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1 killed, 3 injured in fatal accident at Omega Protein plant

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has launched an investigation into a plant explosion that recently injured multiple employees and resulted in the death of another. This isn't the first time that an employee has been fatally injured at the Omega Protein plant, either. In total, four employees have been involved in a fatal accident at the plant since 2011. For those in Iowa who are aware that employees are legally entitled to a safe working environment, that number may seem excessive.

Around 9:30 a.m., shortly before the explosion, at least three of the employees involved were welding on a tank. During the explosion, one of the injured victims reported that he saw the tank actually briefly lift up off of the platform that it was resting on. Of the three injured in the explosion, a 34-year-old man required surgery and hospitalization.

The other two injured employees were transported to a local hospital where they were treated for injuries that they suffered during the explosion. Sadly, a 25-year-old man did not survive the explosion and died while still at the plant. OSHA has already begun an investigation into what may have caused the explosion, although the federal agency has cautioned that it will take time for them to ascertain what actually happened.

Part of the investigation will include various tests, as well as interviewing those who work at the plant. All employees in Iowa have the right to a safe and secure workplace, but as demonstrated by the recent plant explosion, this environment is not always provided. The families of those who have died in a fatal accident at work retain the legal right to pursue death benefits as part of OSHA's workers' compensation benefits, while injured workers can seek benefits on their own behalf. These benefits can provide crucial financial compensation, which can include recourse for medical costs and/or funeral expenses and even lost wages.

Source: sunherald.com, "OSHA investigating industrial accident that killed one, injured three", Margaret Baker, July 29, 2014

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