Industrial and Workplace Burns
Trusted Savannah and Atlanta Injury Lawyers for Industrial and Workplace Burn Cases
Handling complex cases involving leaks, explosions, and other dangerous electrical and chemical fires throughout Georgia
Chemical leaks and explosions are rarely the result of a single cause. More often, a chain of failures on the part of owners, management and contractors leads to disaster. Dust buildup, poorly maintained machinery, faulty equipment and negligent management at plants, factories and refineries have resulted in massive burn injuries and deaths. When workplace fires happen, the fire can quickly spread causing multiple deaths and leaving many workers with serious burn injuries.
At Harris Lowry Manton LLP, our Atlanta and Savannah burn injury attorneys are experienced at handling the full range of complexities. We have obtained multi-million verdicts in numerous product liability and negligence cases. Our legal team works with a network of leading engineers, product safety experts, and workplace professionals who are skilled at determining how explosions and fires happen and who is responsible.
Causes of fires and explosions on an industrial worksite
Industrial fires and explosions are among the most dangerous there are. Not only do they pose an immediate threat to the workers and visitors on-site, but toxic chemicals can leak into the ground water or enter the air, causing irreparable damage to people outside of the immediate area. Fires at refineries and chemical plants are especially dangerous.
Causes of these explosions may include:
- Poor machinery maintenance
- Dangerous, defective, and out of date equipment
- Boilers that are not properly inspected
- Cigarette smoking
- Improper use of chemicals
- Improper training of employees on how to use equipment
What you should know about worksite electrical burns in Georgia
While most people think first of fires when they hear the word “burn injury,” industrial and construction workers are at serious risk of electrical burns, too. Electrical burns can do damage to your body from the inside out, so proper medical care is critical and necessary immediately after an event.
Per the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, there are three types of burns caused by electricity: electrical burns, arc burns, and thermal contact burns.
Electrical burns occur when you touch wiring or equipment that works as a conductor of the electricity. These are incredibly serious injuries – usually to the hands – and you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Touching electrical wiring can also lead to electrocution, which is fatal.
Arc burns are the result of arcing – “the luminous electrical discharge (bright, electrical sparking) through the air that occurs when high voltages exist across a gap between conductors.” Equipment that fails, is used improperly, or has a defect is likely to cause an arc blast.
Thermal burns occur when you touch something hot: a fire, a liquid (called a scald), steam, or an arc blast.
Chemical burn injuries on Georgia worksites
There are caustic chemicals almost everywhere you look – including under your own kitchen sink. You can find them in your local restaurants, in your doctor’s office, and on job sites around the state. If you work at a company like Shire or H.B. Fuller, you would expect to see toxic materials. What you might not have realized is how many of them are on-site at local construction companies, auto mechanics, trucking companies and the local print shop, too.
A chemical burn occurs when your skin is exposed to caustic substances. It is possible to experience only minor irritation, but some chemicals can quickly penetrate through skin and tissue, right down to the bone. If chemicals spill, you are also at risk of inhaling these caustic contaminants, which could cause serious internal damage to your lungs, windpipe, mouth and esophagus. Under certain circumstances, a chemical burn could also cost you your sight.
Why these cases are so complex
Some of the many complexities in these extremely complicated fire cases are:
- Many workers are often injured or killed. In some cases, a class action lawsuit may be the best option. In other cases, each injured victim needs to have unique representation. When a worker is killed in a fiery explosion, the family members also have the right to demand wrongful death benefits.
- There are often many defendants. Multiple workers, maintenance crews, vendors, and others all may have contributed to the fire.
- There are many different laws that need to be reviewed. Worksites must comply with numerous federal rules and regulations such as standards enacted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Companies also must adhere to various state-wide and local building codes, as well as labor laws.
- Not all of the victims were employees. When an incident occurs in an industrial setting that affects non-employees – such as contractors, site visitors, or even local residents – the litigation is necessarily more complex.
Some additional complexities including determining exactly what happened and which court, a state or federal court, should hear the case. Additionally, there may be many different liability claims. Generally, our Atlanta, GA burn injury lawyers bring claims on the following grounds:
- Product liability for design, manufacturing, and marketing defects.
- Negligence, carelessness and recklessness
- Breach of express and implied warranties
The theory of liability can determine who is at fault and what damages including any civil penalties can be paid. Often, in extremely severe and deadly workplace fire cases, our lawyers need to work with federal, state and local law enforcement.
Treatment of burn injuries in Georgia
Burns are classified as first, second, third or fourth-degree burns, depending on whether there are blisters, swelling, how deep the burns penetrate the skin, nerve destruction, and the level of pain. First-degree burns often heal in weeks. More serious burns require medical care or surgery. In the worst cases, a limb may need to be amputated. All burns carry a risk of infection, hypothermia, low blood volume, and bone and joint problems. Untreated infections can result in sepsis, organ failure and death.
In Georgia, almost any hospital or ER is prepared to treat first and some second-degree burns. For burns covering large part of the body, or for more severe third- and fourth-degree burns, you will likely be sent for treatment to:
- Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta, Georgia
- Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia
Contact a reliable Georgia burn injury lawyer today
At Harris Lowry Manton LLP, we understand how devastating and life-altering a workplace fire or explosion can be. There’s no way to fully value the loss of a loved one. Burn injuries often last a lifetime changing the victim’s ability to enjoy life. Many employees are unable to work again. If you were injured or a loved one died in an industrial or workplace fire or explosion, please call us in Atlanta at 404.998.8847 or at 912.417.3774 in Savannah to schedule a free appointment. You can also reach our Georgia burn injury attorneys through our contact form.