Workplace Explosion Accidents

Explosion accidents, where workers end up as the first casualties, may be rare occurrences in the US; however, if one occurs, the damage it can cause can be devastating and the severity of injuries or number of lost lives, a sad reality to believe.

Three of the worst industrial disasters that occurred on US soil were: the March 25, 1947, Centralia No. 5 coal mine explosion (which took the lives of 111 miners, allowing only 31 workers to escape and live); the March 23, 2005, BP Texas City Refinery fire and explosion that killed 15 workers and injured 170 others; and, the February 7, 2008, dust explosion at the Imperial Sugar refinery where 13 people lost their lives while 42 others got injured.

Any workplace, despite the safety standards strictly enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), continues to remain a place for potential hazard to all those who populate it daily. But while the possibility of an accident taking place in an office setting may be great, the risk is many more times greater in construction and industrial working environments. This is due to the heavy and dangerous materials, tools and substances present in such sites, that the least failure to observe vital safety measures can lead to destructive and/or injurious results.

On its website, the law firm Hach & Rose, LLP, enumerates a number of factors that can render a workplace unsafe. Some of these factors include: hiring of unqualified workers, failure to train employees properly; safety equipment not provided by the firm; unsafe ground conditions; and failure to maintain tools and equipment or failure to repair damaged equipment.

According to Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ®, the failure to ensure safety in the workplace is a completely preventable situation and is defined a negligence. In addition to failure to maintain or properly store dangerous chemicals or materials, the presence of combustible materials, such as acids, solvents, petroleum products, pesticides, solid wastes, oil, gasoline, octane, natural gas, propane, and agricultural fertilizers that contain the highly explosive ammonium nitrate, can only worsen the situation. This combination of dangerous materials and chemicals could very well end up in an explosion accident, particularly an explosion that is capable of causing major property damages and serious injuries.

Such combustible substances can explode when exposed to heat or fire, or kept in an unstable state; this explosion, in turn, can result serious injuries or even death. It is, therefore, very necessary that people know how to store and handle hazardous substances safely and properly, for anyone can become an unsuspecting victim of an accidental explosion if proper care is never observed.

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