Explosions and fires in construction sites are frightening. They cause catastrophic damages, injuries, and deaths. According to Occupation Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), about 36 people die every year due to explosions and fires in construction sites.
So, what are the causes of such explosions? Pressurized containers, poor storage of chemicals, leaking gases, combustion engines, and static electricity are all common causes.
Let’s discuss them in detail.
1. Explosions From Pressurized Containers
You’ll find different types of pressurized containers on construction sites. In fact, compressed flammable gas containers are so common that you might not even notice the extreme danger they pose.
The apparent hazard from flammable gases is a fire explosion. Besides that, these containers are dangerous projectiles during explosions and cause damages far from the site. Pressurized containers can fly at very high speeds, enough to bring down a concrete wall.
Therefore, people working in construction sites should use safe practices with pressurized containers to avert the likelihood of an explosion. Since the containers are likely to explode when subjected to fall or some external forces, they should be secured with safety chains or straps.
Also, the cylinders’ valves should be easily accessible and should remain shut off when not in use.
2. Poor Storage of Hazardous Chemical
There are all manner of chemicals on construction sites. Some of them are highly flammable and corrosive. Some traditional chemicals in construction sites include asbestos and lead.
Today, you’ll find numerous chemical hazards in construction sites. They include paints, pesticides, gasoline, hot tar, carbon monoxide, commercial cleaners, etc.
The main cause of chemical explosions is poor storage. Construction workers tend to overlook this issue and are only reminded of the danger after a huge explosion has occurred.
As such, it is necessary to make sure that all chemical storage guidelines are followed to avoid an explosion. The environmental conditions under which particular materials should be used need to be determined and strictly observed. Training is also required to equip workers with adequate information to deal with hazardous materials.
3. Leaking Gas Pipes
Heavy equipment in a construction site is likely to damage most of the pipework on site. In situations where gas pipes are damaged, leaking gases are possible causes of explosions.
Leaks can also occur when workers are installing or repairing fixtures.
Natural gas, which is mostly used in construction sites, is highly flammable and causes carbon monoxide poisoning in confined spaces.
Therefore, those in construction sites are called upon to know the signs of gas leaks and to avoid damaging gas pipes to prevent fatal explosions.
4. Combustion Engines
In construction sites, there are several types of combustion engines. They include generators, pumps, fire engines, ambulances, waste haulers, mowers, blowers, etc.
There’s the risk of ignition and explosion when combustion engines come into contact with flammable gases.
Similarly, a combustion engine is likely to explode when working in a very hot environment, or it is brought close to a fire source.
5. Static Electricity
There are multiple elements in a construction site that are likely to explode when they are slightly exposed to static electricity buildup.
There is no doubt that electrical wires will be damaged either during construction or electrical works. Paying attention to static electricity buildup is one of the essential strategies for preventing explosions caused by faulty wires.
Injuries Associated With Explosions in Construction Sites
Although some explosions may not be fatal, most of them are devastating and cause some severe injuries. That is why measures are incorporated to eliminate or reduce the risks of explosions in construction sites.
Some common injuries caused by explosions include:
- Abdominal perforation
- Appendage amputation
- Severe burns
- Hearing loss
- Vision loss
- Traumatic brain damages
Representation for Construction Site Explosions
In most cases, negligence is the main cause of explosions and other severe disasters in construction sites. This means that it’s possible to prevent them if the right measures were put in place by those in charge of the project’s safety.
According to one construction accident lawyer in New York, construction is one of the most hazardous occupations where workers may be at risk for injury every day. If you’ve suffered injuries due to construction site explosions, an experienced attorney can help you to fight for fair compensation due to the injuries and suffering brought about by such explosions.