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Diesel tank explosion kills one in Merced County, two injured

One worker was killed and two suffered personal injuries in an explosion at a ranch in Merced County last week. The accident occurred Wednesday as a worker was grinding a large gasoline tank workplace safety officials believe. The 300-pound tank exploded. One of the two surviving victims of the industrial accident suffered more severe injuries than the other survivor.

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health is looking into the fatal accident, and any details about what happened may be clarified or modified as the fatal accident probe continues.

The explosion occurred as workers were reconditioning diesel fuel tanks at the ranch. Officials believe that the workers finished one tank, before moving on to the second—which exploded. It is not clear what relationship the workers actually had with the management corporation that operates the ranch. The management company apparently contracts workers from a Winton, California, agency.

Any burn injury can be painful. As the severity of a burn injury increases, the pain can become excruciating and the damage severe. The American Burn Association estimates that each year roughly 450,000 people require medical treatment for burns, and roughly 9 percent of patients admitted into a burn center are admitted for an occupational injury.

Burns may have many different causes in the workplace. In addition to burns from an open flame, roughly a third of all burn injuries involve a scald from steam, grease or some form of hot liquid. Contact with hot surfaces or exposure to the sun may lead to a burn wound. Burns may also involve an electrical or chemical.

Workers who suffer non-fatal burn injuries may require extensive care, leading to a loss of work for an extended period of time. Fatal burn-related accidents can leave families devastated. People who suffer work-related injuries in California may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Depending upon the circumstances, other forms of recovery may also be available.

Source: Merced Sun Star, “Cal-OSHA investigating fatal 300-pound fuel tank explosion at ranch on Highway 59 near Snelling," Rob Parsons, Dec. 12, 2013

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