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Two Workers Burned at an Industrial Plant Explosion In Conroe Last Thursday

Posted on Friday, February 1st, 2019 at 11:03 am    

Chemical Plant Explosion

Two workers were severely burned in an electrical malfunction which caused a fire at Aegion Coating Services, an industrial plant in Conroe, TX on Thursday.

Emergency personnel from the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue responded to the fire that started at an industrial plant in Conroe. Two workers that were performing repairs on an electrical panel suffered electrical burns when there was a flash explosion from inside the panel. The exact cause of the explosion and fire is yet to be determined, but it did originate from the related work that was being done on the panel.

According to the Fire Marshal from Montgomery County, interviews will need to be conducted to find out the exact source of the blaze and determine what actions were the root cause. The panel contained high-voltage circuits and supplies current to several large manufacturing machines. A flash fire erupted and burned the personnel in mere seconds. First responders mentioned that the current was typically about 400 volts passing through that panel. Both of the workers were reported to be in stable condition at the Texas Medical Center hospital later in the day.

Industrial Plants Are Major Sources Of Accidents and Injuries

The workplace, and particularly industrial workplaces, can be dangerous. Owners and managers need to pay special attention to incidents that could result in accidents and injuries to their employees. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), is tasked with investigating and preventing workplace accidents in the US., but in no way can they, or do they, prevent tragic workplace accidents.

Several common injuries are simpler to prevent, such as lifting objects that are too heavy or in an improper manner and straining the back or damaging spinal discs that can permanently  disable a worker. In these types of injuries, it’s long-term training of supervisors and employees that help curtail injuries. It’s always better to take a little more time and get the right tools and help when lifting heavy objects.

Fatigue is another problem in the workplace. Breaks are mandatory, whether the employee thinks so or not. It’s important for management to realize that employees that are fatigued are at higher risk and are involved in more accidents.

In an industrial plant such as Aegion Coating Services, there are also plenty of possible toxic gases if any of their flammable coatings catch fire. They specialize in anti-corrosion coatings for pipelines that are sold throughout the world anywhere that oil and gas products are produced or refined.

Preventing fires from spreading in an industrial plant requires a focus on safety. Keeping sources of fires, such as electrical panels, located farther away from flammable liquids and fumes helps keep fires contained to their original sources.

OSHA makes regular visits to all manufacturing facilities and makes sure that exhaust fans, dust collectors, and other safety measures are working, well maintained and inspected.

Welding, Electrical, and Flame Sources Limited

Many fires are caused not by the usual activities of the industrial plant but instead by service workers. These workers are usually third-party contractors that are unaware of flammables and use tools that create what is called “hot work” in prohibited areas. Sometimes the repair work is unavoidable but safety can be increased by limiting exposure to flammable gasses, liquids, and combustible dusts.

The Oil And Gas Industry Experiences and Accidents

While the oil and gas industry has had a steady decline in the number of accidents per year, they are still struggling to become safer for their employees.  Surprisingly, one of the most dangerous parts of the entire industry is driving motor vehicles on the road. Yearly nearly 18% of all deaths in the industry are attributed to motor vehicle accidents on roadways.

And sadly, not wearing seat belts, an easily preventable mistake, is a major reason for deaths on the road. Fatigue while driving is the second most preventable cause of those accidents and could be prevented with more breaks, less time pressure, and other fatigue countermeasures that are being studied.

Other accidents that happen on oil rigs, both onshore and offshore, have been reduced in recent years due to heavy use of machines that do much of the heavy lifting, plus more safety requirements to reduce exposure to hazardous conditions. As the industry gets more automated, with fewer workers and more machines, there should be a continued decline in accidents and injuries.

Hurt in an Industrial-Related Accident? We Can Help

The lawyers at Williams Hart have been handling explosion accident injuries in Houston, Texas and nationwide for years. We also handle cases such as car/truck accidents, wrongful death, and work injuries. Visit our office today or call (713) 230-2200 for a free consultation.

Industrial Accident Kills Canon Steel Employee

Posted on Thursday, January 31st, 2019 at 6:58 am    

Industrial Accident Kills Canon Steel EmployeeOn January 23rd a tragedy occurred when an employee at Canon Steel was fatally hit by a falling steel beam. The worker was later identified as 28-year-old Jonathan Burkett. The accident happened inside the loading area of the company located off Highway 64 in Smith County, TX. Burkett was unloading a flatbed trailer when one of the beams suddenly came loose and crashed onto his head.

Texans Injured By Work-Related Incidents Often Go Unreported

Across the great state of Texas, numerous work-related accidents happen and many of them go unreported. Construction workers fall from scaffolding, truck drivers are injured in accidents, and factory workers get their hands caught in a belt or have heavy items fall on their heads.

For a variety of reasons these injuries are either not documented at all or documentation on them is poorly reported. In large part, if the injury goes unreported then it’s as if it never happened. Because of this, there’s really no way of knowing just how many employees are actually hurt every year across the state.

Properly Documenting Work-Related Accidents Is About More Than Just Scorekeeping

The way a company documents incidents can play a large role in how the employee is compensated and cared for as well as how employers, insurance companies, and the State can identify safety risks and ways to improve working conditions. When a company has a policy of poorly documenting these work-related accidents, it means their employees may not get the medical care they need and they may not fall into the safety net that is supposed to be there for workplace injuries.

A report put out by the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) suggests that as many as 40% of workers that would be eligible to receive compensation fail to file a claim. In fact, there are other studies that have concluded that the majority of injuries that happen at work are not properly recorded by employers. This means that there is really no way of knowing how many of these accidents happen and under what circumstances. It also means it’s unlikely that work conditions will improve or that employees are fairly compensated.

When an injury is properly treated and cared for it can often be fully remedied. But when an employee goes without proper medical attention, and when needed, time off from work to heal, then the pain from the injury can be prolonged for months and even years. This means that even though the person could have fully recovered and went on to be fine, they end up living a life of struggles and pain.

Why Do Work-Related Injuries Go Unreported?

For obvious reasons, companies want to minimize the number of injuries that happen in the workplace. But as much as the average person may think it’s companies trying to hide injuries, that is not the only reason that they go unreported. Employees who work in jobs that tend to be grueling such as construction or trucking may be hesitant to report an injury for fear that they may miss work which would reduce their pay or they may be afraid of retaliation from management.

Law requires companies to report incidents that lead an employee to miss a day or more from work. They also must document the incident and report it to their insurance company. Typically an employee has 30 days to report their injury if they want it to be covered under the company’s insurance.

Two Courses Of Action Families Of Those Injured Or Killed At Work In Texas Can Take

If an employee is killed at work and the company doesn’t carry worker’s compensation, the family can petition a wrongful death suit against that company. If it can be proven the death was caused by negligence on the part of the employer, then they can win their case. The difficulty is the fact that it would need to be proved through providing substantial evidence. This is often made more challenging because employers are not going to readily make evidence available.

Most legitimate companies in the state of Texas will carry workman’s compensation. When this is the case, the family who has lost a loved one in a work-related death will get compensated. The one drawback that families have is that receiving compensation through workman’s comp means they can’t sue the company. For some families, this is difficult because it means that even if the company was at fault they will not be held accountable in a court of law.

Get Justice for Your Loved One

The death of Jonathan Burkett is truly a tragedy. A twenty-eight-year-old hard-working man killed in the prime of his life. They pronounced him dead at the scene. There was no chance to save him.

If you have a loved one who died or was injured in the workplace, the lawyers at Williams Hart are here to help. Our work injury attorneys in Texas have been helping families since 1983, and they’re ready to take on your case. Visit our office today or call us at (888) 220-0640 for a free consultation.

Worker Suffers Severe Burns By Ammonia at a Beef Processing Plant in Nebraska

Posted on Thursday, January 31st, 2019 at 6:46 am    


A Noah’s Ark Processors LLC employee in Hastings, Nebraska suffered severe burns following his exposure to anhydrous ammonia earlier this month. Now, the company is facing citations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The company has been slapped with $182,926 in penalties for 16 serious safety violations.

The company was penalized for their process safety management program deficiencies, unguarded roof openings, and electrical safety and lockout/tagout violations.

Omaha area OSHA director, Jeff Funke said, “When employers fail to properly document procedures and control highly hazardous chemicals, there is the potential for unintentional releases that can result in serious and fatal injuries. By implementing and sustaining workplace safety and health programs, employers can monitor their processes to ensure safeguards are in place to protect workers.”

Noah’s Ark Processors LLC’s Next Move

Following the accident and OSHA’s citations, OSHA has given the company 15 business days from the receipt of the citations and penalties to either comply, request an informal conference with the area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Under the Occupation Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible to provide safe and healthy workplaces for their employees. The role of OSHA is to ensure that these standards are being met as well as enforcing standards, providing training, education, and assistance.

Anhydrous Ammonia

Typically known as an effective industrial cleaner, anhydrous ammonia is so strong that it can make industrial metal shine and remove strains of harmful bacteria. It is the gas of a compressed liquid form of ammonia that doesn’t contain water. It is made up of nitrogen and three parts of hydrogen. You may have smelled it at home as most household cleaning products contain ammonia.

While anhydrous ammonia is a very useful chemical, using it requires extreme caution. This is because the ammonia can cause physiological damage and it can even lead to deadly explosions.

Keeping Safe With Anhydrous Ammonia

For individuals who use anhydrous ammonia at home, it is essential to use gloves and goggles when working with it.

In the case of the victim of Noah’s Ark Processors LLC, they are probably using stronger concentrations of ammonia as it is used in an industrial setting. Stronger concentrations may cause severe burns and fatal respiratory issues. That is why in this type of setting, proper personal protective equipment is a must.

Types of Burn Injuries

There are four main types of burns:

  • Thermal
  • Light
  • Chemical
  • Radiation

When it comes to the severity of the burn, there are three categories:

  • First-degree burns – this is when only the top layer of the skin is damaged.
  • Second-degree burns – this is when the burn damage goes beyond the top layer of skin.
  • Third-degree burns – this is the worst type of burn wherein the damage goes all the way through all the layers of skin, affecting the organs and bones.

Dealing With Burn Injuries

If you or your loved one has suffered from burn injuries in the workplace, having good legal representation will help you get the compensation you deserve.

Here at Williams Hart, we understand how difficult it is for you to recover from burn injuries. That is why we have experienced personal injury attorneys to handle fire and burn litigation. This type of litigation is complex and it can be difficult to prove negligence without a thorough investigation by an experienced team of legal professionals. That’s what we are here for.

Our firm will help you get the full compensation that you deserve to ensure a fair and full recovery. Some of the compensation that we can get for you are damages for all medical expenses, lost wages, the ability to earn future wages, and qualitative damages such as trauma, pain and suffering.

With us, you can guarantee that you will be in good hands. We have a team of attorneys and professionals ready to work on your case. Call us today for a free consultation!

Have you or a loved one been injured in an accident?

Contact us today at (888) 220-0640 to get a free, confidential case evaluation.