Five Workers Injured in Explosion

August 14, 2018

Five workers at an Army depot vehicle shop in central Pennsylvania were recently injured in an explosion. The Letterkenny Army Depot commander reported that the blast caused a small fire that injured five employees, three of whom were flown to Baltimore hospitals for treatment of serious injuries while two others were treated at a local hospital for injuries that included chemical burns and smoke inhalation. The five injured workers are civilians who work for the Department of the Army, according to a spokeswoman for the United States Army Aviation and Missile Command.

What Caused the Explosion?

The spokeswoman says that while the exact cause of the blast is currently unknown, there is no suspicion of terrorist activity. According to the commander, the Army, as well as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), will investigate the cause of the accident.

Officials reported on social media that the incident was contained and that none of the other operations on the base would be affected. According to the commander, the explosion occurred in the painting area of a vehicle shop in the Army depot. More than 300 people work in that department, where paint and paint thinner, which are highly flammable substances, are stored and mixed.

An earlier report stated that two workers were running out of the building screaming and on fire. Officials say that at least one employee was treated for smoke inhalation and was released, and three other employees suffered burns for which they were still being treated. All other workers were evacuated from the building and later released from the worksite.

Although the 18,000-acre depot was originally established to store ammunition, the commander stated that the building does not currently hold munitions. The depot employs approximately 3,600 people who work on air defense tactical missile ground support equipment, mobile electric power generation equipment, Patriot missile recertification, and route guidance vehicles.

Potential OSHA Violations+

Workplace explosions are often the result of employers’ noncompliance with OSHA regulations. OSHA’s 2017 report of the top 10 safety violations revealed that employers were frequently cited for hazard communication violations. Employers are required to classify chemicals and communicate that information to employees by labeling them and providing data sheets. When employers fail to communicate such information to employees, or when workers fail to heed warnings, it can lead to serious injuries and even fatalities.

Another frequent citation pertains to the control of hazardous energy. In 2017, OSHA issued 2,877 citations for violations, including inadequate worker training and non-completed inspections. Employees may suffer workplace injuries when employers do not adequately train them on how to safely use equipment.

Improperly stored flammable liquids and gases can also cause injury to employees. Improperly labeled or stored hazardous chemicals put workers at risk for toxic chemical exposure, burns, and other injuries.

Philadelphia Work Injury Lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Handle Workers’ Compensation Claims for Chemical Exposure

If you suffered injuries due to exposure to chemicals in the workplace, contact a Philadelphia work injury lawyer at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Our knowledgeable attorneys represent clients in Berks CountyBucks CountyChester CountyDelaware CountyMontgomery CountyPhiladelphia County, and throughout Pennsylvania. For a free consultation, call us at 888-PITT-LAW or complete our online contact form.

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