On Thursday afternoon, an explosion at the North Andover Dow Chemical facility injured five workers, four critically. State and federal officials are investigating the explosion, which took place in a chemical lab at the plant. As a precautionary measure, the state’s bomb squad will be detonating chemicals that may have injured the workers. In addition, the facility is being secured by emergency personnel to ensure that safety requirements are being followed. The official cause of the explosion is still unknown. Contact a Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today.
Four of the injured workers were hospitalized and one was treated at the scene for minor injuries. According to staff at Lawrence General Hospital, the critically injured workers are suffering from burns and shrapnel injuries. The burns appear to have been caused by a dangerous chemical called trimethylaluminum, a key component in LED lights, of which Dow is a manufacturer. More commonly known as trimethyl aluminum, the colorless liquid is highly flammable and reactive, and it is considered to be an explosion hazard.
No Atmospheric Release of Chemicals
Three of the four critically injured patients were airlifted to Boston hospitals after being initially transported to Lawrence General Hospital. Although the official cause of the explosion is unknown, it is believed that the chemical responsible for the patients’ burns, trimethylaluminum, may have been exposed to water, resulting in an explosive reaction. According to North Andover Town Manager, Andrew Mayor, there was never any risk to people in the surrounding area because there was no atmospheric release of the chemicals. Furthermore, following the explosion, patients and firefighters who responded to the scene were decontaminated. According to State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan, it is too early to determine if human error contributed to the explosion.
Similar Incident in 2013 Killed One Worker
This isn’t the North Andover Dow facility’s first explosion. In 2013, a fatal explosion occurred when a pyrophoric chemical called Trimethylindium was exposed to the air. A 51-year-old Peabody man, a worker at the plant, was killed. Fire equipment had to be decontaminated in that incident as well. Thursday’s incident and the explosion in 2013 do not appear to be linked in any way. In addition to the ongoing investigation into the cause of Thursday’s explosion, there will also be a forensic review to ensure that the facility is compliant with safety and regulatory codes. In addition to the injuries to workers, the explosion caused significant damage to the building, but it remains structurally sound.
Altman & Altman, LLP – Workers’ Compensation Law Firm Serving All of Massachusetts
If you have been injured in any type of work-related accident, the experienced, knowledgeable team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help you navigate the workers’ compensation process. Although most on-the-job injuries are covered by workers’ comp benefits, applying is often a long, drawn-out process and it can be held up by mistakes on the application. In addition, it is common for workers to get less benefits than they are entitled to because of inaccurate information. Beyond that, if negligence played a role in your injuries, you may be entitled to additional compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more. Don’t go through this alone. Contact the skilled workers’ comp team at Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free consultation about your case.