The month of March 2023 has brought with it yet another fire and explosion at an Oregon industrial/manufacturing facility. Fortunately, no one was gravely injured or killed. Sometimes, these sorts of incidents happen despite the best efforts of all those responsible for worker safety. Too often, though, these events involve a degree of negligence, sometimes by multiple parties. When you’re one of the workers injured in this way, you may have several legal options. If someone other than your employer acted (or failed to act) in a way that meets Oregon’s legal standards for negligence, then you can pursue an industrial accident case. With representation from an experienced Oregon industrial accident lawyer, you can obtain much-needed compensation from that third party for your injuries.
The most recent explosive incident took place at a wood railroad tie treatment facility in The Dalles, which is about 80 miles east of Portland. It left two people injured, according to a KPIC report. Both of those individuals were firefighters responding to the emergency. The local Sheriff’s Office indicated that both firefighters were in good condition. No workers were hurt in the fire or the explosion.
The tank where the incident occurred contained QNAP copper naphthenate, which is a substitute for creosote, a substance used in treating wood railroad ties, according to Columbia Community Connection. The Sheriff’s Office told KPIC that the tank in question had been taken offline earlier that day to be cleaned.
A spokesperson for the company said that the copper naphthenate had been “safely drained” prior to the fire. The Department of Environmental Quality told KPTV that, while all of the copper naphthenate indeed had been removed, a quantity of diesel sludge and sawdust remained inside the tank, and that was what caught fire. “Expanding vapors inside the tank” then triggered the explosion, according to DEQ.
Events like this are a reminder of the paramount importance of workplace safety, especially at workplaces that involve the use of dangerous substances, as serious or fatal injuries can otherwise result. Last fall, five workers suffered injuries – one critical – in an explosion and fire at a hemp product manufacturing plant in Grass Valley. According to the county’s director of emergency services, the number of workers injured was so low only because the fire and explosion occurred during a weekend. Earlier last year, multiple workers suffered injuries following a boiler explosion at a food production plant in Hermiston.
As noted above, proving misconduct by one or more third parties can be crucial to getting justice. If, for example, the tank that ignited in The Dalles had a defect in it that helped lead to the fire and explosion, then proof of that could permit a successful industrial accident case against the tank’s manufacturer, or possibly also the entity responsible for the tank’s maintenance and upkeep (if that entity reasonably should have spotted the flaw and acted.)
Although no one was killed or severely injured in this incident, many workers involved in these kinds of incidents are not so fortunate. If you’ve endured harm as a result of an accident at your workplace, an industrial accident lawsuit may be an option for you. The knowledgeable Oregon industrial accident attorneys at Kaplan Law LLC have many years of handling these complex matters first-hand, so we know how to approach these cases in the most effective way possible. Call us today at (503) 226-3844 or contact us online to set up your free consultation to find out more.