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Tennessee workplace accidents call for vigilance

In the workplace the employer has a duty to adhere to certain occupational health and safety regulations. This is in order to protect the employees from accidents and injuries. When dealing with dangerous hazardous materials, the need for safety in the workplace is even greater. Over time, complacency of workplace safety practices can sometimes occur until a serious injury or death serves as an abrupt reminder of the need for prevention of workplace accidents. This tragic reality was highlighted recently when a Tennessee man was killed in an explosion while working at the Kilgore military flare plant in West Tennessee.

A male worker at the plant was taken to the hospital with severe burns from the explosion and died two days later. An investigation into the accident by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) stated the explosion took place in a mixing room. Investigators have declared the incident an accident but have yet to say what may have caused the explosion. Further investigations into the accident are being carried out by the ATF national response team, helped by state and local agencies. The Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration is conducting a separate investigation into the accident.

The 264-acre plant produces decoy flares for the military. The component parts used in the production of the flares are highly flammable. It is reported that, since 1993, six employees have died while others have been injured in explosions or fires at the plant. In this time, the company has been cited for numerous workplace violations and paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.

Tennessee residents who suffer injuries from workplace accidents are able to make a workers’ compensation claim. In what can be a stressful time for the victim and their family, workers’ compensation can assist in covering medical expenses and any loss of income until such time as the person is able to return to work. In the unfortunate case of an employee dying while performing his or her duties on the job, the surviving family members may make a claim to receive compensation which can help in bringing some comfort to an otherwise difficult time.

Source: thebellinghamherald.com, Investigators: Blast at Tenn. plant accidental, Adrian Sainz, Feb 27, 2014

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