Two Alabama workers suffered job-related injuries, one involving severe burns, in a blast that occurred at UTC Aerospace in Foley at 7:45 a.m. on June 21. It was believed that the explosion occurred when one of the injured workers was welding or working with a torch close to a drum that may have had flammable vapors in it, but the investigation is still pending. The entire facility of approximately 800 people was evacuated to in order ensure worker safety while the onsite response team put out the fire that resulted in the job-related injuries.
One of the workers' injuries were described as minor, but the other employee was flown by helicopter to a burn center in Mobile. A UTC media spokesperson said the company is maintaining close contact with the burn center regarding whether or not the worker's injuries are life-threatening. The second worker was injured as he responded to the blast and was taken to a local medical center for treatment.
Local city officials commented on the onsite response crew's prompt actions. Many of the plant's employees remained unaware of what was going on during the evacuation. Within two hours of the explosion everything appeared to be back to normal at the plant, which is one of Foley's largest employers.
The employees that suffered job-related injuries should be able to receive workers' compensation. When the full investigation is completed, however, it may be revealed that either the welding equipment or an improperly sealed or leaking drum may have contributed to the explosion. If so, the issue arises if a third-party liability claim is viable. In this scenario, allegations of negligence made be pursued against a third party -- other than the employer or a co-worker. In that case, the two Alabama workers may have recourse to civil remedies for compensatory damages incurred as a result of the explosion.
Source: hazardexonthenet.net, "Two UTC Aerospace employees injured in Alabama blast," June 24, 2013