What Are Common Injuries from Plant Explosions?
The injuries that are sustained in the aftermath of plant and refinery explosions are immense and oftentimes fatal. Much of these injuries can be incurred from the physical blast of the explosion and fire itself; however, in some cases, the aftermath can be just as deadly.
Below, we explain some of the most common injuries:
- Burns: The heat that can be created by tragic plant explosions can spike into the thousands of degrees-exposure to this kind heat, let alone the different chemical present in many plants and refiners, can be the cause of severe burns. Not only are these painful, they can result in long-lasting scarring and disfigurement, which is emotionally challenging and psychologically damaging.
- Orthopedic Injuries: Injuries which are categorized as "orthopedic" refer to injuries to the muscles, joints, and ligaments on the human body. This can be broken & fractured bones, skull fractures, damaged vertebrae, herniated / bulging discs, as well as sprains and strains. Most of these injuries are sustained in the initial blast, where debris explodes from the building.
- Lacerations: Similar orthopedic injuries, victims of plant explosions can also gain serious lacerations or cuts from debris falling or exploding. Regardless of whether it is a shallow gash or a deep wound, these can be painful and result in permanent scarring.
- Acoustic Trauma: Beyond the heat, one of the most dangerous aspects of a plant explosion is the sheer noise. That alone can cause acoustic trauma to those anywhere near the explosion. Noise-induced hearing loss is a very real problem, and can be caused by a one-time exposure which damages the hair cells and the auditory nerve. This may be temporary or permanent.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Some injuries are not physical, but that does not diminish the level of suffering that the victims experience. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is most often referred to in regards to soldiers returning from war, but it has long since been known that those who undergo a traumatic accident, such as an explosion, can experience it as well. This can leave victims to re-live the trauma over and over again, feel numb to their surroundings, or be "hyperalert."
- Smoke Inhalation: When a plant explodes or begins to burn, it causes plumes of smoke to rise into the air and then settle into the low-lying areas surrounding the facility. Inhalation of this smoke is highly dangerous to victims-not only can it cause immediate symptoms, such as coughing and shortness of breath, but it can cause long-term effects as well, such as injury to the small airways.
To learn more about what can be done in the aftermath of a plant explosion, or to get questions about your specific case answered, do not hesitate to reach out and contact an injury attorney from Arnold & Itkin.