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Gas explosion injures seven workers and kills homeowner

The purpose of workers' compensation in any state, including Pennsylvania, is to provide benefits to workers who sustain injuries in the performance of their work duties. Workers' comp typically covers medical expenses and lost wages, allowing workers to recover without financial worries so they can rejoin the workforce.

Recently, a gas explosion and subsequent fire in Ewing Township, New Jersey, just northeast of Philadelphia, killed a 62-year-old woman and injured seven private contract workers. The explosion leveled 55 condominium residences in a complex, 20 of which have been deemed uninhabitable, according to New Jersey authorities.

Ewing Police reported that the workers were digging on Crockett Lane when they hit a gas line and possibly caused the explosion. According to local officials, investigators are working to determine what triggered the explosion, but it is possible no one will ever know for certain. The ruptured gas line has been marked for investigators to examine.

A Pennsylvania-based private contractor who was initially involved in the utility work at the neighborhood site had been previously cited by a federal agency for numerous work-site problems and fined more than $100,000. Among the company's listed violations were failure to provide adequate protection to workers doing excavation work and failure to set out warning signs at work sites.

In this case, the injured workers automatically earn the right to file workers' compensation claims to obtain benefits that can be used to pay medical expenses and cover other debts or expenses, which may accrue due to lost income. Any worker who files a claim should check to find out the full extent of workers' compensation coverage for his or her injuries. If the claim is denied, the worker has the right to file an appeal.

In Pennsylvania, injured workers should consult a legal professional regarding workers' compensation issues and any related concerns. The legal professional can help them file their claims in order to receive fair and just compensation.

Source: The Times of Trenton, "Woman killed in Ewing explosion is identified as owner of townhouse leveled in blast," Alyssa Mease, Mar. 5, 2014

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