Chemical Plant Explosions and SafetyLast updated on: April 9, 2015
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Chemical plants are inherently dangerous places to work. Explosions are not uncommon, and when they happen serious injuries and death are frequent occurrences. The most devastating chemical plant accident in history occurred in Bhopal, India, causing thousands of deaths.
Since many chemical plant explosions are the result of misconduct committed by an employee, an officer of the company or a product manufacturer, lawsuits are often filed to resolve disputes over competing liability claims.
Causes of Explosions
The causes of chemical plant explosions are diverse – natural disasters (as in the 2011 Fukushima earthquake/tsunami disaster), improper or infrequent maintenance, improper storage or transportation of hazardous chemicals, insufficient training of personnel, and human error in the operation of equipment are all common causes.
Another major cause of chemical plant explosions is the malfunctioning of a defective product such as a safety valve or a warning system.
Types of Injuries
Chemical plant explosions produce several different types of injuries.
- The blast wave itself can cause concussions, inner ear damage and punctured retinas;
- Flying debris can cause shrapnel-type puncture wounds anywhere on the body;
- Toxic gasses released by an explosion can cause poisoning and lung damage;
- Impact injuries can occur when the force of the explosion slams you against a wall, the ground or any hard object; and
- The heat of the blast can cause skin burns as well as lung damage.
The safety of chemical plant personnel is the responsibility of management, and it is the responsibility of employees and contractors to abide by safety measures. Most such measures are mandated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), although some rules may be specific to a particular plant. Your employer or supervisor generally has the responsibility to issue you all necessary safety equipment, such as protective goggles.
Liability for a chemical plant explosion can be divided into two main classifications — negligence and defective products. Because the chemicals industry is heavily regulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), violations in regulations can normally support a claim of negligence as long as it is shown that the violation actually caused the explosion.
A product liability claim may arise when a critical product such as a heat exchanger fails and causes an explosion. To win a lawsuit (or obtain a settlement offer based on the likelihood of success in litigation) you must normally prove that the product contained a design or manufacturing defect that rendered the product unreasonably dangerous.
Since nearly every product can be dangerous under certain circumstances, the level of danger must be shown to be unreasonable – by showing that the product could have been manufactured more safely in an economically feasible fashion, for example.
While winning a product liability lawsuit can be difficult, once you have established liability, you can usually collect damages from anyone from the manufacturer all the way downstream to the retailer, without even roving that the defendant was specifically at fault.
Call Zinda Law Group Now
If you have been injured in a chemical explosion, you may be entitled to compensation if you can prove that the accident was someone’s fault. Zinda Law Group is a top-tier personal injury law firm that has been approved by the Better Business Bureau® because of its stellar client satisfaction record.
Our attorneys are passionate about their jobs, and they never quit until they have put you in the best possible position to receive a full personal injury settlement or favorable court judgment. Call us right now at 800-863-5312 to schedule a free initial consultation.
Where Zinda Law Group Practices:
Our car accident law firm was founded in Texas and has a team of Austin personal injury lawyers as well as attorneys in Dallas and Fort Worth.
As we’ve grown we expanded out west to El Paso, Texas subsequently into Arizona adding Tucson Personal Injury Lawyers to the firm, as well as adding offices in Colorado including Denver Personal Injury Lawyers and the surrounding cities such as Colorado Springs.
Types of Cases We Handle:
We also have a team of attorneys that have experience serious injury cases such as car accidents, wrongful death and truck accidents. We also have experience handling more complex cases such as gas explosions and drug injury cases, such as the Taxotere® Lawsuits.