Each year, an estimated 14,120 workers nationwide suffer thermal burns. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, when a worker suffers a burn injury, the median time the worker spends off-the-job is five days. In many situations, burn injuries cause permanent disfigurement and end careers. Some burns are also fatal.
Burns have many different causes, from faulty equipment to bad wiring on-the-jobsite. In a construction environment, however, one of the most dangerous situations likely to result in a burn injury occurring is when a gas line incident occurs.
If a gas line is punctured or gas is otherwise leaking, a devastating fire can result in a split second, changing lives forever. An Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer can help victims and their families after such a fire has occurred.
A tragic incident in 2014 illustrated the extent of the damage which can occur when there is a problem with a gas line. As New York Times reported, eight people died and two buildings were destroyed as a result of a terrible fire caused by a gas line crack.
While this incident was the deadliest in recent years, gas lines crisscross cities from Atlanta to New York to Philadelphia to Fort Worth to San Diego and beyond and incidents are very common when construction workers perform work and disturb these lines.
Virtually everywhere in the country, gas lines are located underground. While utilities and municipalities in theory should know where these are and should be able to help prevent digging from occurring into a gas line, this does not always happen.
Just recently, for example, New York Post indicated a two-alarm figure was triggered when a gas line was hit by a drilling rig. The company said they had been given incorrect information about the location of the gas line.
When the drilling rig hit the line a “geyser of flame” erupted, endangering the 40 workers who were on site at the time of the incident. The fire burned so hot, windows melted on nearby factory. Fortunately, only one worker was hurt and he only sustained minor injuries. The workers were able to get away from the area where they smelled burning gas, prior to the fire erupting.
In a case in Fort Worth, another gas line incident led to a worker suffering first degree burns to his hands, according to CBS. In San Diego, KQED indicated one government contractor breached gas distribution lines on five different occasions before the authorities finally stepped in and had to have the contractor removed from doing the project before someone got badly hurt.
In these and many other instances, workers who are on construction sites and who are asked to dig and do other construction jobs have limited or no protection if they aren’t informed of where pipe lines are located.
If any of the workers get hurt or killed in a fire, they need to make sure they understand all options for holding people accountable for their losses, especially if non-employers gave incorrect information about gas line locations. An attorney can provide advice on who is responsible and on how to maximize benefits after a gas-line incident.
Parsons & Associates, P.C. is an Atlanta workers’ compensation law firm serving Atlanta, Savannah, and surrounding areas throughout Fulton County. Contact Parsons & Associates, P.C. today at 770-422-9000 or contact us online if you have been injured at work.