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4 of the deadliest workplace incidents in American history

Workplace accidents happen every day. Many are relatively minor, as workers suffer broken bones and similar injuries. Other accidents are fatal, taking lives one or two at a time. These accidents often do not make major headlines, but the sheer amount lead to a staggering amount of fatalities -- 5,190 in 2016, according to reports from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). That's over 14 fatal workplace accidents every single day.

Even though most incidents involve just one or two workers, American history is littered with examples of workplace disasters that took many lives. Here are four of the deadliest examples:

  • The Piper Alpha fire: An oil platform caught on fire in 1988, with over 200 workers on site. While 61 of them survived, a full 167 passed away in the explosion and subsequent fire.
  • The Pemberton Mill collapse: The mill was a five-story building when it collapsed. People were trapped in the rubble, which then caught on fire when a lantern tipped over. One hundred and forty-five workers passed away and 166 suffered injuries.
  • The Titan Missile Silo explosion: A broken hydraulic hose filled a missile silo in rural Arkansas with vapors. They caught on fire when they finally contacted a flame. A total of 53 workers passed away.
  • The Phillips Plant explosion. Accidentally, 85,000 pounds of explosive gas got released into this plant when a valve was opened. It took less than two minutes for the gas to fill the plant and explode. Firefighters then could not fight the fire because the explosion was so powerful that it tore off fire hydrants near the plant. Three hundred and fourteen workers were injured and 23 died.

No matter how large or small a workplace disaster was, if it took the life of a loved one, you need to know your legal rights.

Source: Code Red Safety, "The 10 Most Tragic Workplace Accidents in U.S. History," accessed May 15, 2018

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