Two workers injured when compressed gas pipeline explodes

Certain workplaces-mines, construction sites, oil and gas plants and chemical factories among them-present risks to workers every day. A severe or fatal injury is a real possibility and can occur with little or no warning. Despite these risks, thousands of Pennsylvania workers go to work to do their jobs day in and day out.

One work crew recently experienced such dangers when a high-pressure gas pipeline at a compression station burst into flames after being struck by a backhoe in West Franklin, which is approximately 30 miles northeast of Pittsburgh. One of those injured was the backhoe operator. He was airlifted to a Pittsburgh hospital for treatment of burns. The other worker was treated at a local hospital for minor injuries.

The equipment that struck the compressed gas pipeline was engulfed by flames with the operator still inside the vehicle's cab. The fire spread to areas beyond the backhoe and pipeline and was put out by a local fire department in less than an hour. It was not immediately known whether or not an investigation will be conducted by state officials or the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Fortunately, state authorities long ago understood that some workers face more risks than others, so all employers must comply with federal and state rules governing workplace safety. Despite these safeguards, a worker can still suffer injuries in a workplace accident at any time.

In the event of work accidents, injured workers are entitled to workers' compensation benefits. Unfortunately, obtaining benefits can often be difficult because claims can present complications that can be challenging for injured workers and their families.

Source: WTAE.com, "2 workers hurt in explosion when backhoe strikes gas line," Sheldon Ingram, July 15, 2015

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