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California power plant accident causes worker injury

Posted on in Workplace Accidents

Working in a factory or plant of any kind can be a dangerous occupation, considering the type and kind of machinery, power sources and, in some cases, sheer volume of moving parts. In plants that manufacture products that are dangerous on their own, the risk can be multiplied and lead to power equipment accidents and injuries.

Recently, a power plant located near Sacramento, experienced "catastrophic mechanical failure," according to investigators. This failure caused a boiler to rupture, injuring two workers. One of the injured workers experienced cuts and burns and was airlifted to a hospital in Sacramento; the other injured worker was able to be treated on site.

The power plant is considered a biomass plant, and burns wood chips and other waste products to produce electricity on the scale of 18 megawatts of power. The plant was previously a coal plant, and made the switch to biomass in 2012.

While laws vary state to state, in general, employers are required to have workers' compensation insurance to cover any injured employees. The benefits to which injured employees are entitled can include medical expenses, lost wages and vocational rehabilitation. Workers' compensation is typically the exclusive remedy for a work injury, meaning that once an employee files a workers' comp claim, that employee forfeits the right to sue the employer for those same injuries.

However, claims against third parties, such as manufacturers of the machinery or products involved are still viable, where that machinery was defective or otherwise caused or contributed to the injury. Where, for instance, an injured employee sues the manufacturer of a defective boiler, the employer may be able to recoup any workers' compensation payments made to the employee from the third party manufacturer.

Source: mercurynews.com, "2 injured in N. Calif. Power plant accident," May 29, 2013

Tagged in: Work injury
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