Previous incidents involving metal dust explosions at chemical plants in Pennsylvania have been investigated by the Chemical Safety Board (CSB). Recently, an explosion at a similar chemical plant in a neighboring state left three dead and another seriously injured in a workplace accident.
According to the article, there is little information as to the events leading up to the explosion as the plant does not have video surveillance nor were there other witnesses. Instead, the investigation is focused on forensic evidence to determine what happened.
Thus far, the CSB has not found any blatant safety violations or concerns regarding the chemical plant. Other things they will be looking at are the building’s internal systems, such as the electrical and ventilation systems. If the CSB discovers that the plant was negligent in keeping the building up to safety regulations, they may recommend to a regulatory agency that the company be fined.
The employees of this particular plant were working with chemicals that are extremely combustible. Sometimes even the metal dust that is in the air can cause an explosion like this one. But at this point investigators need to process the scene further to determine what caused the blast.
There is no information as to how badly the surviving worker was injured. However, the explosion instantly killed two workers and severely burned a third, who later died at the hospital. One can only imagine how badly hurt the survivor was if he or she had been in the same blast.
Being injured on the job can cause a lot of stress for the injured worker. Not only are there medical bills that must be paid, there is also the recovery time that may prevent the worker from returning to work.
For a worker who has been injured in a workplace accident, there is the option of workers’ compensation that can compensate the worker for treatment and even lost wages.
Source: West Virginia Public Broadcasting online, “CSB looking at metal dust, other possible causes in chemical plant explosion,” Keri Brown, 17 December 2010