What to Do When an Explosion Happens at Work

By Peter DePaolis

Two construction workers suffered burns after an explosion happened at the worksite. The two men, privately contracted as subcontractors, were handling a substitute for explosives when the blast occurred. A witness indicated that the explosion reminded him of a blowback. One of the victims was struck in his face while the other was struck in the neck and eyes. Both workers remained conscious when an ambulance approached the scene.

How Explosions Happen

Workplaces are havens for fire and explosions. Construction sites, nuclear energy facilities and factories are common places where explosions happen because of a mass load of flammable substances. A knowledgeable Northern Virginia burn accident lawyer will be able to advise clients about how working with flammable substances can present hazardous conditions.

However, an explosion can happen anywhere. For instance, an office building can suffer an explosion because someone lights a match close to a gas leak. A fire or explosion can start with air, fuel, and a source of fire. This fire can come from:

  • A lit cigarette or cigar butt
  • Burning leaves and pine straw floating through the wind
  • Set purposely by an individual
  • Spark emanating from machinery such as a torch
  • Chemical or hot substance spill

Controlling or distinguishing these flames can be strenuous and grueling. A helpful Northern burn lawyer can advise what types of flammable substances can be found at workplaces. A few include heating fuel, welding gases, and petrol.

What to Do When an Explosion Occurs

There are actions you can take if an explosion occurs while working. The first thing is to seek cover if debris is falling around you. Once the debris stops falling as rapidly, exit the building as quickly as possible. However, refrain from using escalators and elevators. Once you are outside, move quickly and stand as far away from the building as possible. A stray piece of the building may collapse on top of you if you are too close. A qualified Northern Virginia burn accident lawyer will also advise you to keep nearby streets and sidewalks clear due to clear the path for emergency officials to move.

If you are trapped inside the building after the explosion, the first thing to do is remain calm. Cover your nose and mouth with any fabric you can find. Dust will be very dense, especially immediately after the explosion. Find something heavy enough to tap on the walls or other structures. This will help rescuers locate where you are. An experienced Northern Virginia burn lawyer will also advise you to shout only if it is a last resort to keep dust from entering through your mouth.

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.