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Georgia Workers Injured in Metal Steam Explosion

Georgia work injuries were reported following an explosion at a Newnan aluminum company. So powerful was the blast, witnesses say, it rocked buildings up to a mile away in this suburb some 35 miles south of Atlanta. alumninum

Five workers were hospitalized, two at the Atlanta Medical Center and three at a local hospital, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. One of those workers remained in critical condition days after the accident.

The president of Bonnell Aluminum issued a statement extending his wishes for the workers’ speedy recoveries. The plant had to be evacuated and closed while the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) responded alongside local officials and company administrators to ascertain the cause of the blast. 

Preliminary findings suggest workers were conducting a process known as casting. This involves turning molten metal into extrusion logs, cast into certain elongated shapes to be used as material in construction and other industries.

As this process was happening, it seems a small amount of water somehow came into contact with the molten metal, resulting in a steam explosion. The force trajectory of the steam explosion went upward, blowing off an entire section of the roof and causing serious damage to the casting equipment – and serious injuries to the workers.

As our workers’ compensation lawyers know, the very first priority for these workers will be to get well. But as they continue their recovery, they and/ or their family members are going to want to consult with a workers’ compensation lawyer to make sure all their medical bills are covered and they are adequately compensated for lost wages.

Each of the workers may be designated as suffering temporary total disability, but depending on the extent of their injuries, there may be a designation of permanent partial disability in the long-term. If the critically-injured worker has suffered some type of brain damage or other catastrophic injury, he may be able to seek a designation of a permanent total disability.

Whenever molten metal or charge materials come in contact with water or moisture, there is a potential for a catastrophic explosion in any foundry. That’s why it’s so important that these facilities follow safety procedures to the exact letter.

Foundry Management & Technology reports that a water/ molten metal explosion can happen in any type of furnace. Any kind of water, moisture or liquid that comes in contact with molten metal instantly turns to steam and expands to 1,600 times its original volume. Because a water/ molten metal explosion can be so violent, it’s imperative to wear the proper protective gear, or Personal Protective Equipment. This type of equipment can help to prevent burns that are disfiguring, incapacitating or fatal.

Reducing the chances of a water/ molten metal explosion can be done by:

  • Storing scrap under cover for at least a full day before initiating careful inspection of containers for any moisture;
  • Using remote charging systems with charge dryers or preheaters that allow workers to stand back away behind protective screens during the process.

Workers injured in such accidents could face a long and arduous recovery. Contact an experienced injury lawyer to learn more about your legal options.

For information on Atlanta work injury compensation, contact J. Franklin Burns, P.C., at 1-404-303-7770.

Additional Resources:

One still critical after explosion at Coweta’s Bonnell Aluminum plant, July 1, 2016, By Alexis Stevens, Atlanta-Journal Constitution

More Blog Entries:

Roseburg Forest Products Co. v. Barnes – Fictional New Injury in Georgia Workers’ Comp, June 25, 2016, Atlanta Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Blog