Many workplace injuries and deaths are linked to exposure to flammable chemicals, fires and explosions. We often hear about explosions that happen due to improper storage of flammable materials.
One particular incident that made international headlines was the August 4 explosion that happened in Beirut. Roughly 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate was improperly stored at the port for six years. Approximately 135 people were killed and 5,000 injured in the explosion — all of which could have been prevented.
Common mistakes when storing flammable chemicals
According to an article in Occupational Health & Safety Magazine, ignorance and complacency are the cause of most flammable chemical accidents. The article sites a study conducted by the National Fire and Protection Association that linked 454 deaths and 3,910 injuries to flammable and combustible liquid fires. All of these injuries and deaths could have been avoided if flammable chemicals had been properly stored and secured.
According to the OH&S article, these are the most common errors made when storing flammable chemicals:
- Not using the right container. While storing unused chemicals in their original packaging can save money, it can be dangerous in the long-term. This is only OK when flammable chemicals are stored in small amounts for a short period of time. When storing these chemicals for long periods of time, only the right containers designed for long-term storage should be used.
- Not properly labeling the containers. It's very important that the containers being used to store flammable chemicals are properly labeled. Since some flammable chemicals are clear and odorless, they can easily be mistaken for nonhazardous chemicals. A standard label should include the name of the chemical, the date of storage and Material Safety Data Sheets information.
- Failing to have a fire prevention plan in place. In the event that an accident involving flammable chemicals occurs, it's critical that a fire prevention plan is put in place to prevent fire from spreading throughout a facility. This can be done by having proper barriers and drainage systems put in place to prevent the liquids from spreading or remaining on floor surfaces. In addition, fire-resistant storage units should be installed.
Contact a New Jersey workers' compensation lawyer if you were hurt on the job
If you were injured on the job due to a fire, explosion or exposure to hazardous chemicals, your injuries may be severe enough to leave you out of work for a significant amount of time. Fortunately, you may be eligible for workers' compensation benefits that pay for your medical expenses and lost wages while you recover.
Pursuing workers' compensation benefits can be a complicated process. That's why it's important that you speak to an experienced New Jersey workers' compensation attorney at Shebell & Shebell, LLC. We'll help you filing the claim, obtaining benefits you are entitled to, and preparing your case for trial. We'll also advocate with insurance companies for the best possible financial settlement based upon the permanent impact of the injuries you have sustained. To learn more, contact us by phone or online and schedule your free legal consultation. Our law offices are located in Shrewsbury and Freehold, and we are offering phone appointments at this time for your convenience.