Industrial Plant Accidents or Explosions and Workers’ Comp

Explosions in chemical plants and refineries are not common, but when they do occur, they can cause devastating injuries and immense property damage.  The deadliest plant explosion on record occurred thirty-six years ago in India at a pesticide plant leading to more than 600,000 people being exposed to the deadly gas cloud that night. The gases caused victims throats and eyes to burn, inducing nausea, and many deaths. Estimates of the death toll vary from as few as 3,800 to as many as 16,000.  While most accidents are not as severe as the Bhopal Industrial Disaster, even minor explosions or accidents can have life altering consequences for the workers involved as well as those living near the plant.  

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 several 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.

Secondary Injuries:

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.

Tertiary Blast

Are caused by flying debris that hits workers. Such objects can include glass, structural components, or equipment.

Other Injuries:

Other injuries can include injuries such as crush, burns, loss of blood, inhalation of fumes, and chemical exposure.  Beyond the physical, immediately visible injuries, victims may also suffer late onset traumatic brain injuries and years of post-traumatic stress syndrome.

In addition to bodily damage, such explosions can also cause property damage. A large blast can possibly throw objects hundreds of yards and hit vehicles. Contact a workers’ compensation attorney 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.