Articles Posted in Burn Injuries

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A trackhoe operated by an outside contractor punctured a portion of the Colonial Pipeline in Shelby, Alabama, causing a massive fuel-fed explosion, killing one and sending six to the hospital. The trackhoe was apparently excavating over the pipeline during repair work related to a previous leak which occurred two months ago.

The Colonial Pipeline Explosion has caused fuel shortages up and down the east coast, and caused gas prices to rise. Atlanta based Colonial Pipeline has been cited twice by federal investigators since September by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. Pipeline safety remains a serious problem, as shown by the recent Alabama pipeline explosion .

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Two people–a father and a son—were injured last week in a tragic gas can explosion. Heath Grayley and his 5 year old son Kyler were severely injured when a gas can exploded. According to published reports, neighbors heard a loud “boom” which sounded like a bomb.

Gas can explosions are entirely preventable through the use of a flame arrester. Flame arresting technology has been around for centuries.

Jonah Flynn is a gas can explosion lawyer who has collected millions on behalf of gas can explosion victims.

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A workplace accident at Zodiac Cabin & Structure Support in Newport, Washington in July of 2015 has led to a massive 1.3M fine. Seventeen Workers were injured in the flammable vapors explosion at the aerospace plant after a defective curing oven (which should not have been in service) exploded.

Washington’s Department of Labor and Industries issued 17 willful violations and 18 serious violations for Zodiac’s failure to require safety interlocks and safeguards to ensure curing ovens were used safely.

In Washington, employers may be liable in tort for injuries to their employees if the employer is found guilty of intentional negligence. In Birklid v. Boeing, “intentional injuries” were broadened to include injuries where the employer had actual knowledge that an injury was certain to occur and willfully disregarded that knowledge. Employees may, under certain circumstances, bring a civil action against their employer in Washington. Such an action could be an option to the Zodiac workers involved in the July 2015 explosion.

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OSHA has fined four companies related to the Omega Protein explosion in Moss Point, Mississippi last year. According to news reports, Accu-Fab & Construction, Omega Protein, JP Williams Machine and Fabrication, and Global Employment were all fined, with fines totaling $187,620.

According to OSHA, the fines were levied because the workers injured in the explosion has no training to know the storage tank beneath them contained explosive methane and hydrogen sulfide gasses. The citation highlights the need to verify and remediation fire and explosion hazards in industrial settings. Jerry Lee Taylor, 25, of Helena, Mississippi, was killed in the explosion. Josh Walls, 34; Clay Davis, 40; and Lloyd McGill were injured.

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Heather Tyler, age 12, from Lakeland, Florida, was severely burned by a gas can explosion last month while standing near a bonfire. The gas can was apparently in the vicinity of the bonfire, emitted flammable gasoline vapors, and a slash fire started outside the can.

Because the gas can was not equipped with a 15 cent flame arrester, the external flash fire travelled into the gas can Heather was standing near, and caused that gas can to become, in essence, a bomb. 75 percent of Heather’s body was burned, and she is currently at Shriner’s Hospital in Cincinnati Ohio.

Gas can explosions are entirely preventable. Portable gas cans should have been equipped with a flame arrester to prevent flame propagation into the gas can. Blitz USA, the largest maker of gas cans, is in bankruptcy because of its gross negligence in failing to equip its cans with flame arresters. Scepter Canada and Midwest Can also made gas cans without flame arresters. ANY gas can without a flame arrester is defective.
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Mississippi’s Howard Industries, Inc., in Ellisville, Mississippi was recently cited by OSHA for 17 safety violations following the electrocution death of Benjamin Edwards Spoon while testing transformers. According to the OSHA citation, Spoon’s employer failed to have an adequate lock out-tag out procedure, failed to conduct PPE hazard assessments, and failed to provide insulated gloves.

In this situation, the power company Spoon’s employer was hired by could have some liability for using a contractor with known unsafe work practices and/or failing to adequately monitor the work. The Flynn Law Firm has represented injured workers in Mississippi, last year concluding two cases against International Paper for a boiler explosion at the Vicksburg mill. The Flynn Law Firm currently represents an injured lineman in a case pending in Smith County, Mississippi.

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Shawn Allen Austin was killed in a flash fire at the John W. McDougall Metals Plant in Nashville, Tennessee. The John W. McDougall plant fabricates custom sheet metal. Because there was a workplace death, OSHA will be investigating the incident. Immediately after the flash fire, Mr. Austin was taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where he ultimately succumbed to his burn injuries. Another worker, Saul Hernandez, suffered a work injury in the flash fire, and was treated and released.

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Three workers have been killed, and at least one worker was injured, when a chemical plant owned by Al Solutions Inc. exploded in New Cumberland, West Virginia exploded. One direct employee of Al Solutions, Inc. was badly burned, and ultimately died from his burn injuries. A contractor on the site also suffered burns.

Al Solutions in New Cumberland West Virginia develops additives for the aluminum industry. The workers were working with titanium powder, used as an alloy additive. The powder is packed into bricks and is highly flammable.
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Electrocution work injuries are some of the most common, deadly types of on the job injuries , and often lead to workers’ compensation claims and disabling conditions. Recently, Roger Thompson (from Brooksville, Florida), was electrocuted and killed while working as an electrician at the South Carolina State Fair. South Carolina OSHA is investigating the circumstances surrounding this worker death.

In 2008, another fair worker was killed when he was crushed by a counterweight. In that incident, the decedent’s employer was cited for failure to furnish a safe workplace. It appears that while the rides may be safe for those attending the fair, the workers assembling the rides or working at the fair are in a dangerous workplace.

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Kylan Warren, age 25, a Georgia power lineman, succumbed to burn injuries sustained in July after a crew he was working with accidentally drilled into a subsurface gas line while placing utility poles. He suffered burns to 80 percent of his body and was in the Grady burn unit for one month prior to his death.

Workplace safety is a team effort, and involves more than just the efforts of an employer. Contractors, sub-contractors, and utility companies each play a role in maintaining a safe working environment. A sub-surface utility line, such as the one Mr. Warren was working near, should be adequately marked. Not only should the utility accurately mark the sub-surface line, but a representative from the utility (in this case Atlanta Gas Light) should be present at the morning tailgate meeting to ensure the lineman and contractors know where the sub-surface gas line is located and know how to avoid it. The OSHA investigation should reveal AGL’s role in Mr. Warren’s death and provide guidance on how incidents like his can be avoided in the future.