Orange County Industrial Accident Kills Two Workers
Two employees at a Rancho Santa Margarita manufacturing plant were killed and two others were seriously injured in an explosion the night of March 19, 2009, The Orange County Register reports. The explosion occurred just after 11:30 p.m. at Solus Industrial Innovators located in an industrial area at 30152 Aventura Ave. The powerful blast injured two employees who were standing outside the building, Orange County firefighters found two other employees dead inside the building. The injured workers were taken to an area hospital. Investigators say an industrial process water heater may have been the cause of the fatal explosion.
My heart goes out to the families, friends and co-workers of these two workers who were killed on-the-job. I offer my deepest condolences to them. I hope the two other workers did not suffer major injuries. I wish them the very best for a speedy and complete recovery.
According to the California Department of Occupational Safety and Health’s (CAL/OSHA) industrial accident statistics for 2005, 14 workers died that year of fires and explosions at their workplace or manufacturing facilities. Totally, 253 deaths relating to industrial accidents were reported in California in the year 2005.
In this case, it is not exactly clear what caused the water heater blast. There are more questions than answers at this point. Were there workers trained adequately to perform their jobs? Were they following all safety procedures? Did they have knowledge of those safety procedures? I trust an investigation by local authorities as well as the CAL/OSHA will provide some answers although it could take months before we find out what occurred.
The deceased workers’ families as well as the injured workers will no doubt be entitled to their workers’ compensation benefits. However, it is important to remember that California workers’ compensation benefits are extremely inadequate especially considering the tremendous loss these workers and their families have suffered. The workers compensation benefits are hardly enough to make up for lost wages, medical or funeral expenses, let alone the loss of a loved one who was the primary breadwinner for their family.
The families of the deceased victims as well as the injured victims would be well-advised to contact a reputed Rancho Santa Margarita workers compensation attorney who has experience in filing “third-party claims.” These are claims that are usually filed against someone other than an employer whose negligence may have caused the accident and injuries. Examples of such third parties could include contractors, sub-contractors or the manufacturer of a defective product. A third party claim could be a lot more valuable to these workers and the affected families than what they would get through workers compensation benefits.
Employers are usually quick to get their attorneys and insurance carriers working on these cases so they can protect their interests. The injured workers and the families of the deceased workers need a skilled and dedicated personal injury attorney on their side, who will fight for their legal rights and protect their interests.