A serious accident involving explosions at a manufacturing plant in Peterborough, New Hampshire, has renewed questions about industrial safety and may prompt new governmental scrutiny of these businesses. On February 10, 2014, 13 people were hurt at New Hampshire Ball Bearings, Inc. after two explosions occurred in the chemical mixing part of the plant. Two employees were in critical condition after the blasts, which could be felt up to one quarter of a mile from the scene of the accident. The New Hampshire State Police department and agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are currently investigating the industrial explosions. A spokesperson for New Hampshire Ball Bearings attributed the accident to unspecified "in-house issues." Legal Options for Victims Although the root causes of the explosions at the New Hampshire plant are not yet known, medical bills and expenses for the victims of this accident are likely to be extensive. For the injured parties and their families, seeking compensation for their losses with the help of a qualified industrial explosion attorney can help in managing the costs of medical treatment and in dealing with lost wages and missed time at work. The funds received through a settlement can provide much-needed breathing room for families dealing with the aftermath of an industrial accident and can allow greater flexibility in treatment options during the recovery process. Problems throughout the Industrial Environment The chemical plant explosion in Peterborough is just the most recent in a series of industrial accidents in the U.S. and Canada. These incidents may be symptomatic of a larger problem:
- The West Fertilizer Company explosions on April 17, 2013, injured more than 160 people and killed 14, making it one of the worst industrial accidents in the history of U.S. manufacturing.
- A November 8, 2012, accident at the Neptune Technologies and Bioresources healthcare manufacturing plant in Sherbrooke, Quebec, injured 19 and claimed the lives of two people.
- Port Wentworth, Georgia, was the site of the Imperial Sugar refinery explosion on February 7, 2008, that killed 13 people and injured 42 more.
- Five people died and 27 people were hurt in a large-scale explosion at the Kleen Energy Systems plant in Middletown, Connecticut. The explosion occurred on February 7, 2010, during a test of the gas and oil-fired power systems prior to the opening of the plant.
- The Texas City Refinery explosion on March 23, 2005, is widely regarded as a watershed event in the energy industry. This tragic accident injured more than 100 people and took the lives of 15. BP eventually admitted that its processing methods were at least partially responsible for the accident.
Official records show that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) had received at least two complaints regarding safety at the Peterborough manufacturing plant in the 10 years prior to the February 10th accident. Many of the facilities involved in major accidents had also been the subjects of OSHA investigations regarding plant safety conditions prior to these tragic events. Endemic Neglect of Safety Issues Although OSHA regulations outline the required safety measures and procedures for industrial plants, many manufacturing companies still fail to maintain a safe working environment for their workers. Pursuing legal action against these companies can provide added incentives for manufacturing concerns to upgrade their safety programs and improve working conditions for their employees. By bringing financial pressure to bear on these corporate enterprises, victims of industrial explosions can potentially reduce the risk of similar incidents in the future. Consulting a personal injury attorney with experience in industrial explosions can help families and victims ensure the most appropriate settlement for pain and suffering, medical expenses and other costs associated with the accident. This can provide added peace of mind for victims and can promote a safer workplace for others in the industrial environment.