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California gas tank explosion kills 1, injures 2

An unidentified worker died as a result of a gasoline tank explosion Dec. 11. In Central Valley Ranch, near Merced, the contract worker was grinding the second of the three 300-pound fuel tanks he was reconditioning when the tank exploded, according to state safety officials. The man's identity is currently unknown. Two other workers were also involved in the explosion but survived. Both were injured: one sustained serious burns and the other, who was likely to be released soon from the hospital, experienced less serious injuries. All three workers were originally contracted through Big Valley Labor Inc.

This incident is currently under investigation by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, often referred to as Cal-OSHA. Their goal is to ensure that all possible safety precautions were taken before the accident occurred and to seek ways to prevent such an accident from reoccurring in the future. It is likely they will focus initially on the cause of the explosion and how it could have been avoided.

The family of these workers may file a workers' compensation claim. One may file for workers' compensation if they are injured during the course of their employment, or if an accident occurred as a result of someone else's carelessness or negligence. This is meant to provide financial reimbursement for any medical bills incurred from the injury along with lost wages. In the case of the dead man, his family could also file a wrongful death suit.

In both cases, consulting with a lawyer may be useful in order to discover the full extent of someone's rights under the law. An attorney could negotiate with the employer in order to work out a favorable settlement for the family of the deceased.

Source: The Republic, "Official: Worker killed in Central Valley fuel tank blast was reconditioning tank", December 13, 2013

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