Welders in California are likely be aware of the potential dangers posed by their occupation. Their jobs often require them to work with, or be in the presence of, tanks containing pressurized oxygen. Under certain conditions, oxygen tanks can explode, resulting in life-changing injuries or worse. One such industrial accident that severely injured a worker is being investigated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in another state.
It was reported that two workers were handling oxygen tanks when some of them exploded unexpectedly. One worker suffered critical burn injuries and was rushed to an area hospital. However, the severity of the injuries necessitated a transfer of the victim to the burn unit at another medical facility. His co-worker inhaled smoke but suffered no severe injuries, and a driver of a nearby truck suffered from shock.
A report from the local fire department says a larger number of firefighters were required due to the cold weather. He says firefighters move at a slower pace in such low temperatures, and speedy action was required as the water that is used to extinguish the flames freezes upon contact with the ground and other surfaces. In addition, the heat of the blazing building caused more oxygen tanks to explode, exposing the firefighters to elevated levels of danger.
California workers who have suffered severe injuries in an industrial accident have the right to pursue workers' compensation benefits, regardless of who was at fault. Such compensation commonly covers medical expenses and lost wages. However, if the injuries cause temporary or permanent disabilities, requiring long-term or lifelong care, the victims may have to face many challenges. For this reason, the insurance may award additional compensation as financial assistance over an extended period.
Source: northjersey.com, "Cause of Clifton welding facility explosion still unknown; OSHA investigates", Tony Gicas, Feb. 13, 2015