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Blast at La Habra plant could leave employer liable

As workers’ compensation defense attorneys, we deal with a number of situations involving fraud involving workers who are not genuine about their injuries. However, there are instances where an employer may be liable for the injuries workers may suffer. In those instances, claims are to be handled through the California workers’ comp system.

Nevertheless, there are some unique situations where injured employees may seek civil damages against an employer who is found to be especially negligent when it comes to keeping a safe working environment. While it remains to be seen if an employer in La Habra will be held liable in this fashion, the circumstances leading to a powerful explosion are certainly noteworthy. 

The explosion occurred at Gorilla’s Polishing Corporation. Firefighters responding from the Los Angeles County Fire Department arrived with the building engulfed in flames. Employees at a nearby business described the explosion as being like a sonic boom or concussion bomb, since it rattled their windows.

According to the LA Times, 11 employees at Gorilla’s were injured.

Investigators believe that the explosion and subsequent fire can be traced back to an accumulation of dust and lint in an air duct system. Also, the business was cited by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health for several violations involving the containment of airborne contaminants.  This could be viewed as an employer being especially negligent and such negligence being the proximate cause of the employees’ injuries. In these situations, an employer can benefit from the experience and expertise of a seasoned workers’ compensation defense attorney. 

Source: LA Times.com “Eleven hurt in a blast at La Habra chrome polishing plant,” Adolfo Flores, April 29, 2014

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