Workers on construction sites are frequently required to dig under the ground and are frequently required to use heavy machinery when remodeling or erecting a building. Unfortunately, whenever digging is occurring, there is a risk a gas line will be punctured. Gas companies and municipalities are supposed to provide information on where gas lines are located. Unfortunately, sometimes maps and information are old or outdated or inaccurate or unavailable. This means there is always a serious risk of injuries occurring due to punctures or problems with the gas line.
When a gas line is damaged, a fire can erupt and a worker could be badly burned or killed. Punctures to gas lines can also result in workers breathing in toxins which can make them sick. Victims or their families can pursue a Pennsylvania workers' compensation claim for both injuries and illnesses which result from problems with gas lines encountered on-the-job.
Gas Line Risks a Big Problem for Philadelphia Workers
Issues with gas lines have become very common, especially in cities like Philadelphia where much of the infrastructure may be getting older. Philadelphia has some similarities to NY in terms of the risks of gas lines and just recently New York Post reported on workers who encountered a high pressure gas line when using a drilling rig.
According to the New York Post, there were 40 workers on the worksite when the drilling rig hit the high pressure gas line. The workers smelled the gas when the line was hit and were able to flee and escape the area. It was fortunate they were able to get away quickly from the location where the line was hit because "a geyser of flame" erupted. The flame was fortunately contained in the drilling rig and only one worker sustained a minor injury at the scene.
Gas Line and Burn Injuries Endanger Workers
In this recent incident, the fire burned so hot the windows melted at a nearby factory. The fire was classified as a two-alarm fire, and it reportedly occurred because the gas line which was hit wasn't marked properly.
Incidents with gas lines are far too common, sometimes because the gas lines aren't marked and other times because various mistakes are made. For example, another gas line incident also occurred this past January at a construction site at Ft. Worth. CBS indicated the gas line was hit during construction. The building was damaged and one of the workers sustained first degree burns.
Also this January, a contractor was fired according to KQED because there were five separate instances in which the company breached gas distribution lines. Authorities were concerned about liability and about the very real risk of injury since the company overseeing the contracted construction work had failed to take basic precautions to stop breaching gas lines.
While these incidents weren't deadly, gas line incidents can and do cause fatalities. New York Times reported a crack in a gas pipe in 2014 was the cause of a massive explosion. Two fire story buildings were taken down by the explosion, and eight people died. With so many instances of gas line problems occurring, obviously more needs to be done to protect workers who encounter these dangerous lines during their work days.