Working around natural gas places employees at a high risk of injury, and employers have a duty to protect workers from leaks. Faulty pipes and failed seals are just a few ways workers may suffer debilitating injuries, and some employees may even be killed as a result of a gas leak on the job.
Common Injuries Caused by Gas Leaks at Work
A gas leak may cause a sudden injury through ignition, or it may poison workers slowly over time. Depending on the type of gas release and the nature of the work performed, employees can suffer lifelong injuries due to:
- Explosions. A tiny spark can cause gas in the air to ignite, resulting in fires and explosions that injure hundreds in an instant. Explosions may cause severe burns, blindness, breathing problems, scarring, and psychological trauma that affects a worker for the rest of his or her life.
- Carbon monoxide poisoning. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that over 500 people die each year as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning, mostly due to undetected gas leaks. Employers who use natural gas should install carbon monoxide detectors and encourage employees to report possible symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, including unexplained headaches, dizziness, vomiting, and disorientation.
- Brain damage. Inhaled gas pushes oxygen out of the body, effectively choking the brain. If this continues for more than a minute, a person can suffer severely low oxygen supply (asphyxiation), which can result in permanent neurological injuries and brain damage.
- Death. Natural gas is odorless and colorless, making it extremely easy for a worker to asphyxiate without even realizing he's in danger. As a result, employers are required to perform regular safety inspections to ensure there are no leaks, have evacuation measures in place, and have emergency ventilation systems to vent excess gas.
If you or a loved one was injured in a gas leak at work, we can help you recover the costs of hospital stays, ongoing medical treatment, loss of income, and permanent disability. Contact the attorneys at Johnson & Gilbert, P.A. today by filling out the quick contact form on this page, or order your free copy of our book, It’s Not Rocket Science, It’s Workers’ Comp.