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Worker sues Airgas for explosion, work-related injury

A West Virginia man who was reportedly injured in an explosion at an Airgas USA facility has filed a lawsuit against the company. That man suffered serious and permanent injury in May 2013, according to official reports. The workplace injury resulted in scarring, hearing loss, psychological trauma and burns. The man claims that Airgas exposed him to “extremely unsafe” working conditions at the Putnam County facility.

The victim said the accident occurred when he and a coworker were asked to release gas from about 150 tanks that had been overfilled. The workers had bled about 50 of the tanks when the injurious explosion occurred. The victim said that he remembers losing his vision before becoming engulfed in flames. That man and his coworker were both injured in the explosion.

The man’s attorney tells news sources that the company chose to put profits before worker safety. Airgas is accused of encouraging workers to perform unsafe work in an effort to refill tanks faster than they could with traditional methods. By prioritizing profits, the company allegedly jeopardized the safety and health of its entire workforce.

So far, representatives from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have cited the company for six total violations. Four of those violations identified in the OSHA investigation were categorized as “serious,” and the company is facing $19,000 in potential fines. The company is contesting those allegations.

Victims who have been injured on the job may be entitled to financial compensation through workers’ compensation claims and other civil actions. West Virginia attorneys may be able to provide additional assistance for those who are seeking financial redress for medical costs and other damages. A personal injury lawyer can be a valuable ally for those who have been involved in a workplace injury accident.

Source: The Charleston Gazette, “Man sues Airgas over Putnam County explosion” Ryan Quinn, Mar. 26, 2014

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