Industrial plant explosions are a serious concern to workers, employers and government regulatory agencies. The aftermath of a plant explosion can look like a war zone, with buried bodies, severed limbs, severe burn victims and other catastrophic injuries. When a Colorado worker suffers a workplace injury from an explosion, the resulting disability may often turn out to be dramatically more disabling than many other kinds of on-the-job injury.
There are a variety of causes of plant explosions, including safety noncompliance, mixing the wrong chemicals and fires that may trigger chemical outbursts. Some other causes may be improperly maintained furnaces, inadequate workforce training, carelessness with cigarettes and defective chemicals. One of the least known facts about industrial plants is that they can have explosions from fine, highly charged particulate material in the air, which is an event sometimes referred to as a "dust" explosion.
A relatively serious blast occurred on Jan. 27 in Nebraska when a three-story animal feed plant collapsed after what witnesses described as a loud noise and a fireball bursting into the sky. The cause is still unknown, but the explosion and the resulting building collapse killed two and injured 17 workers, four of them critically. As is so often the case, one tragedy seemed to beget another when, just six hours later, a furnace exploded at a steel and wire company in Oklahoma. Two more workers died there, but details were not immediately available.
For deceased and injured workers, compensation should be available quickly in the form of workers' compensation benefits. The immediate surviving family members of deceased workers will typically receive work benefits along with funeral and medical expenses. In Colorado and other states, injured workers who cannot return to work immediately due to workplace injury will normally draw workers' compensation for all necessary and reasonable medical expenses, and will collect statutory wage benefits for the duration of the disability.
Source: NBC News, Separate plant blasts kill 4 people in Nebraska, Oklahoma, M. Alex Johnson, Jan. 28, 2014