What happens when a task routinely performed by a worker suddenly results in a dangerous explosion? A plant in Connellsville is dealing with that question at the moment, after an explosion injured two of its factory workers last week.
The employees were working at O.C. Lugo's plant in Fayette County. According to its website, O.C. Lugo is a "worldwide supplier of chemicals, vitamins, minerals, gelatins, and food ingredients." The company is known for making oxygen generators used by the military.
At the time of the accident, the workers were mixing red phosphorus and fiberglass powder, two components used in the making of igniters for oxygen generators for the military. The explosion occurred in one employee's hands. When questioned about the accident, the fire chief said, "I do understand there's a possibility of some fingers missing. We did recover some and sent them down to UPMC. I don't know if they will be able to reattach them or not."
The cause of the accident is not yet known, but the police chief speculated, "It could have been static electricity. It could have been a spark. It could have been just about anything."
Immediately after the accident, a one-block radius around the site was evacuated, as it was uncertain as to whether another explosion would occur.
In the wake of the accident, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will likely conduct a thorough investigation in the hope of preventing further accidents. When a worker suffers a catastrophic injury, such as the loss of a limb, a skilled workers' compensation attorney can help ensure his or her rights are protected.
Source: CBS Pittsburgh, "2 Injured in Fayette Co. Chemical Facility Explosion," Heather Abraham, June 27, 2012.