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Manufacturing worker suffers injuries from exploding PVC pipe

In our last post we discussed the fact that New Jersey workers’ compensation benefits are often not the only form of compensation for an injured worker. Third-party claims may be filed against the manufacturers of dangerous machinery or subcontractors who are liable for a worker’s injuries.

It is possible that a third-party claim will arise out of the injury of one manufacturing plant worker who was recently injured by an explosion of PVC piping. The piping was being improperly used to transport compressed air, which led it to explode three times. The worker reportedly suffered hearing loss and trauma after the piping exploded the third time. It is unclear whether he will return to work or file an additional personal injury lawsuit against the manufacture of the piping.

There are times when the manufacturer of a product is liable for injuries that result from the foreseeable misuse of the product. In this case it is unclear whether the manufacturer explicitly recommended against the use of the PVC piping for the transportation of compressed air. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently cited the manufacturer for the use of the piping and OSHA officials believe that this accident was wholly foreseeable.

“Management knew the dangers associated with transporting compressed air through PVC piping but chose to put employees at risk. Unfortunately, the practice resulted in a worker being injured,” said an OSHA spokesperson. “It is the employer’s responsibility to assess workplace hazards and ensure that corrective measures are taken to protect employees.”

Source: OSHA, “US Department of Labor’s OSHA cites Florida manufacturer for willful and serious safety violations, proposes nearly $110,000 in fines,” Region 4 News Release: 11-1729-ATL, Dec. 27, 2011

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