Combustible Dust Explosion
Industrial dust can cause explosions and fires in the workplace. In early 2020, a chemical plant’s dust collector stopped working correctly. The industrial dust caught on fire and caused industrial dust, smoke, and flames to spew from the plant’s dust collector. No injuries happened in this instance, but when combustible industrial dust catches fire, the potential for burn injuries is significant. Industrial dust is highly combustible and can cause massive explosions at chemical and industrial plants. Every year, people die from fires and explosions caused by industrial dust particles.
If you have suffered an injury caused by industrial dust catching fire or exploding, our lawyers can help. When employers fail to create a safe working environment, injuries caused by dangerous conditions can occur. Fires caused by combustible dust are often preventable by using reasonable safety methods. Your burn injuries may be covered under your employer’s worker’s compensation policy. At Arnold & Smith, PLLC we have helped many clients negotiate the highest possible workers' compensation payments from their employers. With three convenient offices in Charlotte, Mooresville and Monroe it has never been easier to Contact our personal injury law firm today to schedule your free case evaluation.Common Locations of Combustible Dust Explosions
Combustible dust explosions usually happen at processing factories, chemical plants, and other industrial locations. Industrial dust explosions could happen at any of the following North Carolina locations:
- Plastic plants
- Grain silos
- Fertilizer plants
- Processing facilities
- Pesticide manufacturing facilities
- Plants for making furniture
- Facilities that process metal
- A dye factory
- Coal mines or factories
- Tobacco processing plants
- Companies that manufacture pharmaceuticals
- Paper and pulp processing plants
- Plants in the woodworking industry
- Plants that generate fossil fuel-based power
- Plants that focus on recycling
Dust fires and explosions can happen due to a variety of factors. Sometimes, blast reactions cause dust explosions. A blast reaction could occur when heat, oxygen and combustible dust combine to cause an explosion and subsequent fire. The combustible dust acts as fuel for the fire. When industrial locations are not ventilated, such as the rooms within a manufacturing plant, an explosion can occur. Even when the initial explosion is small, it can cause a much larger explosion by sucking in more oxygen.
Combustible dust releases particles into the atmosphere when it catches on fire, making the secondary explosion more dangerous. Secondary explosions from combustible dust often have the potential for more injury and deaths. Explosions happen so quickly that it is difficult, if not impossible, for employees to escape the explosion. Additionally, most explosions happen in closed environments without adequate ventilation and ways to exit the building. Sadly, employees are often sitting ducks when explosions take place.Proving Negligence in Dust Fire Accidents
In order to succeed in a personal injury claim, the injured party must prove that the supervisor or plant owner’s negligence caused the dust fire. In order to prevent burn injuries caused by industrial fires, companies should conduct regular hazard assessments on all materials. Supervisors should also frequently evaluate the workplace spaces of employees to make sure they are not at risk for a dust fire.
Company owners can conduct hazardous chemical inspections. In these inspections, qualified personnel test employee workspaces to see if combustible fuel has accidentally leaked out into any of the spaces. Finally, company owners should install dust collecting systems as well as filtration systems. These safety systems prevent dust from escaping and help the industrial plant or facility maintain a safe level of ventilation.Damages Available to Employees Injured in Dust Fires
Combustible dust fires or explosions can cause employees severe injuries, or even death. Sadly, employers could prevent many combustible dust fires if they had taken proper safety measures before the accident happened. In order to recover compensation, the injured person must prove that the plan manager or supervisor’s negligence caused the explosion that, in turn, caused his or her burn injuries. Successful plaintiffs can recover the following damages for their burn injuries:
- All past and current medical expenses related to their burn injuries
- Compensation for lost wages due to missed work
- Burial cost and funeral expenses in wrongful death cases
- Compensation for depression, anxiety, and mental anguish caused by the personal injury
- Compensation for pain and suffering
- Punitive damages when the defendant acted particularly egregiously
If you have suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a dust explosion, our lawyers can help. Investigating explosions can be a lengthy process, so time is of the essence. Contact our experienced Charlotte personal injury lawyers today to schedule your initial consultation.