A group of California firefighters is suing the Santa Clara Waste Water Co. over injuries they received while responding to a chemical explosion at the plant. An article reporting on the lawsuit says the firefighters suffered pulmonary and other injuries after battling a chemical explosion that the company's lawyer is characterizing as an industrial accident. The lawsuit alleges that the plant's employees were negligent in assuring the firefighters that the facility was safe to enter.
Firefighters face dangerous conditions as a prerequisite of the job. But that doesn't mean they are invincible, have no limits or take no precautions. What is in question in this case is not the fact that the conditions were dangerous, but rather the possibility that plant employees negligently gave assurances to firefighters that conditions were safe, while knowing that they were not.
Firefighters represent just one of many types of jobs that come with inherent dangers and risks. Many people willingly take on a certain amount of risk when they enter into such dangerous professions. Industrial workers of all types face the risk of accidents all the time, whether from electrocution, chemical spills, burns or accidents involving heavy machinery. In many cases, workers' compensation can provide adequate relief to help the injured pay medical bills and replacement wages while they recover. But when a third party's negligence (not a direct employer) causes a dangerous condition that leads to an accident that could have been prevented, workers may need to pursue legal action to get the help they need to pay medical bills, replace lost income and cover other expenses associated with the accident.
Taking a dangerous job doesn't mean that you consent to being harmed by another person's negligence. Workers who have been in an industrial accident should consult with a qualified personal injury lawyer to discuss their options.