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Three chemical related accidents at work could lead to compensation claims

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In mid June, three men were injured in an explosion at a North Lincolnshire leisure centre.
The blast at the newly built Pods Leisure Centre in Scunthorpe, due to open on 4th July 2011, left two contractors in hospital suffering from cuts and bruises, and the potential effects of inhaling chemicals
It is believed by fire investigators that the explosion was caused by a build up of pressure in the swimming pool’s filtration system and that this was due to a chemical reaction. The concentration of chlorine in the plant room was found to be high, but the full details of the reason for the incident are not yet known.
The fire service has handed over the investigation to North Lincolnshire Council.
Chemical reactions of this nature, according to the fire service, are quite rare. However, other types of incidents involving chemicals can be more common, in certain industries.
14 people treated after chemical incident in Scunthorpe
Just a few days after the Scunthorpe incident, 14 people were left needing treatment and three were taken to hospital with eye irritation and chest discomfort after a chemical incident on a Deeside industrial estate.
Workers at Brookfield Foods Ltd were exposed to chlorine gas after an ‘uncontrolled mix of chemicals’ was released from a factory. The company said an investigation was underway to ascertain the cause of the incident and officials from the Environment Agency were ensuring a safe clean up and disposal of any hazardous waste.
Fire spokesman Justin Evans sad: "There had been a small chemical spillage within the premises which resulted in a small release of chlorine gas. I believe three people are now in hospital for precautionary checks."
Environment Agency Wales spokesperson Lee Rawlinson said that the spillage had highlighted the need for businesses to be fully aware of their environmental risks and obligations.
Eye and chest problems common in chemical accidents
Eye and chest problems are common symptoms of chemical exposure. Sometimes the effects can be temporary and sufferers make a full recovery, but in other cases the injuries can be more severe or have ongoing connotations.
Back in May, at Camerons Brewery in Hartlepool, a worker suffered minor facial burns when chemicals splashed in his face. According to police attending the incident, there seemed to have been some sort of chemical spillage and it was recorded as an accident at work.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) was informed and is conducting an investigation with officials from the brewery.
Claiming for chemical related accidents at work
When the HSE finds an employer in breach of its duties to ensure a safe working environment for its staff, a prosecution and normally a fine will ensue. Workers who have suffered injuries as a result of any accident are within their rights to make a personal injury compensation claim.
If the two contractors at the Pods Leisure Centre incident did suffer the effects of chemical inhalation, they could make a claim for their suffering and any lost income, as could the Brookfield Foods workers who endured eye and chest problems. A specialist injury claims lawyer would look carefully at the medical evidence and work alongside a medical expert to work out whether there would be any lasting effects, which would have an effect on the amount of compensation that could be claimed.
The worker who suffered facial burns at the Hartlepool brewery could be in line for a compensation award too. The amount he could claim would depend on how extensive his injuries were, whether he will have to undergo future treatment or cosmetic surgery and how any disfigurement would affect him emotionally, as well as his financial losses.
If you have suffered a chemical related injury at work, the injury claims lawyers at Stephensons can help you claim the compensation you need to help you through any treatment and to cover your financial losses. For sympathetic advice and to find out how much you could potentially claim, call us on 01616 966 229.
By personal injury solicitor and Stephensons’ Partner, Kate Sweeney