Some Illinois employers may give no more thought to a boiler in a workplace than a homeowner does to a basement water heater. The only time a boiler becomes a concern is when the pressure vessel malfunctions. It's easy to forget that a poorly-maintained boiler, even a home water heater, has the potential to do cause extensive damage and loss of life.
The force of a boiler explosion is described on a small scale by the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors. The explosion of a 30-gallon residential hot water tank can lift a 2,500-pound vehicle almost 125 feet into the air. Now, imagine the destruction that can result from an industrial boiler accident.
Imagination was not required for employees in an East Coast plant, where a titanium boiler blew up in March 2015. The boiler, measuring up to 25 feet across, exploded during a night shift in a plant melt shop.
Police arrived six minutes after the explosion was reported. Three workers were hospitalized after the blast. Reports did not provide details about the injuries suffered by the two surviving workers or the employees' medical conditions.
A 27-year-old employee, an engaged man with two young children, died of his injuries a few hours after the explosion. Police determined the explosion was accidental. Inspectors from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration were expected to take several months to report on the cause of the blast.
Illinois workers' compensation benefits are paid to workers for job-related injuries and to families, after the death of a worker in the course of employment. Survivors' benefits help cover funeral expenses, accident-related medical bills and a portion of wage losses.
Attorney can help families file claims for these death benefits and identify other sources of compensation following industrial plant explosions. In some cases, wrongful death claims against negligent parties can result in damage awards.