Federal lawmakers recently re-introduced a bill that they hope will prevent combustible dust accidents in the workplace. The dangers of combustible dust have received widespread attention over the past five years since a sugar factory explosion in the south that killed 14 people and injured many more.
Since that high-profile explosion, there have been about 50 more combustible dust explosions or fires that have resulted in 15 deaths and 127 injuries. It is plain to see that combustible dust accumulation is a real danger in the nation's workplaces.
The Worker Protection Against Combustible Dust Explosions and Fires Act would require OSHA to issue interim protections that would prevent combustible dusts like sugar, wood coal and metal from accumulating to levels that could be hazardous.
Civil claims arising from a workplace accident or injury can be particularly tricky because many different laws regulate certain employers and provide protections to workers. For example, Illinois has its own set of workers' compensation laws that regulate how the claims process works. But there are also federal laws, such as the proposed dust bill and federal regulations set forth by OSHA, that shape cases as well.
If you have been injured in an accident at work, it can be hard to know where to turn. It may be wise to speak with a personal injury attorney who is experienced in related cases and who knows your state's workers' compensation laws. He or she can work with you to understand the cause of your injury, pursue any appropriate claims and protect your interests.
Source: Woodworking Network, "Combustible Dust Bill Re-Introduced in House," Rich Christianson, Feb. 17, 2013
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