Chemical plant explosions can be caused by a number of dangers, many of them attributable to unsafe working conditions. These disasters are some of the most common industrial accidents in the U.S., because they occur around combustible materials. In the last three years, at least four major accidents have occurred at these facilities, killing more than 20 and injuring more than 150 people. People working in these factories have to constantly be on guard for any dangers, and the company must maintain OSHA regulations.
Whenever chemical plant explosions occurs, the cause is almost always an uncontrolled fire. At these factories and many others, sediment, dust and gas is often dispersed into the air during normal working hours. These particles are usually too small to see, but they represent a major danger to everyone in the building. Even normally inert materials are highly combustible when they are granulated and dispersed into the air. Most substances at these facilities are not inert, though. They are highly flammable, which means any naked flame can quickly escalate into deflagration and pressure waves.
Keeping Filters and Machinery Clean
The company that owns the facility should keep its filters and machinery in excellent shape. Air filters and vacuum systems can reduce the danger posed by some of these materials, but many companies neglect to keep them maintained properly. All that is required for a chemical plant explosion to occur is fuel, flame and confinement. If the factory isn’t complying with OSHA standards and removing dust and gas from the air, they are not protecting those who work within the buildings.
Common Causes of Fire
This fire can be caused in many ways. When one of these accidents happens, it can usually be traced to something as innocuous as a worker smoking inside the building. In many cases, though, the fire is caused by defective equipment in the facility. Any machine with a heating element, like a boiler, may throw a spark if it is not inspected and maintained regularly. This spark is enough to cause a catastrophic chemical plant explosion. Malfunctioning electrical equipment can also cause a dangerous spark. Mixing or processing impure substances can result in combustion, as can improper storage of these materials. Finally, poor worker training often leads to employees ignoring or not understanding important safety rules in the factory.
When deflagration occurs, the intense and sudden heat creates a powerful pressure wave. This pressure wave can rupture other machines or containment vessels and result in a secondary chemical plant explosion that is more dangerous than the first. Most of the time, when these disasters happen, the real damage is caused by these secondary explosions. Even a factory that maintains safety standards can be destroyed when an earthquake or lightning strike starts a fire in the building.
Why Contact Us?
Anyone who has been hurt during one of these accidents should consider contacting one of our experienced lawyers as soon as possible. Failing to meet OSHA safety regulations is often the root cause of the disaster. Any company that neglects to maintain worker safety through filtering technology or maintained equipment is acting illegally. These companies are culpable for any injuries or fatalities that are caused as a result of this negligence. A legal professional will be able to effectively investigate the accident and help the victim put a strong case together.