According to 90.5 WESA, a toxic chemical accident occurred at the Bruce Mansfield Power Station outside of Pittsburgh. Six workers were performing maintenance in a confined underground well. They removed an elbow joint and accidentally released toxic hydrogen sulfide gas into the un-ventilated area. Two workers were incapacitated and unable to get out of the well, where they died. The other four inhaled the gas, but were able to escape the well and be treated for their injuries. Pennsylvania state police and OSHA were reported to be investigating while the plant remained open and operational. A company spokesperson claimed there was no risk to the public.
Of course, this is far from the only incident of toxic exposure in the workplace. The Harvard Gazette reports on a study conducted by researchers from Harvard and MIT, who found that firefighters were exposed to greater numbers of exhaust toxins in older stations where the building design allowed for free air flow between the truck bays and living quarters. One Boston Deputy fire chief told the Gazette that cancer is a serious and well-known occupational hazard to firefighters. Bloomberg reports on a study of female workers in a semiconductor plant in Massachusetts. The women, who regularly worked with dangerous chemicals, were found to have miscarriages at twice the expected rate. And in Canada, former workers at a General Electric plant were found to have been exposed to toxins such as asbestos and benzene for years. The Peterborough Examiner reports that plant workers were exposed to more than three thousand toxins between 1945 and 2000. Forty of those substances are either known or suspected carcinogens (toxins which cause cancer).
Pennsylvania Law Protects Injured Workers and Their Families
Title 77 of the Pennsylvania Statutes establishes injured workers’ rights to compensation, sets forth the procedure for obtaining a worker’s compensation judgment, and enacts other provisions to protect the legal rights of injured workers. The Act also establishes an Uninsured Employers Guaranty Fund. This ensures that even employees whose employers do not carry worker’s compensation coverage can be compensated for injuries sustained on the job. In addition to worker’s compensation laws, Pennsylvania has also enacted a wrongful death law (Chapter 83 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes), by which surviving members can sue for the death of an employee in a workplace accident. A wrongful death lawsuit can be brought against any person or company who was legally responsible for causing the death of the worker. This might be the employer, or a company which negligently manufactured safety equipment, or a safety inspector who accepted bribes in lieu of issuing safety violations. Injured workers don’t have to face their injuries alone. Let an experienced Scranton worker’s compensation attorney help you access the compensation to which you are legally entitled.