If you were injured or a loved one was killed in a boiler explosion, you may be able to sue the companies responsible, including the manufacturer, the boiler owner, the building owner, and/or a maintenance company.
Boiler explosions happen when excessive pressure causes a catastrophic failure. The impact of an excessive pressure explosion can demolish a building. There are two types of boiler explosions:
- A failure of the steam-water system, which can be caused by a leaking valve, corrosion, or low-water level.
- A fuel or air explosion in the furnace (also called a firebox explosion), which can occur when there is a failure to purge combustible gases from the firebox before ignition is attempted.
A boiler explosion can cause serious injuries or death from the initial shock wave, flying debris, steam, and heat. The Pritzker Hageman attorneys represent explosion victims and their families. We have gone up against large companies to win hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients.
Boiler Explosion Causes
Design or Manufacturing Flaws
When a design or manufacturing flaw causes a boiler explosion, there may be a product liability claim against the manufacturer, the owner of the boiler, and others. These claims are “strict liability claims,” which means that the injured party does not have to prove that there was negligence on the part of the manufacturer. Design flaws and manufacturing defects could include any of the following.
- Improper material selection
- Poor structure design
- Lack of safety accessories
- Poor assembly
- Inadequate testing
- Inadequate inspection
When improper management leads to a boiler explosion, the companies responsible may include the owner of the boiler, the owner of the building, and others. Improper management can include any of the following.
- Failure to provide safety equipment
- Failure to provide the necessary water
- Failure to prevent excessive pressure
- Failure to monitor
- Failure to detect a problem
- Failure to operate the boiler in the manner prescribed by the manufacturer
When a boiler explosion happens after negligent maintenance, the owner of the boiler, the owner of the building, and others may be liable. Burn injuries from a boiler explosion can be caused by several factors. In many cases, more than one company is found liable.
Examples of Boiler Explosions At Work
For more information about suing for an injury at work, please read “Should I Hire A Lawyer If I Was Injured At Work?“
- An employee is cleaning the outside of a boiler when it explodes. The employee is struck by shrapnel from the boiler and knocked to the ground.
- Two employees of a demolition company are disassembling a boiler when an explosion occurs. The employees were told that the gas line had been properly disconnected, but it is determined that there was still natural gas running to the boiler.
- An employee of a company suffers severe burns and lacerations when a boiler explodes nearby where he was working.
- Two employees are killed when a firebox explodes as they try to light a boiler.
- An employee of a food processing plant is transporting pallets of food products when she sees an explosion in the boiler room in front of her. She covers her face right before she experiences the impact. Her arms are burned, and her body is struck by shrapnel from the explosion.
- Two co-workers are restarting a boiler when it explodes. One of the employees sustains a fatal blunt force trauma when he is thrown into another structure by the explosion blast. The other employee is taken to the hospital to receive treatment for burns and other injuries.
- While a person is thawing a frozen sewer line, the steamer boiler explodes, killing the person.
Boiler Explosion News and Investigations
Boiler Explosion at Loy-Lange Box Company
In 2017, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) investigated a pressure vessel explosion that killed three people and injured four others at Loy-Lange Box Company in St. Louis, MO. One person who died was an employee. The other two people died when the boiler flew through the air and landed on a nearby laundry facility.
CSB investigators looked into whether any regulations were violated, whether industry standards were followed, and if safety protocols were followed. The investigation found evidence that the boiler explosion happened when the pressure vessel, which had a history of leaks, ruptured.
Boiler Explosion at NDK Crystal Manufacturing Company
In 2009, CSB investigated an explosion involving a high pressure vessel at the NDK Crystal Manufacturing Company in Belvidere, IL. Sadly, a truck driver at a nearby gas station was killed by flying debris from the boiler explosion. CSB investigators found that the boiler was severely corroded and had not been inspected for years.