Two men were injured this month in a chemical explosion at the Mount Laurel campus of Rowan College. According to a police spokesman, the explosion was triggered by a temporary employee who lit a cigarette while sitting in his car just before his shift was to begin.
The 34-year old's man's car reportedly contained cleaning supplies because he was working for a custodial services contractor. One of those cleaning products, an aerosol, reportedly had leaked its contents inside the man's vehicle. The lit cigarette combined with the leaked liquid reportedly caused the explosion. The explosion was determined by the Burlington County Fire Marshal to be an accident.
The custodian, who is from Mt. Laurel, was taken to the burn unit of Temple University Hospital as a precautionary measure. Meanwhile, a 38-year-old man in a nearby car was also injured when the explosion blew out his windows. He was treated at a hospital for minor injuries and was released.
The car in which the custodian was sitting did not fare well. The explosion blew out all of the car's windows and caused the roof and doors to buckle.
The damage was contained to the parking lot. No areas inside the campus were damaged. No classes or other activities were interrupted.
This is an unusual case of workplace injury, to be sure. The question of who should be held accountable for these injuries may not be clear-cut. Does the temporary agency bear any responsibility for the custodian's actions or for the leakage of the product?
If you or a loved one has been injured on the job site, it's important to determine whom you can hold accountable for your medical bills, lost wages and other damages. A New Jersey attorney who is experienced with workers' compensation and employment law can help see that anyone and everyone who can and should be held legally responsible is brought to justice.
Source: NJ.com, "Cigarette sparks chemical explosion, injures 2 at N.J. county college," Michelle Caffrey, Dec. 17, 2015