Natural Gas Accidents: The Risks Involved with Exploration, Production, Storage and Transportation

Natural gas accidents and explosions are more common than most people would like to think about, especially when considering that many homes and businesses in West Virginia, and throughout the United States, rely on natural gas as a source of fuel. And while home and business natural gas accidents do indeed happen, most serious accidents involve the exploration, production, storage, and transportation of natural gas.

What Causes a Natural Gas Explosion?

To understand the dangers of natural gas, it is important to understand that natural gas is explosive and there are various conditions that can lead to a natural gas explosion. According to an article published by The Atlantic and written by Nicholas Kawa, an environmental anthropologist at Ball State University, natural gas is explosive when mixed with air at a concentration of between five and 15 percent. This means that natural gas leaks – which are another thing that are much more common than anyone would like to think about – are problematic, and may be extremely dangerous when just a small amount of natural gas is leaking into an enclosed space.

Natural Gas Explosion Statistics

Natural gas explosions kill more than a dozen people every year, with an average of 17 lives being lost per year in natural gas combustion incidents. In addition to deaths, there are dozens of people who are seriously injured in natural gas accidents. Federal data indicates that in one year, there were 158 natural gas distribution pipeline incidents, leading to more than $30 million in property damage, 10 deaths, and injuries to 50.

Natural Gas Accidents and How They Happen

Exploring for, producing, storing, and transporting natural gas is dangerous. While there are many natural gas accidents that happen every year that most people hear nothing about, most people are familiar with some of the biggest natural gas accidents that have occurred over the years. Serious explosions like these can have tragic consequences.

In order to prevent against natural gas explosions, there are a number of very strict regulations in place that are designed to ensure workers’ safety. However, safety standards are not always met, and explosions can occur because of natural gas leaks that go undetected. For example, while natural gas pipeline explosions are almost always preventable, poor maintenance of pipes or valves, corrosion or metal fatigue of pipes, chemical damage, breaching codes during installation, dents, and more increase the risk of an accident. Accidents could also occur because employees are improperly trained, do not have the correct materials or gear, or because safety equipment is defective.

But natural gas accidents do not only involve pipelines; gas can also explode when it is being transported by tanker trucks or freight trains, or when stored in a leaking gas well. When natural gas is being extracted, the slightest error could have catastrophic consequences.

Liability for a Natural Gas Accident

 Natural gas accidents are often catastrophic. Not only do they cause deaths and serious injuries, but they can leave victims with disabilities, psychological injuries, property damage, an inability to work, and other economic and noneconomic losses. Because, as stated above, these accidents are almost always preventable, it is important that explosions are thoroughly investigated, the precise cause is determined, and at-fault parties are held liable for harm caused. There is no excuse for failing to provide workers with safety equipment, failing to maintain pipelines, or failing to violate other safety regulations.

At the law offices of Bailey, Javins & Carter, L.C., we work diligently to ensure that an at fault party is identified and held liable for harm that an injured party and their loved ones have suffered. In addition to natural gas companies, third parties, such as the manufacturer of a defective piece of equipment, could be to blame for a natural gas explosion that leaves people with devastating harm.

Contact Our Law Firm Today

Our natural gas explosion accident attorneys in West Virginia care about you, and are here to protect your right to seek damages when a natural gas explosion changes your life. If you have been injured in a natural gas explosion, or if you have lost a loved one, please contact Bailey Javins & Carter, L.C., today. Our firm has been protecting the rights of the injured since 1970 and our experienced injury attorneys are ready to help you and recover the damages you deserve. Please request your free consultation by calling us anytime at 800-497-0234. You can also request information by sending us a brief message.