Pennsylvania workers might be familiar with a 2013 accident that occurred in a metal recycling plant in Hancock County, West Virginia. According to reports, the explosion has been attributed to combustible dust. The U.S. Chemical Safety Board suggests that several steps that could have prevented such an accident were not taken.
According to the CSB report, zirconium and titanium, both of which are highly flammable, were processed at the plant. There was no collection system for the flammable dust, containers were open and the fire suppression system was water-based, which is known to make fires involving those substances worse. Reports suggest that the ignition might have started in a mixer that milled the metals. Metal-to-metal contact was noted prior to the accident and the company took a number of steps to fix the issue. However, the CSB claims that all the steps to rectify the issue were only temporary.
In the light of several tragic accidents of this nature, there have been calls for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to come up with a rule regarding combustible dust. Dangerous materials that result in combustible dust have caused 281 accidents between 1980 and 2005. In total, there were 119 deaths as well as 718 injuries.
While federal regulators might be taking steps that help workers avoid injury caused by such accidents in the future, those who have been affected by those incidents might face a number of difficulties. The households of workers killed in accidents while on the job might suffer from lost financial support and costs associated with the deaths. However, by filing a workers' compensation claim, those individuals might receive benefits that cover those damages. If you have questions, call Dugan & Associates today for a free consultation at 888-99-DUGAN.