Worker Dies after Exposure to Poisonous Gas Phosgene from Chemical Plant Leaks

A chemical plant worker in DuPont, West Virginia has died from exposure to phosgene that took place on January 23, 2010, according to a article. The federal Occupation Health and Safety Administration stated that inspectors are examining a series of leaks that shut down the eastern Kanawha County plant and caused the employee to die. The plant was closed temporarily due to three leaks being reported; however, one leak went undetected for an entire week. The plant is currently reviewing operating procedures and there are no pressing plans to begin production.

Phosgene is a colorless gas that, as demonstrated in this particular incident, can be extremely dangerous because its odor may not be noticed and symptoms of exposure are usually gradual to appear. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, those who have been exposed to an unsafe amount of phosgene are typically observed by doctors for up to 48 hours since it may take that long for symptoms to develop or re-emerge. Some delayed effects of phosgene exposure may include difficulty breathing, low blood pressure, coughing up white to pink-colored fluid as a sign of pulmonary edema, or heart failure. While most individuals who survive phosgene exposure experience a full recovery, many of those affected develop emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

Deaths that occur on-the-job or from chemical contact, whether they take place at a chemical plant, retail store, or office building, can bring about many challenges for a family to endure. When such tragic incidents come about due to a defective product, malfunctioning equipment, or because of the negligence of an employer, manager, contractor, or fellow employee, family members may seek compensation for their pain and suffering, loss, and associated financial expenses.

At the New Jersey personal injury law firm of Lependorf & Silverstein, we understand how difficult it is to lose a loved one due to another person’s negligence. Similarly, a worker who sustains serious injury from chemical exposure or a work accident may require months, if not years, of medical care and rehabilitation. If you have been injured or lost a loved one due to chemical exposure at work, call the Princeton chemical exposure workers compensation attorneys at Lependorf & Silverstein for a free consultation. We can help.

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