In response to the rising prices of gasoline and a number of environmental concerns, a growing number of companies are switching to compressed natural gas as an alternative fuel for their transportation vehicles. Although this trend may seem appealing from an ecological and economic standpoint, compressed natural gas vehicles can create increased risks for injury in the workplace.
The risk posed by compressed natural gas vehicles is well illustrated by an incident that occurred in Pasadena in 2009. Three individuals working for California Linen Services were severely injured while refueling a compressed natural gas delivery truck. Without warning, the truck’s tank suddenly exploded, destroying the vehicle and launching the tank more than 1,000 feet into the air. The explosion is believed to have been the result of improper maintenance and inspection of the vehicle’s natural gas tank.
The reason compressed natural gas vehicles are prone to sudden and catastrophic failure lies in the fact that they contain highly flammable fuel, which is stored under immense pressures. Although routine inspection and maintenance can significantly reduce the risk of explosion, it’s all too common for such crucial vehicle maintenance to lapse.
To further complicate this issue, compressed natural gas tanks are typically located on the bottom of vehicles. When the suspension becomes worn, as commonly occurs with transport trucks, this can cause the tank to scrape on the ground, compromising its integrity and potentially causing an explosion.
If you or someone close to you has been injured as a result of a compressed natural gas explosion, it’s important to contact a personal injury attorney immediately. What may appear to be a simple, unexplainable accident may actually have been the result of negligence through improper maintenance or handling of a compressed natural gas tank.