A worker was killed in an explosion when a fire extinguisher burst inside a United States Postal Service facility in Chelsea, close to a construction site. According to a report in the Gothamist, the man was recharging fire extinguishers inside the Morgan General Mail Facility postal building at 341 Ninth Avenue when the explosion occurred. Shrapnel from the explosion pierced the man’s neck and he was taken to a local hospital where he died from his injuries. Another worker, a 26-year-old man, was also injured when his right arm was lacerated by shrapnel. He was also taken to an area hospital in critical condition.
Fatality and Injury
Officials said the explosion occurred on the fourth floor of the building, which is an active mail facility. While commercial office spaces are being built at the location, investigators say the victims had been working on the postal side of the building and were recharging the fire extinguishers. Department of Buildings (DOB) inspectors on scene determined that the incident occurred when one of the fire extinguishers exploded near the workers.
Gothamist reports that callers to 311 had complained saying construction at the location was going on without proper precautions. One caller complained that construction on the facade of the building was being done without proper safety gear and without social distancing measures. Another caller complained on April 25 saying that the facility was carrying out work on weekends. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is investigating this particular incident, officials said.
Liability in Explosions
There are a number of parties that can be held liable for explosions, which often result in major injuries or fatalities. As with many personal injury cases, the most important factor in determining liability is “negligence” or carelessness and its extent. In such cases, liability also depends on the cause and circumstances of the accident. Here are some of the parties that may potentially be held liable for an explosion:
Property owners: Those who own and/or manage residential properties in New York City have a responsibility to provide a safe living environment for their tenants. This includes maintaining the property.
Utility companies: Often, we see that utility companies do not make the investment necessary to update and upgrade their infrastructure. This includes the great number of pipelines that carry natural gas to homes and businesses. When utility companies are negligent (careless) about making the necessary repairs, the consequences may be devastating.
Product manufacturers: Explosions may also occur as the result of defective products that are poorly made or have substandard parts. In such cases, the manufacturers of the defective products can be held liable for the injuries and damages suffered by the victims.
Compensation for Injured Workers
General construction companies, managing agents, building owners, some contractors and sub-contractors have a duty to provide workers with protective gear such as hard hats, harnesses, goggles for eye safety, steel-toed boots and other equipment that helps them stay safe on the job. They also have a duty to provide workers with job and safety training in a language they can understand.
Individuals who are injured in work-related accidents may be able to seek workers’ compensation benefits, which typically cover medical and drug expenses and a portion of lost wages. In addition, workers and their families may be able to file a third-party lawsuit for substantial money damages against a number of parties, and thus have two sources of compensation. Third-party claims are filed against parties other than the employer or co-employees and may include general contractors, sub-contractors, building owners, managing agents, construction companies, etc.
Contacting an Experienced Lawyer
If you have suffered injuries in a work-related accident, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options, and also fight hard to recover just compensation for you. Our law firm recovered $3,375,576 for a construction worker (an undocumented immigrant) who was injured on the job – one of the highest construction case settlements in New York that year. Also, one of our clients obtained a verdict for $43,940,000 and another of our clients got a verdict for $23,500,000, both in medical malpractice cases.
Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury and medical malpractice cases in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.
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