Most of us have heard by now about the explosion at an Omaha, Nebraska, animal feed plant that left 10 people seriously injured, 2 dead, and numerous others with minor injuries.
Plant explosions occur too often and are extremely dangerous. For many, they have been deadly. Those who are lucky to escape with their lives often deal with painful injuries and medical conditions that may even manifest years later. Sometimes plant workers are exposed to toxic chemicals they are not aware of when a plant explodes.
The BP explosion that rocked Texas City, Texas comes to mind when explosions like the Omaha plant occur. In 2005 the second largest oil refinery in Texas, third largest in America, exploded, killing 15 workers and injuring more than 170 other individuals. Unfortunately, investigations found many safety prevention failures at the facility, including the following: cost cut backs that led to safety hazards, unsafe infrastructure, poor corporate oversight, lack of attention to safety, improperly trained employees, flawed communication and outdated equipment being used.
It seems money became more important that the safety of workers on site, and this is truly an injustice.
Unfortunately, the International Nutrition Plant in Omaha has a troubling history of injuries and death sustained by plant workers. In August, 2002, a man was crushed to death by a mixing machine. They were fined by OSHA for six “serious” violations.
Then, in 2012, they were fined again by OSHA when violations were discovered during a planned inspection. These violations were related to medical services and first aid, handling materials, general requirements for machines, abrasive wheel machinery, hand and portable powered tools and equipment, and wiring methods, components and equipment
Authorities are still investigating the possible cause of the recent explosion that harmed so many. It seems with a violation history like this, the Omaha plant could possibly face more obstacles.
Grain handling is a “high risk industry” because of the tremendous amount of highly combustible grain dust that accumulates regularly inside these plants. In the past 35 years, there have been more than 500 explosions in grain handling industrial plants. More than 180 have been killed and more than 675 have been injured. This is obviously too high of a price to pay for a day at the job. How does something like this happen?
A dust explosion is the fast combustion of dust particles suspended in the air in an enclosed location. Dust explosions can occur where any powdered combustible material is present in an enclosed atmosphere.
Four elements must be present for an explosions like this to occur. These include the combustible dust, suspension of the dust in the air at a high concentration, oxygen, and an ignition source.
There are so many grain plant explosions because grain produces a dangerous dust cloud that can very easily lead to explosions. OSHA has guidelines and standards in place to prevent these explosions but they are not always followed as they should be. For those workers who are killed or seriously injured in these explosions due to plant managers, or those in charge, neglecting safety standards, compensation is owed.
These types of injuries can be extremely painful and surgical procedures and treatments can go on for years. Lack of ability to work, as well physical and emotional trauma and suffering can take a huge toll on lives of many.
If you or a loved one is injured or a life is lost in the workplace due to an explosions like the one in Omaha, seek an attorney with experience, like the attorneys of Passen & Powell (also known as the Burn Injury Firm). We are here to seek justice for you.