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Fatal accident claims life of veteran worker at chemical plant

Explosions at the workplace are set apart from other work accidents by the fact that they are often fatal or could cause life-changing injuries that may affect several organ systems at once. The worker's proximity and the material involved will determine the severity of the injuries resulting from such an accident. A devastating explosion at an Iowa chemical plant recently claimed the life of a 71-year-old worker who had been with the company for 15 years prior to the fatal accident.

The company is in the business of producing dry ice, fertilizer and carbon dioxide. The chief of the fire department reported that the explosion was not related to any chemical spill. It was allegedly caused by the attempts of workers to direct piped hot air to heat the cold buildings. They opened and closed valves to achieve this, but instead of getting the hot air to the buildings, they caused an excessive build-up of pressurized hot air.

Unable to withstand the pressure, a section of the pipe ruptured, causing the explosion. The extreme force of the explosion was reportedly audible miles away and apparently caused safety windows of six-inch thickness to crack. The veteran worker was killed by the explosion, and two other workers suffered injuries.

Most Iowa workers are covered by the workers' compensation insurance fund. Families that have lost loved ones in a fatal accident at the workplace have the option to pursue compensation by claiming death benefits. Workers' compensation death benefits typically cover funeral and burial expenses. In addition, a financial package based on the worker's latest wage level could be paid to the dependent surviving family members. Compensation for injured workers may include medical expenses and some wage compensation, along with additional benefits related to disabilities and vocational training that may be necessary.

Source:, "15-Year-Veteran Dies in Creston Chemical Plant Explosion", Jodi Whitworth, Jan. 9, 2015

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