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Three injured in explosion at California biotech lab

Three people suffered injuries when an explosion erupted last week at a Northern California biotech company lab. Emergency responders were called to the Amgen lab around 3:30 Wednesday afternoon. A spokesperson for the fire department says that a chemical reaction caused a flash fire, injuring three people. One of the workers suffered a bruised leg in the incident. Two others suffered undisclosed workplace injuries and were treated at an area hospital.

Officials say that extensive damage to the lab occurred when solvents reacted and created the explosion. The area where the lab is located was closed off by authorities. Investigators looked into whether there was any contamination that could pose danger for people. Fire officials say that the entire building was evacuated in the immediate aftermath of the blast, but officials do not believe that the explosion caused any toxins to be released into the surrounding environment.

State workplace safety officials were notified of the workplace accident. A spokesperson for the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health says that investigators were dispatched to the site. This is the second incident reported at the facility in less than one year. A flash fire injured a worker at the same facility in May. Cal-OSHA officials issued citations to three companies after that workplace accident occurred.

When a worker suffers injuries on the job, the medical issues are only a part of the story. A worker may not be able to immediately return to work. Loss of time from work can impact the household budget, as can the medical bills that follow a serious workplace accident.

The California workers’ compensation system is designed to help injured workers who deserve a fair shake after being injured on the job. When problems arise in getting that fair shake, a workers’ compensation lawyer may assist workers and their families in pursuing a claim.

Source: The Daily Journal, “Three injured in Amgen explosion, lab damaged,” Jan. 10, 2014

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