Explosion accidents can be devastating. The injuries caused by a blast often lead to serious and long-term consequences for victims. These injuries range from broken bones to head trauma and internal injuries to lungs and other organs. Explosions happen in a variety of settings, including residences, workplaces, manufacturing plants, and construction sites.
While every explosion must be carefully investigated, the sad reality is that they often could have been prevented. Human error and negligence inevitably lead to most explosions. These errors can take on various forms. Below, we will take a look at some of the most common causes of an explosion and how they can best be prevented.
Residential explosions are most often caused by the explosion of natural gases within the home. It is estimated that about 4,200 gas explosions occur in American homes every year. On average, these explosions lead to about 40 deaths and hundreds of injuries.
Natural gas is a highly flammable and combustible material. It is most often to heat homes, cook food, and provide a source of hot water. Building and safety codes require that natural gas be contained safely so that it cannot escape. However, a natural gas leak can quickly turn disastrous.
It is estimated that 54% of natural gas fires happen due to accidents with cooking equipment. Another 25% of gas explosions are attributable to water heaters and other types of heating equipment that use natural gas.
Natural gas has a distinctive smell designed to alert homeowners when there is a leak. If you are in or around your home and notice the smell of natural gas, it is important to stop what you are doing right away, move away from the area, and contact your local fire department to investigate the smell. These efforts at prevention can help to save you from a potential tragedy.
Manufacturing Plant Explosions
Manufacturing plants across America routinely utilize dangerous combustible gases, including butane, propane, and natural gas. Certain types of manufacturing equipment rely on natural gas in order to power its operation. When gas escapes from the manufacturing environment, it can come into contact with air, dust, or other materials, and the resulting reaction can cause a massive blast that endangers property and the lives of factory workers.
In a recent four-year period, United States fire departments responded to a total of 37,910 fires at industrial or manufacturing plants. These industrial explosions led to 16 civilian deaths, 273 injuries, and more than 1.2 billion dollars in property damage.
Manufacturing plants and industrial facilities are governed by safety codes and regulations. However, these codes are not always followed, and the results can be catastrophic. Some common causes of manufacturing plant explosions include:
- Improper or faulty maintenance
- Defective equipment
- Mishandling of combustible materials
- Poor engineering and design
- Employee negligence
Preventing a manufacturing or industrial explosion starts with proper training and knowledge of safety procedures. All essential employees should have knowledge of these rules and regulations and should implement them in their daily work. Routine quality inspections should be implemented at factories to ensure that workers and equipment are in compliance with all federal and local safety standards.
Oil and Gas Explosions
Some of the most devastating reported explosions have happened in the oil and gas industry. In 2010, the Deepwater Horizon explosion rocked the industry when it occurred off the coast of Louisiana. The explosion resulted in 11 deaths and 17 injuries among the 126 crew members aboard a BP oil rig. In 2005, a refinery explosion in Texas City, Texas, claimed the lives of 15 people and injured 180 more.
The consequences of oil and gas refinery explosions can be both immediate and long-term. Victims in the vicinity of the blast face a substantial risk of injuries due to the force of the explosion. Flying objects pose a major danger to those in the area and can cause major internal and external injuries. In the longer term, exposure to a variety of chemicals can lead to lung diseases and various types of cancer. The invasion of foreign chemicals into the body represents a significant risk for factory workers who are in or around an explosion site.
Oil and gas explosions have many potential causes. In most instances, the explosion occurs when chemicals escape a pipeline through a leak or breakdown. When they come into contact with other combustible materials, an explosion can occur. As with other types of industrial explosions, routine maintenance and adherence to safety standards can help to lessen the risk or prevent an explosion from occurring on an oil or gas rig.
Construction Site Explosions
Construction projects are often the site of intentional explosions. Workers may be tasked with the use of explosives for demolition and blasting projects. Normally this type of work takes place in a controlled setting. Most construction workers are extremely cautious of their safety and the safety of others around them. Still, accidents do occur. Each year, about 1,000 construction workers are killed due to occupational hazards, including blasting.
Blasting accidents can best be prevented by carefully training workers on how to use dangerous equipment and devices. Many work accidents occur due to improper or negligent training. Companies should always ensure that only qualified individuals are in charge of potentially hazardous and dangerous construction projects.
National Explosion Accident Attorneys
Following an explosion accident, victims should be aware of their legal rights. It will normally be necessary to seek the services of a national explosion accident attorney to investigate your case. At Burg Simpson, our team can take on your claim regardless of where you are located. We have many years of experience helping explosion accident victims across the country in state and federal court.
Our firm stands ready to help at any time. We offer free consultations for all potential and prospective clients. Explosion litigation is complex, and having experienced counsel is invaluable. Our United States explosion accident lawyers will always stand up for your rights. There is no fee unless we win. To schedule your free consultation with one of our attorneys, please contact us using our online intake form or give us a call at (888) 895-2080.