Pennsylvania residents may have heard that a worker for Rohm and Haas, a subsidiary of the Dow Chemical company, was fatally injured at the Deer Park plant in Texas. He suffered from second and third-degree chemical burns after an ammonia recycling unit exploded when he was changing the filter. Now, Dow Chemical, the largest chemical company in the United States, is facing a wrongful death lawsuit for the worker's death.
The worker had been an operator at the plant for more than 10 years. He was conducting his normal tasks when the factory accident occurred. The worker was reportedly changing the filter on one of the ammonia recycling units when the sealing casing on the unit burst, causing an explosion that knocked the employee backward and covered him with chemicals and scalding hot water.
The worker was rushed to the Blocker Burn Unit of the University of Texas Medical Branch via helicopter. The chief of staff of the Blocker Burn Unit and his staff had to cut the worker's jumpsuit off him to rinse him with hundreds of gallons of water. When the doctor laid a piece of pH paper on the worker's skin, it reportedly turned red, indicating that there was acid on the man's skin.
However, the chemical engineer who was the worker's supervisor told the chief of staff of the burn unit that the most dangerous element that the man had been working with was scalding hot water. The doctor refuted the man's statement, saying that he had spent five hours scraping chemicals off the man's skin. Despite the Blocker Burn Unit's efforts, the man ended up dying as a result of his injuries.
Sometimes, worker's compensation benefits are accompanied by death benefits. These are meant to assist the families of victims should they die on the job. An experienced lawyer may be able to assist families to understand their options after a workplace accident occurs.
Source: Houston Press, "Chemically burned: dow chemical tries to avoid hot water in worker's death", Dianna Wray, June 13, 2013