A fire at the Equinox Chemical Plant in Albany has left one person severely burnt. The flash fire occurred on April 15th. 37-year-old Jason Pate suffered second and third degree burn injuries over up to 70% of his body. He was taken to the Augusta Burn Center where his condition has been listed as critical.
According to preliminary investigations, Pate was operating chemical machinery when two gas kit seals suddenly ruptured, due to pressure. That caused the manifold system to blow off the Acetylene, igniting and sparking a fire. The company has shut down production, pending an investigation of the accident. Firefighters remained at the plant all night to ensure that all Acetylene tanks were empty, and there was no danger of fire.
Fire safety is imperative in a chemical plant where the risk of fire and explosions is always present. Burns that result from a chemical fire are severe, leaving long term scars. These burns are extremely painful, and cause significant tissue damage. In cases that are as severe as Pate’s case here, skin grafting may be necessary. All this means many days away from work while the body heals enough to allow for skin graft surgery, as well as a long healing period later.
Second and third degree burns are the most serious levels of burn injuries. While in a first degree burn, only the first layer of skin is damaged, in a second degree burn, two layers of the skin are burned. Blisters form, and the skin has a shiny, wet looking appearance. The skin also has a deep red color, and is painful. In a third degree burn, all layers of the skin are damaged, and there is damage to tissues too. Here, the burnt areas will be red and swollen, and the person will be in severe pain. A patient can quickly go into shock, and skin will be charred or white. These burns take a longer time to heal. Even with skin grafts and treatment, these burns may leave behind permanent scaring. The skin in the burnt area may not recover its normal function ever.
The recovery period involved in a burn injury increases with the percentage of the body that has been burnt. A person with more than 50% burns on his body has a higher risk of fatality, and if he survives, has a much longer road to recovery.
Georgia Worker Compensation Attorney
Georgia’s Worker Compensation laws allow for compensation to an injured worker which can cover the cost of his medical expenses, including expenses that may come up in future. For instance, in burn injuries, as the skin continues to heal and change in appearance, there may be the need for more reconstructive surgeries to restore the appearance of the skin. This will involve additional costs.
If you have questions about Worker’s Compensation rights, an experienced Georgia Worker’s Compensation attorney can help you find the answers you need.