Every person in Pennsylvania has seen a tanker truck, either on the road or in a gas station parking lot, delivering its load so that others can fill up their own gas tank. But what most don’t realize is that the hardworking men and women who drive and work on these tankers are putting their health and lives on the line every day.
How Dangerous Is Working On An Oil Tanker?
It’s common knowledge that if a tanker truck is in an accident, the impact and the flammable contents of the tank could easily result in an explosion that could take the lives of anyone within a certain radius of the accident. But that’s not the only thing that puts workers at risk.
Fuel Tanks With A Defect Or Maintenance Issue
All fuel tanks are required to meet certain standards, as changes in pressure or heat can cause an explosion to occur. If the tank has a defect or if the owner of the truck fails to maintain it, then the employees working with it may be working near a ticking time bomb.
There is a reason why tanks are marked with instructions regarding what types of materials can be placed inside and how much the tank can hold. If overfilled, the weight can cause issues with pressure and result in overflow outside of the tank.
Tanks are equipped with valves and other mechanisms that control how and when vapors from inside the tank are released. If these don’t function properly, the vapors could be inhaled and cause serious respiratory health issues.
Poor Truck Maintenance
Even if the tank is properly maintained, a poorly maintained vehicle can cause a chain reaction that results in an accident. For example, a muffler system could cause a spark that could ignite the fuel.
These are just a few of the issues that trucking company employees working with tanker trucks face every day and accidents are reported frequently.
Pennsylvania Men Hurt In Explosion
Just recently, two men who work for Metzler Bros. LLC trucking company were flown from Duncansville, PA to a hospital in Pittsburgh, PA because they were involved in a blast while working on a tanker.
Although a full investigation into the matter has yet to be completed, what is known is that both men were working on cleaning the inside of a tanker when a flash fire occurred. One man was inside of the tank at the time and the other was standing on top of the tank. Both sustained serious burns and are lucky to be alive.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has already announced that they plan to perform a full investigation into the accident to determine if the proper safety procedures were being followed. It may take up to 6 months to complete this investigation.
Burns: An Expensive Injury
Serious burns, especially third-degree burns, take a long time to heal. It’s not unusual for patients to need months of hospitalization, skin grafts, and intensive physical therapy. If the burn goes deep enough, doctors may not be able to save the area that is damaged, resulting in amputation or the loss of functionality of a body part.
In addition to this, complications are common. Infections, graft failures, and rhabdomyolysis occur frequently, requiring additional medical care.
This typically leaves the victims with hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars in medical expenses – a financial burden many are unprepared to handle.
Situations like this one are why workers’ compensation was created. This insurance policy, which all Pennsylvania employers are required to purchase, provides injured workers with the coverage they need to pay for medical expenses that directly relate to their on the job injury. If the worker is hospitalized and unable to return to work for an extended period of time, it may also provide them with a portion of the wages they have lost.
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