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Workplace injuries leave man with permanent disabilities

After a catastrophic accident on the job, some employees in Oklahoma and beyond may have a long road to recovery. Following a massive explosion at a fish processing plant, one worker is considered by many lucky to be alive. However, he says he does not feel so lucky. In fact, since the explosion that killed one of his co-workers and left others with permanent, disfiguring workplace injuries and brain damage, the man considers his life miserable. He is unable to work and suffers from paralyzing anxiety.  

The explosion occurred when he and his co-workers were welding a tank that contained stickwater. They understood that to mean that the dirty water in the tank was safe to be around the heat of the welding equipment. They were also told that draining the tank would be time-consuming and expensive for the project that was already behind schedule. However, no one told the workers that the tank contained decomposing fish matter capable of producing flammable gases. The stickwater ignited, blowing the 10-ton lid off the tank.

The man and his co-workers were working for a contractor and were employed by a labor company. They relied on the instructions and authorization of the plant supervisors to do their work safely. The company and its contractors now face a series of lawsuits from the injured men and the widow of the worker who died.

Injured workers in Oklahoma and across the country depend on management to protect them on the job. Left with devastating workplace injuries, their pain may be compounded by learning that the company's apparent negligence may have resulted in the death and injury of other workers at other jobsites. It may be hard to reconcile this with the continued success and financial gain of the business.

Source: sunherald.com, "Omega Protein explosion leaves survivor a 'miserable person'", Sept. 29, 2016

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