In Atlanta and other cities throughout the United States, gas pipes run under the ground to connect residential and commercial buildings to natural gas. Unfortunately, in many cities, maps and information on the location of gas lines may not be available or accurate. Information can become outdated or lost, and workers are left with limited guidance in determining how to dig safely to perform construction work while avoiding hitting a gas line.
If workers do hit a gas line, the consequences can be immediate and sometimes deadly. Injured victims harmed by an incident with a gas line on a construction site should consult with an Atlanta workers' compensation lawyer. Victims should get their medical bills covered, including treatment of burn injuries, and should also be entitled to disability benefits when injuries or illnesses occur after a gas line accident.
Gas Line Incidents Can Lead to Atlanta Workers' Comp Claims
Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 14,120 workers got hurt due to thermal burns in 2014, with the median time away from work after a burn reaching five days. Many workers also lost their lives as a result of severe burns or other injury due to fire.
Too often, construction workers are put at risk of severe burns and other fire-related injuries because of inaccurate information on gas lines. Just in recent months alone, there have been multiple news stories on worksites about problems with gas lines. For example:
- New York Post reported on an incident in which 40 workers were on site when a drilling rig hit a high pressure gas line and caused a two-alarm fire. The workers luckily smelled gas and got away quickly, while the gas line erupted into a "geyser of flameand the drilling rig quickly went ablaze. The fire burned so hot, nearby factory windows melted- but only one worker was hurt because the workers fled quickly. Not all workers are so lucky.
- CBS reported on another incident in which a gas line was hit by workers in Ft. Worth. One of the workers in this case suffered burns to the hands.
- KQED reported a government contractor had to be fired from work being performed- which is very unusual- as a result of five separate situations in which the company breached gas distribution lines. While no one was hurt, each time the gas lines were damaged, people had gas service cut off and those around the punctured lines were in danger of illness or serious injury due to the threat of breathing in gas or being caught in a gas explosion.
While these incidents didn't result in deaths, gas line incidents can and do lead to fatalities. New York Times, for example, reported on a 2014 fire which killed eight and which occurred because of a large gas line crack.
Any worker who is harmed because of exposure to gas or any gas-related incident at work needs to understand his rights, especially in light of how common incidents are related to gas line damage. Workers who get hurt or those whose loved ones are killed need to be aggressive in getting their benefits claim for burn injuries and other damages.
The Atlanta workplace accident lawyers at Van Sant Law, LLC can represent employees or their families after a workplace injury or death. Call today at 404-991-5950 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.