Fire and substances that can cause explosions are a constant presence at New York and New Jersey construction sites. Fires and explosions can kill, of course, but even in less destructive incidents, the force of an explosion can cause severe harm, and burns are among the worst injuries a person can suffer.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there was a 65 percent increase from 2009 to 2010 in the number of fatal work injuries resulting from fires and explosions in the United States. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) addresses fire safety in the construction industry with standards for fire prevention and use of hazardous materials. OSHA has specific standards for welding, cutting and brazing.
When safety rules are ignored and workers are injured or killed, those who neglected the safety regulations should be held accountable for the workers’ losses, pain and suffering.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a fire or an explosion at a New York or New Jersey construction site, you need to talk to a construction injury lawyer at the Ginarte law firm today. Call now for a free consultation at 888-GINARTE (446-2783), or fill out our online contact form.
The Risk of Fire and Explosions at NY / NJ Construction Sites
The mix of flammable gases, chemicals, heat sources, sparks and even open flames at a construction site creates a potentially deadly environment. The risk of fire and explosion is one that thousands of New York and New Jersey construction workers are exposed to every day. The risk is acceptable in part because regulations implemented by OSHA as well as NY labor laws and the NY Industrial Code impose numerous restrictions for fire safety at all construction sites.
Regulations cover the presence of firefighting equipment (fire extinguishers and sprinkler systems, for example) and the development of fire escape plans. OSHA has rules for storing and using dangerous liquids, gases and pressurized containers to reduce the chance of fire and/or explosion.
OSHA also requires employers to provide personal protective equipment (PPE), including respirators, to employees who come in contact with certain fire or explosion hazards. Employers are also required to train employees in the safe handling and use of flammable liquids, gases or toxic materials. They must ensure employees are made aware of the potential hazards, personal hygiene and personal protective measures required for their safety.
In a fire, most victims die from smoke or toxic gas inhalation, not from burns, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Thermal burns caused by contact with flames can result in serious tissue damage that, if deep enough, can be fatal. Inhaling smoke and toxic gas can cause immediate asphyxiation and death or scarring of the lungs that can cause difficulty breathing.
Explosions can cause damage to the ears (ruptured eardrum or “tympanic membrane perforation,” TMP); blunt or penetration trauma injuries from flying debris or from being thrown by the blast; fractures and amputations of limbs; and other harms, such as crush injuries, burns, asphyxia and toxic exposure.
Fires and explosions at construction sites are usually the result of violations of safety rules. These incidents are made worse when a construction site lacks easy escape routes or access to firefighting equipment. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that of the 187 worksite fatalities in 2010 involving fires and explosions, 82 occurred in multiple-fatality incidents.
When fire safety plans and firefighting equipment are not in place or do not function properly, or when flammable materials are not stored or handled properly because workers have not been trained, injury and death can follow. In incidents of deadly construction site fires and explosions, those who neglected safety regulations should be held liable for workers’ losses, pain and suffering.
People who suffer serious burns or other fire-related injuries often need years of expensive treatment. Medical and rehabilitation bills and other losses combining to exceed seven figures are not uncommon. Although workers’ compensation benefits often help, they usually will not be enough. Many times burn injuries prevent a construction worker from ever earning a living again.
NJ / NY Construction Workers Face Fire Hazards
Fires and explosions are a risk at just about any construction site in New York or New Jersey. But some workers deal directly with flammable substances, fire sources or electricity. These high-risk trades include:
- Welders and cutters
- Heavy equipment operators
- General laborers and helpers
- Demolition workers
An NY / NJ construction accident attorney at the Ginarte law firm can help you recover compensation for your expenses and other losses if you have been hurt in a fire or explosion as part of your employment in any capacity on a construction site.
Contact Our NY / NJ Construction Fire / Explosion Injury Lawyers Today
If you have been hurt in a fire or explosion at a construction site, the NY / NJ construction accident lawyers at the Ginarte law firm can help you recover compensation for your injuries and losses. We have 28 attorneys ready to help you with your construction accident claim.
Contact a Ginarte law firm construction accident attorney for a free consultation at 888-GINARTE (446-2783), or fill out our online contact form. We are one of the largest firms handling construction accident cases in the NY / NJ metro area. We know what it takes to get you the money you need for your injuries. We collect fees only if you win your case.