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Explosion sends 5 workers to hospital, sparks OSHA investigation

On-the-job injuries can have very severe repercussions. A work injury can be devastating for a family both emotionally and financially, so it is important for employees to know their legal rights under Maryland state law.

A recent series of explosions at a propane company in the southeastern United States sent at least eight workers to the hospital, five of them in critical condition, because of their injuries. The plant refurbished propane gas tanks and refilled them to sell again. There were over 50,000 of these tanks at the plant and most of those were ignited during the explosions. The cause of the work accident is under investigation and OSHA is also investigating.

An employee who suffers a work injury in an on-the-job accident is usually eligible for workers' compensation. Workers' compensation laws exist to make sure employees are compensated for their losses without having to litigate claims against their employers. Workers' compensation typically covers medical expenses from the injury, replacement income, retraining expenses, compensation for permanent injuries and benefits to survivors for workers killed on the job.

When an employee accepts workers' compensation, typically that employee cannot also file a lawsuit against the employer. But for those injured on the job, there may be additional compensation available in civil court for third-party claims, such as equipment manufacturers.

Seeking advice from a legal professional skilled in workers compensation may be a good idea for people injured at work. It is important to know what legal rights are available in these unfortunate circumstances.

Source: Baltimore Sun, "Florida gas tank draining after Tavares blasts; 5 in critical condition," Amy Pavuk and Stephen Hudak, July 30, 2013

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