When we go to work each day, we never expect that we might not make it home safely. This is true for most industries across America. However, some jobs are inherently dangerous and the risk of serious injury or death is prevalent on a daily basis. One potential job hazard faced by some workers is the possibility of a combustible dust explosion. According to an OSHA study, approximately 3,500 combustible dust explosions have been reported over the last 25 years. Of these explosions, 281 were categorized as serious events leading to 718 reported injuries and 118 deaths.
A dust explosion happens in just a matter of seconds and the fallout can be severe. Dust explosions not only lead to serious injuries and death but they can also cause economic consequences. An explosion can result in severe damage to businesses, forcing them to close in order to be repaired or rebuilt. In some cases, the impact of the explosion may cause the business to close its doors entirely.
In the legal arena, the focus is on the human cost of these explosions. Here at Burg Simpson, our national team of dust explosion lawyers can help if you have been affected. We bring years of experience and a team of seasoned attorneys and legal professionals to the table. Let us stand up for your rights during this difficult time.
The Cause of a Combustible Dust Explosion
Dust is an annoying but seemingly innocent particle that usually floats harmlessly in the air. It is difficult to believe that dust could cause a significant explosion. However, dust from a variety of products and chemicals can build up on surfaces, leading to a dangerous and volatile situation. The following products may produce dust that could lead to a potentially hazardous blast:
- Grains and flours
A dust explosion occurs when the fine dust particles from these and other products comes into contact with any combustible source. A confined space with just the right mixture of oxygen, fuel, or another ignition agent can lead to a dust explosion.
A dust explosion often does not happen right away. Indeed, it may take years of particle accumulation before the explosion occurs. The dust may sit on the surface for an extended period of time before it is disturbed. However. once the initial explosion or ignition takes place, a series of secondary explosions and waves can also occur. The secondary blasts often account for reported human injuries and fatalities.
Where Do Dust Explosions Happen?
Combustible dust explosions usually take place in industrial settings where dust is most commonly found. A few of the most common areas are:
- Paper manufacturing plants
- Woodworking facilities
- Fuel storage plants
- Food processing plants
- Grain elevators
- Wastewater treatment facilities
- Chemical and fuel storage plants
Workers in these and other industrial and manufacturing facilities should take special care to educate themselves on the potential of dust explosions and take steps to ensure their safety in the face of possible hazards.
Preventing Dust Explosions
Preventing a dust explosion before it occurs is the best possible policy. There are steps that employers and manufacturers can take to keep their employees safe from the potential of a combustible dust explosion. The most obvious way is to ensure that good housekeeping and preventative maintenance policies are followed in industries where dust accumulation regularly occurs. Removing accumulated dust through the use of vacuum cleaning helps to eliminate potential hazards.
Further, employees should be trained on the dangers of dust accumulation and be able to spot the signs of a potentially dangerous situation. Having educated employees is one way to ensure that dust explosion hazards are identified and removed before they become a problem.
Finally, there are engineering and mechanical steps that can be taken to control the proliferation of dust in the industrial setting. The use of special aspiration and ventilation systems along with the installation of certain materials on machinery can drastically reduce dust accumulation and lower the risk of a blast.
Injuries From Dust Explosions
Being hurt in a dust explosion can lead to catastrophic and life-altering injuries. Workers who are affected by these explosions are often in confined and restricted spaces. This means that there is very little room to escape the full force of the blast. As a result, there is a much greater risk of suffering major injuries such as:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Internal injuries and hemorrhaging
- Lung damage
- Broken bones
- Scarring and disfigurement
The aftermath of a combustible dust explosion can lead to an uncertain future. Holding the proper parties accountable is necessary in order to secure and protect your future. Before speaking with the insurance company, you should have a full understanding of your legal rights. It is important to reach out to a skilled national dust explosion attorney right away for assistance with your case.
Nationwide Combustible Dust Explosion Lawyers
Workplace accidents tend to be some of the most devastating and tragic incidents. The victims were often just doing their jobs and trying to make a living when the explosion occurred. Sadly, most of these tragedies were also preventable through the use of basic care and caution. Holding negligent parties accountable for their actions is important to achieving just for victims of combustible dust explosions.
At Burg Simpson, our team of dedicated attorneys and legal professionals are standing by to take your call at any time. Our firm has many years of experience assisting injured victims and family members. During that time, we have successfully recovered more than $2 billion in compensation for our clients. When you need a dedicated law firm with proven results helping injured people, you can count on us.
We offer a free consultation and case evaluation for all potential and prospective clients. We work on a contingency fee basis so there is no financial obligation until we are able to obtain a recovery on your behalf. To schedule your time to speak with one of our national combustible dust explosion attorneys, please reach out to us using our online intake form or give us a call at 866-695-1236.