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Blast kills one, injures 15

U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited a communications utilities contracting company for allegedly causing a gas leak that led to an explosion in Kansas City. OSHA says the company may be fined for as much as $161,000.

The explosion occurred when a worker for the communications utilities contractor was drilling to lay fiber optic cable and hit a two inch gas line with an underground boring machine, say local and federal authorities. An hour later, there was an explosion at a nearby restaurant. One of the restaurant ‘s customers was killed in the explosion and at least 15 people were injured, including three workers for the company that was drilling. Nearby buildings were also damaged in the blast. An OSHA spokeswoman said that the communications utilities contracting company was responsible for the blast and that the tragic event was a result of insufficient training. Companies have the responsibility to teach their workers about on-the-job hazards, she said.

An attorney representing the communications utilities contractor said that she was merely making claims and that a legal process would force OSHA to present evidence to support those claims. The company’s lawyer said that the OSHA citations should not be seen as proof of the company’s legal responsibility in causing the explosion. He claimed that OSHA has set no regulations pertaining to safe underground drilling responsibilities.

Companies in Pennsylvania may do whatever they can to deny responsibility when it comes to cases involving workers’ compensation, personal injury or wrongful death. That is why it is often difficult to obtain a fair settlement. Personal injury lawyers may sometimes help when families are suffering from loss of income, medical bills or the loss of a loved one as a result of a labor accident.

Source: CNN, “OSHA cites contractor in explosion at Kansas City restaurant“, Chelsea J. Carter, August 15, 2013

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