New York City workers’ compensation lawyers explain what to know
Fires and explosions often cause serious injuries and fatalities in the workplace. Every year, more than 200 workers are killed and more than 5,000 are injured in work-related fires and explosions, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Here’s another startling statistic – those hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries happen even though only 3 percent of all workplace injuries involve explosions or fires on the job. While they’re thankfully rare, they have the highest casualty rate of all probable workplace accidents. That’s why it’s important to understand why these accidents happen and what legal options are available to injured workers and their families in New York.
Why do workplace explosions and fires happen?
Fires and explosions often occur in factories, warehouses and other workplaces due to negligence or as a result of reckless behavior. Examples include:
- Faulty electrical wiring or other electrical-related fires. Overall, 24 percent of structural fires at workplaces occur due to electrical issues, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
- Hot work, which refers to welding, drilling and sawing, especially if there are flammable materials (such as wood or wood shavings) nearby.
- Improperly stored flammable materials, such as gasoline, propane or hazardous chemicals.
- Friction from machinery and other mechanical equipment, which can create sparks.
- Work-related vehicle fires, which account for 9 percent of work-related fires, according to the NFPA.
Common workplace fire injuries
As you might expect, skin burn injuries (which can vary from third-degree burns to first-degree burn injuries) are the most common injuries caused by work-related fires and explosions. Other common injuries caused by explosions and fires include:
- Broken bones
- Lung damage due to smoke inhalation
- Cuts or lacerations, especially in cases involving explosions
- Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Nerve damage
These are just some of the injuries workers often sustain in a fire or explosion at work. That’s why it’s critical that injured workers seek immediate medical attention after a work-related fire or explosion. Your health and well-being could be at risk if you do not see a doctor right away.
Can workplace fires or explosions be prevented?
There are no truly accidental fires in the workplace. There are many ways companies can prevent such incidents. Properly maintaining and cleaning equipment and workspaces is essential. So is safely storing explosive or flammable materials. And when employees discover hazardous situations, employers need to fix them right away.
Unfortunately, some businesses ignore such problems or don’t have a plan to deal with them. As a result, serious injuries or fatalities often happen when fires and explosions occur at construction sites, factories and other workplaces.
Why You Should Hire A Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured in a fire or explosion at work in New York, make sure you fully understand your legal rights. Virtually all workers are eligible to receive workers’ compensation, which can be a lifeline for injured workers at their families after such a serious accident. Depending on the circumstances, you may also have a third-party liability claim or lawsuit. However, actually getting these benefits can often be much more difficult than many workers might realize.
The experienced New York City workers’ compensation lawyers at Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano, LLP can help you every step of the way. We know how to investigate such accidents and find the evidence you need to build a strong legal case if you or a loved one was injured in a work-related explosion or fire.
Discover what we can do for you. Contact us and schedule an appointment with a New York workers’ compensation attorney you can trust.