Two Atlanta Gas Light workers were injured in an explosion in Dunwoody, Georgia. They responded to reports of a gas leak at an apartment complex. Fortunately, firefighters were already at the scene because a construction crew damaged a gas pipe. A spark then ignited the leaking gas, causing the massive explosion that shook the ground as if there was an earthquake. Subsequent news reports said that one of the complex’s buildings was completely engulfed in flames, even igniting nearby brush.
According to the Red Cross, the explosion and fire displaced ten families, including a pregnant woman who was not injured. At this time, there is no word on the status of the workers.
Workers put in harm’s way
Gas leaks are an all-too-common danger to workers and customers. While customers are often innocent bystanders and victims, workers are only too aware of the job’s dangers. Nonetheless, these two workers in Georgia risked their lives trying to fix the leak.
This is just another example of the risks that workers with dangerous jobs face each day. Just like those who work in emergency services or serve in the military, utility workers go to work each day knowing that one mistake or accident could lead to their death.
Aging network means increased risks
The explosion in Georgia resulted from a pipe ruptured by construction workers not part of the utility company. Still, experts have raised the alarm about the aging network of natural gas pipelines. Most were built in the 1950s and 60s as part of the post-WWII boom, but some go back to the 1930s.
Age is not the only factor. Other potential dangers come from improper installation techniques, type of materials used (cast iron is particularly dangerous), lack of corrosion prevention and other issues.
What happens when workers are injured?
Workers in dangerous jobs (or their families) may have no choice but to file a Worker’s Compensation claim through their employer. However, the victims may still have options for a personal injury lawsuit. This could involve faulty or adequate safety equipment or improper training to best handle the job’s challenges. In the case of the explosion in Georgia, investigations into the cause could find that the construction company or even Atlanta Gas Light are responsible for the workers’ injuries.