Explosions in chemical plants and refineries are not common, but when they do occur, they can cause devastating injuries and immense property damage.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2011, a total of 143 workers were injured in factory explosions, which accounts for 3% of work-related injuries. Factory owners have a responsibility to put in place safety procedures and systems to prevent such accidents.
Types of Injuries Caused by Explosions
When a factory explosion occurs, there are a few things that happen. The initial blast of pressure caused by the explosion can cause serious physical damage. This blast can be so strong that it can throw objects and people with force. There are typically four types of injuries that can occur as a result of such accidents:
- Primary blast: When an explosion takes place, the pressure released from it causes primary blast injuries. Usually, this pressure attacks areas such as the ears, lungs, and gastrointestinal organs, as these parts are easily filled with air.
- Secondary injuries: These are caused by objects that fly or fall and hit workers. Such objects can include glass or equipment.
- Tertiary blast: Such injuries are caused when a worker is lifted into the air by the explosion and thrown into an object. Because of the force of the impact between the body and the stationary object, the person may suffer fractures or injuries to internal organs.
- Quaternary explosion injuries: This category includes injuries such as crush, burns, loss of blood, inhalation of fumes, and chemical exposure.
In addition to bodily damage, such explosions can also cause a lot of property damage. A large blast can possibly throw objects hundreds of yards and such objects can hit personal property such as vehicles. Contact a Missouri workers compensation attorney from The Law Office of James M. Hoffmann to discuss the legal aspects involved in plant explosions. Regardless of the type of injuries suffered in the explosion, any injured workers may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
Serious Injuries Suffered in Plant Explosions
When explosions occur, any workers who are present near the blast site can suffer severe injuries. Some injuries may be immediately visible, such as lacerations or broken bones. However, some injuries may not be immediately visible and may show up later with long-term effects. These injuries may include traumatic brain injuries and post traumatic stress syndrome.