Chemical Plant Explosions: FAQ
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Chemical plant explosions have far-reaching consequences, both for workers and their communities. The effects of the most famous industrial accident in history, the Chernobyl meltdown, are still being studied 30 years later.
If you’re the survivor of a chemical plant explosion, or you’ve lost a loved one to chemical explosion, you likely have a lot of questions. Before reaching out to us, feel free to consult our list of questions. When you decide to call, our attorneys will be able to provide clear answers to more specific questions.
Below are some of the most common questions we’ve heard as Houston plant accident lawyers.
What causes chemical plant accidents?
There are a multitude of factors that contribute to plant explosions. Generally speaking, human error is responsible for the vast majority of plant explosions. Human error not only accounts for the immediate cause behind a plant explosion, but are the leading factors behind the long-term causes of explosion.
Here’s what we mean:
Explosions are often the confluence of multiple events occurring at once. When poor maintenance meets inadequate training and low safety standards, disasters occur. Plant operators are obligated to ensure safety policies are OSHA-compliant and that each employee is properly trained in all safety procedures.
Why do chemical plant explosions occur?
It takes a great deal of investment to protect a plant from breaking down. Aging and defective equipment must be replaced quickly and frequently. New employees must receive extensive training in order to protect themselves and their co-workers from injury. Safety policies have to be updated to remain compliant with federal standards, requiring new or updated equipment and personnel.
At the same time, OSHA simply doesn’t have the manpower to enforce the rules for every plant in the U.S., so companies are trusted to enforce standards themselves. Some employers cut corners on safety, risking their workers’ lives to save on costs. When profit outweighs safety, explosions and disasters are inevitable.
In short: lack of accountability combined with the higher cost of safety lead to plant explosions. That’s part of why plant accident attorneys are vital to the industry—when we make disasters more expensive than safety compliance, we compel companies to minimize catastrophes and meet OSHA standards.
What are the effects of a chemical plant explosion?
The consequences of a chemical plant explosions are devastating.
One, explosions cause workers permanent injury. Loss of hearing is common in these accidents, as well as severe head trauma. Burn injuries are a major factor, leading to high risk of infection, lifelong pain, and potential disfigurement. Depending on the chemical factory, exposure can lead to severe respiratory issues, organ damage, loss of limbs, and other long-term injury.
The emotional trauma of these events bears mentioning. Post-traumatic stress disorder can make it difficult for workers to live normal, secure lives, much less return to a career in the chemical industry.
In addition, the health and well-being of the local environment and surrounding community may be placed in jeopardy. Chemical explosions affect local wildlife, local industry, and the respiratory health of residents within a miles-long radius. After an explosion, local residents are often required to seek shelter indoors.
Third, local emergency response services will have to deal with the aftermath and the overload of emergency calls. Sudden disasters can reduce the quality of care for patients undergoing other issues on the same day. Even worse, local hospitals may be unprepared for the severity of injuries that result from a chemical explosion.
What should I do if I'm injured in a chemical explosion?
First, seek medical attention. Your doctor can establish a plan to assist your recovery. Unfortunately, explosions are extremely serious accidents and it is likely that you will not be able to return to work for a long time.
After seeking medical treatment, speak with a lawyer to discuss your personal injury claim options. If the accident was caused by someone else's carelessness or negligence, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Talk to a chemical plant accident attorney from Arnold & Itkin to learn more about filing a claim after an explosion.
How is liability established in a plant explosion case?
In order to collect compensation for your injury, our firm must establish negligence. In the end, you must be able to demonstrate who was responsible for the explosion and that the explosion directly caused your injuries. It is imperative to establish liability through evidence: expert testimony, exhaustive investigation, and more.
Arnold & Itkin can determine who is responsible for the accident so you can collect the money you deserve.