Eleven people suffered burn injuries in a fire and explosion at a La Habra chrome polishing plant the morning of April 29, 2014. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, one worker said he felt the huge explosion and saw many of his co-workers had been badly burned, some of them with their skin hanging off. The explosion left 11 people injured, two critically, with burns over about 90 percent of their bodies. In addition, four people had intermediate and five others had minor injuries.
The Register report states that the explosion occurred when 30 workers were polishing wheel rims at Gorilla’s Polishing in the 500 block of Commercial Way. Los Angeles County firefighters responded. Investigators ruled out hazardous materials as the cause. A preliminary investigation pointed to lint and dust in a duct system at the cause of the explosion and the fire.
Other materials in the building fueled the fire, officials said. Officials with the Cal-OSHA are looking into whether there were any workplace violations. OSHA officials said their investigation will include talking to witnesses, reviewing training documents and making sure equipment was used according to safety requirements.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to these injured workers and their families. We wish them the very best for a quick and full recovery.
Compensation for Injured Workers
There are still several unanswered questions here regarding what caused this horrific explosion. Injured workers in such cases can seek workers’ compensation benefits that usually cover medical expenses and a portion of lost wages. However California workers’ compensation benefits are woefully inadequate when it comes to compensating workers for catastrophic injuries.
Some of the workers seem to have suffered catastrophic burn injuries in this incident. In such cases, workers may be able to file a third-party claim against a party other than the employer. Examples of third parties include contractors, sub-contractors, property owners and manufacturers of defective products. Injured victims in such cases would be well advised to contact an experienced Orange County personal injury lawyer who will stay on top of the official investigation and ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected.