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Factory explosion results in 2 deaths, 10 injuries

Georgia workers may have heard that a factory explosion in Omaha, Nebraska, claimed the lives of at least two workers and injured at least 10 others. Recovery efforts continued the day after the Jan. 20 blast that twisted a portion of the International Nutrition factory building into an unstable, dangerous wreck. Reports indicate that the second and third floors collapsed onto the lower floor after the explosion damaged supports that were among the key structural elements.

Thirty-eight employees were said to be in the building when the work accident occurred, leaving the employees with no lights as they attempted to exit the building. Responding to the explosion, 50 firefighters worked to free those who were trapped inside the collapsed building. According to news reports, one of the trapped workers sent a text message to his fiancée, telling her that he was hurt and trapped inside. Although he and nine others were later rescued, several suffered serious injuries.

At the time of the report, investigators had not yet been able to determine what caused the explosion, and the investigation could go on for several weeks, according to the Omaha interim fire chief. The factory produces products that are added to poultry and livestock feed for nutritional purposes. No hazardous chemicals were discovered at the plant. One of the main obstacles hindering the rescue efforts was the large amount of concrete and steel that lay in the way.

Although preliminary reports did not list a cause for the accident, factory explosions sometimes result from a violation of safety policies and operating procedures. Although the company declined to comment, records show that International Nutrition allegedly had six serious safety violations in 2012. If safety violations caused the explosion, the employees might be able to decline standard workers' compensation benefits and instead file lawsuits for their injuries.

Source: ABC News, "Recovery Efforts Continue After Omaha Plant Exploded, Killing 2, Injuring 10", Clayton Sandell, January 21, 2014

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