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Blue Rhino Plant in Florida Bursts into a Series of Explosions

Monday night, a burst of explosions occurred at the Blue Rhino propane plant near Orlando, Florida, shooting 20-pound propane tanks high into the air. Apparently, it started when a fireball exploded outside of two warehouses. At least 50 homes in the vicinity were evacuated until the explosions were over and things had settled down. When it was over, there were tens of thousands of exploded tanks burying the parking lot next to the two warehouses.

An employee who was at the plant took an injured forklift operator who was covered in burns to the hospital. He said the forklift operator thought the explosion was probably the combined result of "human error and bad practices." The forklift operator allegedly kept repeating that he did what he was told to do, and then the explosion happened.

The employee from the plant wasn't quite sure what he meant. He wasn't sure if what triggered the explosion was from something the forklift operator did or from something else.

Eight people were injured during the explosion, with four in critical condition. An investigation is currently underway by both federal and state employees to determine the cause of the accident. No criminal activity has been found at this time.

The Tavares fire chief said that equipment failure and human error were possible causes of the disaster. The disaster could have been much worse. There were apparently three-30,000 pound propane tanks nearby at the plant, and if they had caught fire, it could have been catastrophic.

The Blue Rhino plant was previously inspected by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in November 2011 and required to pay a $2,295 fine for an OSHA violation. Apparently, an air hose was missing from a consumer tank refurbishing process.

If you have suffered workplace accidents at your place of business, whether it is from falling off a ladder, a slip and fall accident, or someone's negligent operating of machinery, you are entitled to worker's compensation. If the accident was due to negligence on the part of the company, they may have violated OSHA policies. You should contact a defense lawyer who is familiar with OSHA and their rules and regulations.

Source: huffingtonpost.com, "Florida Propane Plant Explosion Remains Under Investigation" Mike Schneider, Jul. 31, 2013

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