Definition and Characteristics of Industrial Accidents

Thousands of workers die every year because of unsafe working conditions, and even more deaths occur every year due to work-related illnesses like cancer. In addition, industrial accidents cause countless injuries with varying degrees of severity. Nobody ever plans or schedules accidents, but most people can help prevent accidents by using common sense and caution. Industrial accidents like petrochemical plant accidents can obviously harm workers at the job sites, but they can also cause great damage to the surrounding area and the environment as well. When chemical plant accidents cause harmful substances to pollute the air, people even miles away from the site may suffer from the consequences. Infrastructure failures, dangerous procedures and certain human actions have the potential to cause technological hazards in industrial environments, which can even lead to wrongful death in industrial accidents.

Industrial Disaster Definition

To understand the term “industrial disaster” it’s helpful to first define the term “industrial accident.” When an industrial worker is injured or killed on the job, or an industrial company causes an accident that harms one or more people, the incident is typically referred to as an industrial accident. When one of these accidents harms a large group of people, it may be referred to as an industrial disaster. Two recent examples of industrial disasters in Texas include:

  • The 2013 West Fertilizer Company explosion, which killed 15 people and injured 160 in the town of West, Texas.
  • The 2005 Texas City Refinery explosion, which killed 15 people and injured more than 170.

Most industrial accidents are based on negligence, which means most of them are also largely preventable. By ensuring a safe work environment, adequate training and supervision, and proper maintenance of equipment, the risk of serious injury and death in an industrial accident drops dramatically. If you or a loved one has been injured in an industrial accident, contact an experienced Texas work injury lawyer today.

How Do Industrial Accidents Occur?

Industrial disasters can occur because of accidents, incompetence or negligence and may cause property damage, injury or loss of life. In addition, those hazards may degrade the environment and disrupt society and the economy. Industrial accidents, also known as technological disasters, are non-natural calamities and include a variety of occurrences.

Types of Industrial Accidents

The following types of accidents fall under the category of industrial accidents:

Accidental Release – Hazardous chemical substances accidentally released during their production, handling or transportation endanger anyone near the release site.

Acid Rain – Chemical pollutants like nitrogen compounds and sulfur can cause ecological and agricultural damage by raising the level of acidity in the soil and water. When the atmosphere holds an acute concentration of acidic compounds, a washout results in acid rain, which deposits the compounds in the soil and water.

Atmospheric Pollution – Nuclear explosions, chemicals, burning artificial or natural fuels and other industrial practices can produce large amounts of radiation, solids and gases that contaminate the atmosphere and endanger those who live or work in the area.

Chemical Explosion: The forceful explosion of combustible materials usually involves chemicals and typically causes injuries, loss of life and great destruction of property.

Chemical Pollution – Permanent skin damage and internal bodily disorders can occur after chemicals suddenly pollute the air or water at or near industrial areas.

Explosion – A disaster classified as an explosion occurs if the explosion is actually the disaster. An event classified as a resulting disaster occurs if an explosion causes another disaster.

Mine Explosion – Coal dust or natural gas can react with the air and cause accidental explosions.

Nuclear Explosion or Radiation – International laws establish the levels of radiation allowable in civil facilities to maintain safety, and the accidental release of radiation can cause higher levels that exceed the safety standards.

Pollution – Synthetic products or other debris as well as mishandling environmental or natural resources can create noxious biological, chemical or industrial wastes that degrade one or more environmental aspects.

A petrochemical plant accident or a chemical plant accident can be particularly disastrous because exposure to dangerous chemicals may cause injuries that are not immediately apparent. Delaying diagnosis and treatment of injuries may make them harder to treat and increase their severity. People exposed to chemicals or radiation may require prolonged treatment for their physical injuries as well as psychological support to help them deal with the emotional trauma they may experience because of an accident.

Causes of Industrial Accidents

Most industrial accidents are caused by unsafe conditions, which is another way of saying, they should have never happened in the first place. The most common causes of industrial accidents include:

  • Improper training and supervision;
  • Careless operation;
  • Inadequate personal safety gear;
  • Defective or malfunctioning equipment;
  • Unsafe storage;
  • Poor house-keeping;
  • Improper ventilation;
  • Dangerous working conditions, such as slippery floors and excessive heat;
  • Poor maintenance of equipment;
  • Poorly-guarded equipment; and
  • Insufficient lighting.

The above scenarios are frequently linked to industrial accidents and disasters. Workers who abuse drugs or alcohol, or who are fatigued due to being overworked or working the night shift, also contribute to these accidents.

In Texas, most industrial accidents occur in one of two industries—agriculture and oil. This is because there are more farms in TX than in any other state, and the Lone Star state is the largest domestic producer of oil. From electrical accidents and being crushed by or caught-in heavy machinery, to oil spills, explosions, and chemical fires, industrial accidents in Texas can have devastating consequences for industrial workers, the public, and the environment. Contact Burwell Nebout Trial Lawyers today if you have been injured in an industrial accident.

Why You Need an Industrial Accident Lawyer

Industrial accidents cause financial losses along with pain, suffering and even loss of life. The accidents affect their victims’ lives as well as the lives of the victims’ families and loved ones. Laws exist to help people who have been involved in industrial accidents receive compensation for their injuries and losses. The laws also assist survivors of wrongful death in industrial accident victims. Those survivors may be entitled to compensation for the financial support they could have expected to receive from someone who died in an industrial accident.

Injured in an Industrial Accident? Contact Us Today

If you have been injured in an industrial accident, the skilled legal team at Burwell Nebout Trial Lawyers can help. Injuries from industrial accidents are frequently serious, resulting in extensive medical bills, lost income, costs for rehabilitation or reconstructive surgery, and emotional pain and suffering. Although most industrial accidents involving workers are covered by workers’ compensation, you may be entitled to additional compensation if negligence was a factor. And it often is. Don’t go through this difficult time without skilled legal counsel by your side. Contact Burwell Nebout Trial Lawyers today at (281) 645-5000 for a free and confidential consultation about your case.