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1 hurt, 1 missing after Pennsylvania gas well explosion

One worker is missing and another is injured after an explosion ripped through a Pennsylvania gas well on Feb. 11. The explosion triggered an intense fire, and first responders at the scene were beaten back by the flames. The workplace accident occurred at about 7 a.m. near Bobtown in Greene County.

Emergency response teams moved quickly after news of the explosion reached them, and law enforcement officials set up a half-mile perimeter after closing all roads heading into the area. News of the missing worker and injured worker was relayed to the media by a representative of the energy company that operated the facility in a morning briefing. The representative was unable to say how many more workers may have been at the site at the time. The well had been undergoing final checks before being put online when the explosion happened.

The energy company also acted in the aftermath of the blaze, and a specialized firefighting team was drafted in from their Houston headquarters. The team, which tackles oil and gas well fires nationwide, arrived in Pennsylvania at about 1 p.m. They were expected to be transported to the site of the explosion to try to bring the fire under control.

Employers must take all reasonable safety precautions to protect their workers, and this is particularly true when the job is hazardous in nature. However, accidents can happen even when safety protocols are strict and followed. Worker's compensation is designed to assist Pennsylvania workers injured in a work-related accident regardless of the circumstances, but the laws are complex and the process can be challenging. An attorney with experience in this area could help injured workers who have had wage loss benefits denied or calculated incorrectly.

Source: observor-reporter.com, "One worker unaccounted for in Greene gas well fire", February 11, 2014

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