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Workplace injury: Blast sends 2 oilfield workers to burn center

Colorado workers of companies servicing the oil industry are often exposed to potentially dangerous situations that could lead to severe burn injuries. The consequences of burns can be life-changing and are likely one of the most serious on-the-job injuries workers can suffer. For workers in the petroleum industry, it is not uncommon for thermal burns to result from a workplace injury.

A victim of a workplace accident that causes burn injuries may be unable to return to work for a substantial length of time, prompting multiple difficulties for the worker and his or her family. Two workers of an oilfield service company recently suffered severe burns when an explosion occurred at a Chesapeake Energy facility in a neighboring state. The U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration is investigating the accident but has not provided information about the unknown liquid substance the men were working with at the time of the explosion.

OSHA reported that the workers had burns over 29 and 20 percent of their bodies, respectively. Both men are being treated at a burn center in Colorado. The Wyoming plant was closed after the incident, and will likely remain closed while investigators work to determine the cause of the blast. The investigation will reveal whether any violations of safety regulations led to the workers' injuries.

Burns suffered in a Colorado workplace injury could lead to extensive skin damage and internal injuries. They could also lead to complications that may include shock, subsequent infection and even cardiac arrest. Such injuries often require long-term medical treatment, surgical skin grafts and long-term rehabilitation. The financial implications can be crippling, and the benefits provided by the workers' compensation typically provide benefits to cover medical expenses and lost wages to ease the financial burden.

Source: trib.com, "Workers injured in blast at Chesapeake facility in stable condition", Benjamin Storrow, May 4, 2015

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