In many of our daily lives we are around products and materials that present a risk for an explosion to happen. While explosion accidents may be rare, unfortunately they do happen and the injuries they cause can be catastrophic. In 2018 accidents from explosions made up 4.5% of all fatal workplace accidents. Explosion accidents can occur in many different places ranging from the different workplaces such as an oil refinery, chemical plant, or oil pipeline. Because explosions are a real risk many of us face in our everyday lives it is important to understand who is liable for these accidents and who you can sue in the event you are a victim of one.
Who is Liable for Explosions in the Workplace?
The legal aspects of an explosion in the workplace can be complicated because who exactly is liable may not be clear. In an industrial setting there are many parties, which may be liable for explosion accidents. Whoever is liable for an accident is who an injured party will have a claim against in a lawsuit. The key to understanding who is liable is which party’s negligence was the result of an explosion. There are many OHSA safety standards in place that regulate procedures to prevent explosions. Some of these regulations apply to the standard of training employee’s need to receive before starting the job, the handling of hazardous chemicals, proper maintenance of combustion engines, and proper wiring to prevent sparks that could lead to combustion. Because different parties can have a role in overseeing these safety standards different parties may be held liable in the case of an explosion.
When it comes to explosions in the workplace business will have insurance that will cover them in the event of an accident. But there may be many different companies involved in a single industrial setting so it is important to understand who will be the party targeted in a lawsuit.
When Industrial Property Owners Are Liable for an Explosion
The owner of the location where the explosion happened may be liable as the explosion occurred on their property and they have a role in making sure their property is safe for work.
When the Company Responsible for Day to Day Operation is Liable For an Explosion
But in some cases there may be a separate company, which is responsible for overseeing day to day operation in the plant and it is actually their negligence which resulted in an explosion and as such they will be the party that is liable in a lawsuit.
When a Third Party Contractor is Liable for an Explosion
Also third party contractors are common to bring in in an industrial setting. An example of this would be an electrical company which is responsible for the wiring in a plant. If the work they did was not up to OHSA standards and as a result an explosion accident happened they would be liable.
When an Equipment Manufacturer is Liable for an Explosion
The final party one may look to sue for an explosion is an equipment manufacturer. Many different types of equipment are brought into a workplace and problems with this equipment may lead to accidents. Lawsuits which are the result of defective products are called product defect claims. The manufacturer of a product is liable for an explosion in three cases: if the product had a design defect, if the product had a manufacturing defect, or if the product had a marketing defect. A design defect is when the planning of the initial product makes it inherently unsafe. A manufacturing defect is when something goes wrong in the manufacturing process that makes the product inherently unsafe. A marketing defect is when the instructions from the creator of the product do not give proper directions on how to use the product and because of this accidents are likely to occur.