A staff member was badly wounded in a hospital explosion that may have involved an oxygen tank. According to a news report in The Times of Trenton, the explosion occurred at University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro. Officials are investigating the cause of the third-floor explosion, but they believe it was accidental and that it involved an oxygen tank. One hospital staff worker was seriously hurt and a visitor to the hospital was retained for an evaluation for possible injuries. A number of patients were moved to other floors, but the hospital was not evacuated and no one else was injured.
There are many reasons why working at a hospital can be dangerous. In addition to slip-and-fall hazards that can be found at any worksite, hospital staff members must often work around hazardous materials and explosive gases. For example, oxygen tanks are commonly used to help patients who are having trouble breathing. Oxygen supports combustion and tanks will explode when not used properly. If tanks are improperly designed, filled, transported, or handled, they can pose a threat to patients and medical professionals in the vicinity.
Oxygen tank fires and explosions are often caused by:
- Smoking in an oxygen enriched room;
- Leaks from poorly maintained pipes, valves, and hoses;
- Poor connections resulting in oxygen leaks;
- A failure to properly close valves after use; and
- Poor ventilation in room where oxygen is used.
Anyone who has suffered burns, lacerations, or a concussion while working would be well advised to research his or her legal options. New Jersey workers’ compensation should be available to cover the resulting medical bills as well as a portion of the wages lost while healing. Many workers, however, struggle to receive the support they need. It is common for insurance companies to deny injury claims and for workers to struggle with mounting medical bills and lost wages.
With the help of an experienced Princeton explosion accident attorney, you can build your case, reapply, or file a claim in court. No injured worker should go without support or should feel forced to return to work before he or she has recovered completely.