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Work accident: Explosions at aluminum plant cause injuries

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration had not even completed an investigation of an accident in late June when it was called back to the premises of an aluminum plant in southeast Missouri. The work accident in June involved a worker who suffered serious burn injuries. Explosions rocked the same plant in a recent Tuesday, prompting OSHA to open another investigation.

OSHA suspects that the explosions occurred when molten aluminum came into contact with water. Fortunately, no critical injuries were reported. One worker reportedly suffered from smoke inhalation, and 32 others were treated for throat and eye irritations. Some victims reported ringing in their ears, which is not uncommon after an explosion and could have long lasting effects.

OSHA reported that the building in which the explosions occurred is used for producing extrusion billet – a length of cylindrical metal. That building was apparently destroyed, but no damage was caused to other buildings. The OSHA investigation will not be completed for some time. One focus will be whether there were any safety violations in connection with the life-threatening explosions.

Missouri workers who have suffered a work accident may pursue compensation. This is done by filing workers' compensation benefit claims for medical expenses and related costs. If the injuries cause absence from work, a percentage of the injured worker's average income may be paid as compensation for lost wages. In cases of injuries that cause temporary or permanent disability, such as hearing loss after an explosion in the workplace, additional benefits may be available to the affected workers.

Source: toledoblade.com, "Federal agency says 33 injured in Missouri plant explosion", Aug. 5, 2015

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