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Workers injured in explosion at California rocket company

Fire officials, police and even a bomb squad crew rushed to the Aerojet Rocketdyne facility in Rancho Cordova, California, last Tuesday morning after a blast was reported around 8:00 a.m. Authorities say that the explosion was some kind of accident. Two workers suffered injuries. One of the workers reportedly was treated on site. The second worker suffered more serious injuries and was transported to the hospital after the blast.

Few details about the worker injuries have been disclosed. Authorities say that when firefighters arrived at the site, no fire was found. The explosion occurred in a building on an isolated part of the company’s Ranch Cordova campus. Officials say that the blast appears to have been accidental and no criminal activity is suspected.

Agents from the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (more commonly referred to as Cal-OSHA) were dispatched to the scene to open a state workplace safety investigation. The company has not had an accident since 2005, although a few workplace safety complaints have been lodged. In 2010, the company was cited by Cal-OSHA for several safety violations. The 2010 probe resulted in a $1,625 fine, according to the Sacramento Bee.

News media says that damage could be seen at the facility from the air, but few details about the workplace accident have been released to the media. Cal-OSHA investigations generally may take up to six months.

The company is known for its rocket engines, although it has been seeking to diversify in recent years to other areas.

Workplace accidents in an industrial setting can range from machinery problems to explosions, as today’s story highlights. Each workplace accident may involve different facts. But, in general, workers who suffer injury on the job may be entitled to important workers’ compensation benefits without having to prove fault of the employer.

Hospital, doctor’s, rehabilitation and other bills can pile up quickly, and the workers’ compensation system is designed to get injured workers benefits in a timely fashion. However, workers and their families can still face difficulties in the process, and may need to seek the advice and representation of legal counsel to help protect rights in the legal system.

Source: The Sacramento Bee, “State labor officials investigate Aerojet explosion,” Richard Chang, Nov. 19, 2013

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