Chemical plant fires that capture national attention are one of several hundred accidents that happen every year.
Every year we hear in the news of at least one chemical plant fire or explosion. However, the accidents that capture national attention are just one of several hundred accidents that take place every year. Chemical plant workers face this risk ever year. Chemical plant workers face the risk of chemical burns, respiratory illnesses from exposure to toxic chemicals, and slip and fall injuries at the workplace.
Chemical Burn Injuries
Chemical burn injuries are the most commonly reported workplace injury at chemical plants. Minor chemical burns can be treated with a wet, cool compress, or by immersing the affected part in cool water. Loose bandages and pain relievers can help alleviate pain. However, if the burn has affected a large area, then the worker will need extensive medical care. Severe burns affect the outer skin and cause damage to several layers of tissues including muscle. The most severe types of burns may be fatal, and if the worker survives, he or she may have to live with disfigurement. Such injuries are treated with skin grafts and multiple surgeries over a long time period.
Chemical Burns That Turn Into a Medical Emergency
A chemical burn injury is considered a medical emergency in the following cases:
- If it occurs on the face, hands, buttocks, groin, eyes, feet, or a major joint.
- If it causes a second-degree burn to an area that is larger than 3 inches in diameter. Such injuries are indicated by redness, blisters, pain, and swelling.
- When over-the-counter pain relievers do not work.
- When the injured worker shows signs of shock including pale complexion, shallow breathing, and fainting.
All chemical plants should have procedures in place to respond to such medical emergencies. This should include provision of readily available first aid equipment and specific guidelines to report chemical burn injuries and accidents to supervisors.
Other Chemical Plant Injuries
Chemical plant employees also face the risk of other non-fatal workplace injuries.
- overexertion caused by repeated lifting, carrying, holding, pushing, throwing, or pulling
- adverse bodily reaction to reaching, standing, slipping, climbing, or bending
- fall to a lower or same level
- stuck by/against objects
- caught in objects or machinery
- motor vehicle accidents
- repetitive stress injuries
Workers’ Compensation for Chemical Plant Workers
If you have suffered an injury while working at a chemical plant, you may be entitled to workers compensation benefits. If you face any difficulty getting the rightful medical or disability benefits, consult a St. Louis work injury attorney. Call The Law Office of James M. Hoffmann at (314) 361-4300.