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What Causes Industrial Accidents?

Nov 04, 2022

Your everyday job and career can be a fulfilling and rewarding part of life. However, when the work environment isn't safe, the health, safety, and well-being of workers are put in danger. Industrial accidents can cause catastrophic injuries that permanently affect one's ability to put food on the table.


When employers fail to take the necessary precautions to protect their workers and prevent industrial accidents, fatal injuries may happen that are caused by fires, electrical accidents, explosions, or falls. Remember, the workplace can be inherently unsafe, particularly in an industrial setting.

Alarmingly, approximately 2.3 million workers die every year all over the world due to workplace accidents or illnesses, translating to over 6000 deaths every day. Still, over 340 million workplace accidents happen every year worldwide. Closer to home, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that approximately 2.7 million illnesses and injury cases occurred in 2020, with 4,764 workers losing their lives.

If you or a family member has been hurt at work, you may be entitled to compensation. It's important to note that injured workers in Wyoming and New Mexico are covered by workers' compensation insurance for all work-related fatal and nonfatal injuries they sustain. 

But first, it's essentially important to understand whether your employer and their insurance company will consider your injury an industrial accident.

What Is an Industrial Accident?

The term, industrial accident. covers many mishaps that happen on the job that lead to injuries. Generally speaking, this is any type of accident that happens to an employee as they perform their day-to-day job-related duties. It is a widely encompassing phrase that includes lots of different types of workplace injuries.

The majority of industrial accidents in Wyoming and New Mexico occur due to negligence. The consistent element is that employers owe an obligation to their employees to offer a safe work environment.

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) describes the work environment as "the establishment and other locations where one or more employees are working or are present as a condition of their employment. The work environment includes not only physical locations, but also the equipment or materials used by the employee during the course of his or her work."

If an employer breaches their duty of care, their actions can lead to some of the worst industrial accidents in work environments like warehouses, mines, oilfield drilling rigs, construction sites, poultry plants, and refineries. 

Some of the most common industrial accident injuries that workers may sustain include:

  • Burns
  • Blindness
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Chemical burns
  • Loss of limbs
  • Wrongful death

Causes of Industrial Accidents

Various factors can risk potential accidents and severe injuries in the workplace, including everything from explosions to electrocutions. Below are some common causes of industrial accidents in Wyoming and New Mexico.

Improper Mixing of Chemicals

Hazardous chemicals are one of the risks present in industrial environments. Mixing chemicals like benzene, mercury, toluene, ammonia, and chlorine or acids like sulfuric acid, nitric acid, and chlorosulfonic acid can produce toxic gases that can lead to industrial accidents.

If you come into contact with hazardous chemicals, they can affect your lungs, blood, and skin, causing devastating consequences. Potential accidents that can happen in the presence of chemicals include fires and suffocation. When inhaled, touched, or ingested, chemicals may cause headaches, lung irritation, sore throat, and breathing difficulties. Too much exposure may even lead to death.

OSHA advises employees exposed to toxic industrial chemicals to get away from the impacted site immediately, as well as wear appropriate respiratory protection and chemical protective clothing.

Factory Explosions

Different situations can lead to deadly explosions in Wyoming factories, including violations of OSHA safety regulations, unseen corrosion, failure to adequately train employees, improper machine maintenance, and defective equipment. 

Electrical hazards also share the blame for factory explosions, such as:

  • Overloaded circuits
  • Exposed wiring
  • Overloaded outlets
  • Exposed wiring

Most causes of massive explosions in factories are preventable, which makes these explosions all the more tragic. 

Gas Explosions

Gas explosions often occur in industrial settings like warehouses, manufacturing plants, and such facilities where flammable chemicals are readily present. Explosions in industrial plants may occur while hauling explosive or volatile substances, due to faulty electrical equipment, or as a result of chemical spills. This type of accident can set off a series of explosions, especially if there are multiple flammable gas cylinders in the plant.

Remember, even carelessly smoking cigarettes within major hazard installations, like propane tanks, can pose a serious and imminent danger to all site workers. 

Fireworks Disasters

Fireworks are dangerous. The four main ingredients used to produce fireworks include an ignition fuel, a color-producing chemical, a binder, and an oxygen producer. When you light fireworks with a spark or fuse, a combustion reaction instantly produces an explosion.

If such an explosion happens on a large scale within the work setting, employees may suffer catastrophic or even fatal injuries.

Boiler Explosions

Boiler explosions are destructive and catastrophic failures that can completely destroy buildings. These explosions typically happen when the pressure parts of the water and steam sides fail. This may also happen due to low water levels, misfiring of the safety valve, or boiler corrosion. 

Fuel combustion explosions caused by burner failures may also lead to boiler explosions. Boilers are potential bombs that can cause deadly occupational accidents if left unchecked.

If you experience an injury due to any of the above causes, make sure you report your injury to your employer within 72 hours. Remember to sign all accident reports when informing your employer about your injury. You must also report the injury to the department of industrial accidents, commonly known as the Workers’ Compensation Division, within 10 days to be eligible for workers' compensation benefits in Wyoming and New Mexico.

What Are High-Risk Industries and Jobs?

Every employee in Wyoming, even desk job employees like accountants and secretaries, can sustain workplace injuries. However, there are some industries and jobs where the accident rates are higher, including:

Construction Workers

Working in the construction industry is risky. From construction equipment accidents to falls from high altitudes, this industry is infamous for its perilous hazards. 

Wearing protective equipment, such as hard hats and safety boots, while at construction sites can help to reduce these industrial accidents.

Chemical Plants

Workers in these industrial process plants that manufacture and use chemicals on a large scale are prone to work injuries. Negligence by employees, employers, or other third parties may result in severe chemical burns within such plants.

Food Manufacturing

Workers in the food processing industry are exposed to many hazards, such as sharp objects, hot items, repetitive motions, and slippery floors, all of which can lead to severe occupational accidents. These accidents can cause spinal cord injuries, bone fractures, and brain injuries.

Coal Mining

Coal miners are exposed to disastrous situations like floods and cave-ins. Blasts can lead to underground explosions that bury workers alive. Coal miners may also be exposed to toxic materials, like radon or dust, which can lead to lung damage. 

Miners may also experience hearing damage since high noise levels are a by-product of coal mining.

Find an Industrial Accidents Lawyer for Your Claim

Have you or someone you care about been hurt in a Wyoming or New Mexico industrial accident? If so, you may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. Trying to pay for your medical expenses as well as other bills while recovering from a workplace accident may be extremely challenging. Here's where The Spence Law Firm comes in.

At The Spence Law Firm, our industrial accidents lawyers can help you with all the legal aspects of your compensation claim. We've represented many clients in Wyoming and New Mexico, helping them secure favorable workers' compensation verdicts. Our legal team is ready to help you recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage. 

Get started now to schedule your free initial consultation to speak to an experienced industrial accidents lawyer. We are here to help.

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If you are struggling with a serious injury, or are fighting against seemingly impossible odds against big corporations, insurance companies or the government, call us to speak with our team of trial lawyers who will fight for you. We take no fee unless we earn it by winning your case.