Natural gas has become a common fuel for heat and other household uses throughout the United States. With this demand requires extraction, distribution and a lot of hard labor. Workers in the natural gas industry can face a dangerous workplace, and injuries can be severe.
Recently, Barasch McGarry Salzman & Penson, PC won a nearly $5 million settlement for two laborers, also twin brothers, who were seriously burned when there was a natural gas explosion during a repair to a water main at Coney Island. The firm also recovered $1.4 million for 120 injured and evicted residents of a Harlem apartment building after their homes were demolished by a gas explosion.
How gas accidents occur
Many natural gas accidents occur when workers (or property owners) excavate and accidentally encounter and damage a natural gas line. According to OSHA, which offers guidance on safety procedures, it is a serious problem when construction workers, utility workers or landscapers damage a natural gas service line — and then wait too long to contact qualified pipeline operators. Natural gas workers are the only ones who are qualified to assess an emergency gas line situation, and waiting to contact them can allow the gas to spread and contaminate and endanger a larger area.
In the home, there are same concerns about natural gas volatility. But in addition, the fuel system needs to be constructed and vented property, or it can result in the accumulation of carbon monoxide – another deadly gas. Energy providers, such as Con Edison in New York, provide access to safety tips and procedures to help consumers keep safe when using natural gas in the home, or when digging or building outside the home where service lines may be located.