Burn injuries from workplace explosions are among the most severe and traumatic types of injuries that can occur on the job. These injuries not only cause immense physical pain but also have profound psychological and economic impacts on the victims and their families. Understanding the causes, prevention, and treatment of burn injuries is crucial for creating a safer working environment.

Below, the workplace explosion lawyers at Kherkher Garcia discuss the common causes of workplace explosions, and how employees can respond to injuries in a way that protects their safety, wellbeing, and legal rights.

Causes of Workplace Explosions

Workplace explosions can occur in various industries, but they are most common in manufacturing, construction, mining, and chemical processing. Several factors contribute to the risk of explosions in these settings:

  • Flammable Materials: The presence of flammable gases, liquids, and solids can significantly increase the risk of explosions. These materials can ignite from a spark, static electricity, or other heat sources.
  • Improper Storage and Handling: Inadequate storage and handling of hazardous materials can lead to accidental spills, leaks, and vapor releases, which can then be ignited.
  • Equipment Malfunctions: Faulty or poorly maintained equipment, such as boilers, electrical systems, and machinery, can generate sparks or heat, causing explosions.
  • Human Error: Mistakes made by workers, such as improper use of tools, failure to follow safety protocols, or negligence, can lead to explosive incidents.
  • Environmental Factors: External factors like extreme temperatures, humidity, and lightning can also contribute to the likelihood of explosions.

Most Common Injuries in Workplace Explosions

Workplace explosions can result in a variety of injuries. These injuries can range from minor to life-threatening and often involve multiple systems of the body due to the complex nature of explosion dynamics. Some common types of injuries resulting from workplace explosions include:

Burn Injuries

Burn injuries are the most common injuries sustained in workplace explosions. These injuries can vary in severity and are classified into three categories:

  • First-Degree Burns: These are the least severe and affect only the outer layer of the skin (epidermis). Symptoms include redness, pain, and minor swelling. First-degree burns typically heal within a week without leaving scars.
  • Second-Degree Burns: These burns affect both the outer layer and the underlying layer of skin (dermis). Symptoms include intense pain, blisters, and severe swelling. Second-degree burns can take several weeks to heal and may result in scarring.
  • Third-Degree Burns: These are the most severe burns and affect all layers of the skin, potentially damaging underlying tissues such as muscles, nerves, and bones. The skin may appear charred, white, or leathery. Third-degree burns require extensive medical treatment and can lead to permanent scarring and disability.

Blast Injuries

There are various types of blast injuries that can occur in an explosion, such as:

Primary Blast Injuries: These are caused by the blast wave itself, which can damage internal organs and tissues without causing external wounds. Common injuries include:

  • Pulmonary Barotrauma: Lung injuries, such as pneumothorax (collapsed lung) and pulmonary contusion (bruising of the lung tissue).
  • Tympanic Membrane Rupture: Eardrum rupture, leading to hearing loss and vertigo.
  • Abdominal Injuries: Damage to the intestines, liver, and other organs, potentially causing internal bleeding.

Secondary Blast Injuries: These are caused by debris and shrapnel propelled by the explosion. Injuries include:

  • Penetrating Trauma: Lacerations, puncture wounds, and impalements from flying debris.
  • Eye Injuries: Penetration or impact injuries to the eyes, potentially causing blindness.

Tertiary Blast Injuries: These occur when the force of the explosion throws a person into a solid object or the ground. Injuries include:

  • Blunt Force Trauma: Broken bones, concussions, and internal organ damage from impacts.
  • Crush Injuries: Severe trauma from being trapped under debris or heavy objects.

Quaternary Blast Injuries: These include all other explosion-related injuries not categorized above, such as:

  • Burns: Beyond the primary burns mentioned earlier, victims might suffer from thermal, chemical, or electrical burns.
  • Inhalation Injuries: Damage to the respiratory tract from inhaling smoke, toxic fumes, or hot gases.

Orthopedic Injuries

Orthopedic injuries may occur during the explosion, or during any resulting attempts to help others or escape the blast area. Common orthopedic injuries include:

  • Fractures: Broken bones in various parts of the body, including the arms, legs, ribs, and spine.
  • Dislocations: Joints, such as shoulders, elbows, and knees, can be dislocated due to the blast force or impact with objects.
  • Soft Tissue Injuries: Sprains, strains, and tears of muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

Head and Brain Injuries

Head and brain injuries are not uncommon in explosions due to the movement of the body and flying debris. Some possible injuries include:

  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): Ranging from mild concussions to severe brain damage, TBIs can result from the blast wave, impact with objects, or being thrown by the explosion.
  • Skull Fractures: Resulting from direct blows to the head.
  • Scalp Lacerations: Cuts and abrasions on the scalp, which can lead to significant bleeding.

Facial, Eye, and Ear Injuries

Injuries to the head can also impact the face, ears, and eyes. Some common injuries to these areas from explosions include:

  • Lacerations and Contusions: Cuts and bruises on the face from debris or impact.
  • Orbital Fractures: Fractures of the bones surrounding the eyes.
  • Loss of Vision: Temporary or permanent vision loss due to direct trauma or exposure to bright flashes.
  • Hearing Loss: Temporary or permanent hearing loss due to eardrum rupture or nerve damage.
  • Tinnitus: Ringing or buzzing in the ears caused by blast exposure.
  • Vertigo and Balance Issues: Resulting from inner ear damage.

Respiratory Injuries

Respiratory injuries are very common in explosions and fires, particularly due to:

  • Smoke Inhalation: Damage to the lungs and airways from inhaling smoke and toxic fumes, which can lead to respiratory distress or failure.
  • Chemical Inhalation: Exposure to hazardous chemicals released during the explosion, causing burns to the respiratory tract or systemic toxicity.

Explosions often cause multiple injuries across various body systems simultaneously, complicating treatment and recovery. Victims may require comprehensive, multidisciplinary medical care to address the wide range of injuries sustained.

Immediate Response to Burn Injuries

The immediate response to burn injuries from an explosion can significantly impact the severity of the injury and the victim’s recovery. Here are some crucial steps to take:

  • Ensure Safety: The first priority is to ensure that the victim and others are safe from further harm. Evacuate the area if there is a continuing threat of explosions or fire.
  • Call Emergency Services: Contact emergency medical services immediately to provide professional care for the injured person.
  • Cool Burns: For minor burns, cool the affected area with running cool (not cold) water for at least 10-20 minutes. This helps reduce pain and swelling.
  • Protect Burns and Injuries: Cover the burn or injury with a sterile, non-adhesive bandage or clean cloth to protect it from infection.
  • Avoid Home Remedies: Do not apply ice, butter, or ointments to severe burns, as these can worsen the injury and lead to complications.

Treatment and Recovery

The treatment and recovery process for burn injuries can be lengthy and complex, often requiring specialized medical care.

Medical Treatment

  • First-Degree Burns: Treatment usually involves applying topical creams or ointments to relieve pain and prevent infection. Over-the-counter pain relievers can also help manage discomfort.
  • Second-Degree Burns: These burns may require more intensive treatment, including prescription pain medications, antibiotics to prevent infection, and wound care to promote healing. In some cases, skin grafting may be necessary.
  • Third-Degree Burns: Treatment for third-degree burns often involves surgery, such as skin grafts and reconstructive procedures, to repair damaged tissues. Intensive care and long-term rehabilitation are typically needed.

Psychological Support

Burn injuries from workplace explosions can have a profound psychological impact on victims, leading to conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety. Psychological support, including counseling and therapy, is essential for helping victims cope with the emotional aftermath of their injuries.


Rehabilitation is a crucial component of recovery for burn victims. This can include physical therapy to restore mobility and function, occupational therapy to help victims regain independence in daily activities, and vocational training to assist them in returning to work.

Prevention of Workplace Explosions

Preventing workplace explosions and the resulting burn injuries requires a comprehensive approach that includes:

  • Risk Assessment: Conduct regular risk assessments to identify potential hazards and implement measures to mitigate them.
  • Safety Training: Provide ongoing safety training for employees, emphasizing the importance of following safety protocols and proper handling of hazardous materials.
  • Maintenance and Inspection: Ensure that all equipment and machinery are regularly inspected and maintained to prevent malfunctions.
  • Emergency Preparedness: Develop and regularly update emergency response plans, including evacuation procedures and first-aid training.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Provide appropriate PPE, such as flame-resistant clothing, gloves, and face shields, to protect workers from burns.

Burn injuries from workplace explosions are devastating events that require immediate attention and long-term care. Ensuring a safe working environment is not only a legal and ethical responsibility but also a crucial factor in protecting the health and wellbeing of employees.

Getting Help after a Workplace Explosion

If you or a loved one has suffered burn injuries from a workplace explosion, you deserve experienced legal representation to help you navigate the complexities of your case. At Kherkher Garcia, we understand the devastating impact that burn injuries can have on your physical health, emotional wellbeing, and financial stability. Our dedicated team of workplace explosion lawyers is committed to fighting for your rights and securing the compensation you need for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.

Contact Kherkher Garcia today for a free consultation to discuss your case and explore your legal options. Our compassionate and knowledgeable attorneys will work tirelessly to build a strong case on your behalf, providing the support and guidance you need every step of the way. With our extensive experience in handling burn injury and work injury claims, you can trust us to advocate for your best interests and pursue the maximum compensation you deserve.

Call us at 713-333-1030, or complete our online contact form to take the first step towards reclaiming your life after a workplace explosion.

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Steve Kherkher

Steve Kherkher

Founding Partner and Trial Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Injury Trial Lawyer and Founding Firm Partner Steve Kherkher. Steve has been a practicing injury lawyer for more than 30 years. He has won $300 Million+ in Settlements and Verdicts for his clients. He is a force to be reckoned with in the courtroom and the trial lawyer you want on your side if you or a loved one have been catastrophically injured.

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