South Carolina Worker Injury at Construction Site Blast

A South Carolina construction worker was seriously injured recently when a pipe exploded at a work site on the University of South Carolina Beaufort campus.
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Authorities said the worker was conscious as he was flown by helicopter to the local hospital, shortly before 11 a.m. The worker was not immediately identified and neither were the exact nature of his injuries, though officials did say the injuries were serious enough that he had to be transported to the hospital by helicopter rather than ground ambulance.

He was being treated at the local trauma center, though the injuries did not appear to be life-threatening. Officials did say he the worker suffered “bruises and scratches.” It’s not clear if he also suffered severe burns.

Although the investigation into what happened is still in the early stages, it does seem as if the explosion was caused by faulty equipment. Investigators said it looks as if an inflatable pipe plug somehow became over-pressurized. The result, apparently, was an explosion.

If it is true that the equipment was indeed faulty or somehow defective, this worker may have the option of pursuing two avenues of compensation. He could first file to collect workers’ compensation benefits, as the injuries clearly occurred in the course and scope of employment.

However, he may also wish to explore a product liability claim against the manufacturer of the pipe or its components. If the product malfunctioned – even when used as intended – it could be grounds for a claim of negligence against the company that made it.

Alternatively, if the pipe was supposed to be maintained by some other third party (not the employer) and this maintenance was carried out improperly, that too may be grounds for action against that company.

At the time of the incident, the worker was teamed up with a crew assigned to convert a dirt parking lot on the south end of campus into a paved parking lot. The explosion happened relatively close to a nearby building. However, no one was believed to be inside at the time and no other injuries or property damage was reported.

Explosions in the workplace are often a dramatic occurrence, but they are more common than you might think. According to the National Consensus of Fatal Occupational Injuries, there were 122 workers killed by explosions or fires in 2012. The Occupational Health & Safety Administration reports some 5,000 workers suffer injuries every year as a result of a workplace fire or explosion.

Although there is the potential for these incidents to occur almost anywhere, they are known to be especially common in the following fields/locations:

  • Construction
  • Chemical plants
  • Mining operations
  • Manufacturing plants
  • Oil and gas industry

While a burn is a common injury suffered in workplace explosions, so too is:

  • Head trauma
  • Internal bleeding
  • Damage to lungs/ears/eyes/gastrointestinal tract
  • Cuts/scrapes/bruising from being thrown against the wall or other objects

If you have suffered injury due to a workplace accident, it’s imperative to have an experienced legal team help you explore all possible compensation options.

If you have been injured at work, contact the Lee Law Offices at 800-887-1965.

Additional Resources:
Worker injured in pipe blast at USCB construction hospitalized in Savannah, Aug. 18, 2015, By Lucas High, The Beaufort ette

More Blog Entries:
Report: Workers’ Compensation Costs Rise, Benefits Fall, Aug. 16, 2015, Spartanburg Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Blog

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