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Workplace safety: Flame-resistant clothing crucial in oil industry

New York workers who earn their income in the oil and gas industry may become somewhat complacent -- especially after long service. However, this is one industry in which workplace safety must always remain a priority. Fires and explosions can erupt in the blink of an eye, and the consequences of burn injuries can be severe.

As an example, three workers on an oilfield in another state were injured last year when a pipeline fire erupted while they were busy with routine maintenance. One of them succumbed to burn injuries a few days later. In another case, a 38-year-old refinery pipefitter died after suffering severe burn injuries after ethanol spilled from a pipe on which he was working. Nearby welding activities caused the spark that ignited the fire.

The American Burn Association says victims of these accidents typically suffer burns over 40 to 60 percent of their bodies, leading -- on average -- to hospital stays of about 54 days, and costing about $780,000. More severe burns have more severe consequences. Although fires will always remain a significant risk in this industry, safety authorities note that precautions such as wearing appropriate flame-resistant clothing can limit the consequences, and might even save lives.

New York workers whose employers do not prioritize workplace safety might be suffering the consequences. Fortunately, the workers' compensation insurance program allows injured victims to pursue claims for benefits that will cover their medical expenses and lost wages. Families who have had to cope with the loss of loved ones in work-related accidents can pursue financial relief by filing death benefits claims. All this can be done with the support and guidance of an experienced workers' compensation attorney.

Source:, "Dress for Stress: How to Protect Workers in the Oil & Gas Industry", Mark Saner, April 4, 2018

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