Connecticut and her neighboring states are dotted with small manufacturing plants. Many of these facilities use chemicals that can cause fires and explosions if they are mishandled or used improperly. A recent factory explosion in eastern New York state shows how even the manufacture of mundane products such as cosmetics can produce a devastating workplace accident.

The incident occurred at a factory that is located in a small town about 55 miles north of New York City. At about 10:15 a.m. on November 20, 2017, the first of two explosions tore through the factory. A second explosion occurred about 25 minutes later. About 125 workers out of a total of 250 were injured in the two blasts. Most of the injuries were non-life-threatening and were quickly treated. One individual was reported to have been killed by the explosions. The ensuing fire sent clouds of thick black smoke into the sky, and more than 100 firefighters were required to extinguish the fires.

Investigators have not pinned down the cause of the explosions, but the factory uses many flammable chemicals to make its products, which include nail polish, cosmetics, personal care products, lotions, and fragrances. The company that operates the factory was cited for nine safety violations by the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration. One of the citations concerned problems with handling combustible liquids. Several of the violations concerned the lack of proper respirator masks for employees and the maintenance of emergency exit routes. Investigators have not yet said whether any of these violations are related to the two explosions and fire.

Much information about the cause of the explosions and fires must await the completion of a detailed investigation. In the meantime, workers who were injured in the accident and the family of the deceased man may be able to recover workers’ compensation to help ease their financial burden caused by unexpected medical expenses and lost wages. If the accident was caused or contributed to by any third parties, then those parties may also be held liabile for workers’ injuries. These legal matters can be complicated, though, and may therefore require the assistance of a qualified legal professional

Source: CTPost, “People hurt in cosmetics factory explosions, fire tops 125,” Nov. 21, 2017