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Family sues following fatal Dow Chemical plant explosion

Chemical plants are some of the most dangerous places to work because of the abundance of flammable and potentially toxic materials. Both illnesses caused by chemical exposure as well as injuries caused by fires and explosions are common among chemical plant workers.

Sadly, an explosion last year at a Dow Chemical plant in Deer Park, Texas, claimed the life of a 45-year-old worker.

The explosion involved an ammonia recycle unit at the plant and occurred on July 17, 2012. Now, nearly a year after the fatal workplace accident, the mother and son of the worker have filed suit against the chemical manufacturer, a subsidiary and two other employees.

The lawsuit states that the deceased worker was changing a filter in the ammonia recycle when an explosion occurred and threw the man into the air and sprayed him with caustic substances. It states that the worker suffered third-degree burns in the accident to roughly 65 percent of his body. After a month of extreme pain, the worker died.

The accident could have easily been avoided, the lawsuits states, because the defendants knew the filter was not in proper and safe working condition. However, the defendants chose not to repair the filter. Additionally, the lawsuit states that Dow Chemical failed to provide workers with adequate safety equipment.

The lawsuit also cites a January 2013 investigation by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which issued seven violations against Dow stemming from the accident. The plaintiffs seek damages for pain and suffering, loss of companionship, loss of inheritance and loss of earnings.

Source: Fuel Fix, "Family sues over Texas man's Dow plant death," Harry R. Weber, April 10, 2013

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