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Worker sues chemical plant for failing to maintain safety

Have you ever wondered what you would do if you suffered a workplace injury? Furthermore, would you know to seek legal representation if you are denied workers’ compensation? Surprisingly, to some of our readers here in Georgia, there are a number of people who become overwhelmed after receiving a work-related injury because they don’t know what their next steps should be. In many cases, their injuries are the result of employer negligence, meaning they deserve compensation. But just like so many across our state, would you know to seek legal help down the road?

This was likely the thought that ran through the mind of a chemical plant worker out in Texas when he was seriously injured at a plant in La Porte. He suffered serious respiratory problems and burns to his eyes and throat after being exposed to a leak from a tank containing glacial acetic acid. According to the worker, his injuries were a result of negligence because the chemical plant failed to maintain a safe working environment and failed to warn him about the potential dangers. But like so many here in Georgia, he likely did not know that he deserved compensation for his injuries, thus the reason why he likely waited two years before filing a claim against his employer.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, glacial acetic acid, in a concentration of more than 80 percent, is incredibly corrosive as well as explosive. Exposure to skin can cause severe burns and exposure to eyes has been known to cause tissue destruction and blindness. But glacial acetic acid, such as with this man’s case, can also be inhaled as a vapor, causing a person to suffer respiratory problems. Long-term exposure to the vapors can even result in chronic bronchitis.

With dangers like this, it’s easy to see why the man filed a claim. His employer’s failure to follow safety rules and regulations not only put this man’s life in danger but others as well. The hope though is that no other employees have to suffer a similar fate in the future.

Source: The Southeast Texas Record, “Plant worker sues over alleged exposure to acetic acid,” John Suayan, Jan. 3, 2013

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