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Tillman & Associates, Attorneys at Law

Gross negligence may be behind chemical plant injury

Georgia residents may have heard that the family of a chemical plant worker who was seriously injured on the job in a chemical burn accident and later died after surgery is seeking compensation in court. The plant worker suffered from chemical burns on 65 percent of his body after the explosion of an ammonia recycling unit in the plant. He was brought into surgery, but infections soon lead to further illness, and he ultimately expired due to the injuries from the work accident.

The family of the chemical plant worker alleges that they heard one of the worker's supervisors, a chemical engineer, insist to a doctor that the materials that the employee was working with were non-caustic and not any different from hot water. However, the family also alleges that they heard the doctor reply that the chemical that the worker had come in with definitely was a caustic material.

OSHA investigators have stated that they will focus on inspecting plants as a form of preventative maintenance. However, this will also tie up investigators and leave fewer available to investigate incidents that actually occur, such as the incident that claimed the life of the chemical plant worker.

The family of the deceased worker believes that his accident was caused by gross negligence. They may pursue a wrongful death claim against the company with the help of a workers' compensation attorney on the basis that stronger security standards may have been able to prevent the death of the worker. However, this would require an investigation to support those allegations. It may be that the case does not involve negligence and is a workers' compensation case. Workers' compensation, if accompanied by death benefits, may pay for the funeral and other expenses along with compensation for a case in which a worker was killed on the job.

Source: Houston Press, "Chemically burner: Dow Chemical tries to avoid hot water in worker's death", Dianna Wray, June 13, 2013

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