protected.
Death Benefits for Families
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), workplace fires and explosions fatally wounded 209 people during 2015 and 2016. In Pennsylvania, families of workers who have died in workplace accidents are eligible for death benefits. The amount of death benefits qualifying family members may collect depends on several factors including the deceased worker’s average weekly wages. Death benefits also include up to $3,000 in reasonable funeral and burial expenses.
Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Represent Victims of Workplace Explosions
If you were injured or you lost a loved one in a workplace explosion, contact an experienced Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyer at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Call us at 888-PITT-LAW or complete our online contact form for a free consultation.
We represent injured workers throughout Pennsylvania, including Berks County, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, and Philadelphia County, 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.