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WETM-TV posted an update (see below) on the explosion at the Dresser Rand plant in Painted Post that badly injured two local workers, Art Shurgars and Gerald Leach. We are relieved to hear that both workers seem to be medically stable. Both local and federal investigators are investigating the cause of this explosion but so far no one has any definitive answers.

One of the things you quickly learn as an accident lawyer is that there are an amazing array of dangerous jobs that expose workers to harm every day. Over the years, I have represented loggers, welders, construction carpenters, police officers, factory workers, firefighters, etc.. I never cease to be amazed by just how dangerous some jobs can be.

That’s why it is very important that employers take every step in their power to try to protect their workers from harm– whether it be safety equipment, safety training or implimenting safer ways of performing the work– it’s literally life or death for their employees, so it is critical that employers do what they can to provide a safer work environment.

Don’t get me wrong, I know sometimes things happen that no one could have anticipated or protected against. However, what makes me angry are the people who were hurt because an employer decided to save some $$$ on safety equipment or training. When that happens, sorry, but it is NOT an “accident”, it’s an injury or death just waiting to happen…

Thanks for reading,

Jim Reed
NY & PA Accident & Malpractice Lawyer

UPDATE: DR Explosion Investigation

Reported by: Staci-Lyn Honda
Email: shonda@wetmtv.com
Contributor: Katie Graham
Last Update: 6:12 am


Two workers were injured in Sunday’s blast. Dresser Rand officials say Art Shurgars was released from the hospital with moderate injuries on Monday. But Gerald Leach is in critical condition at Arnot Ogden Medical Center in Elmira. Dresser Rand officials say he has made it out of surgery and is stable.

The Painted Post Police Chief says the blast happened when a cylinder was being pressure tested with helium near the middle of the Painted Post plant.

“At some point during this test, parts of it failed and resulted in an explosion,” said Robert Halm.

But there are still more questions on what exactly went wrong. Occupational Safety and Health Administration officials are now at Dresser Rand, looking for answers. A regional OSHA Director says investigators will take pictures of the scene and interview witnesses. They will also find out if this could have been prevented. If Dresser Rand is found to be in violation of any OSHA laws, they could be fined. A former Dresser Rand worker who worked with the man that was seriously injured says he was a conscientious worker.

”I know he does everything by the book. So there’s gotta be something else that went wrong,” said Jack Rease.

Dresser Rand‘s Chief Safety officer is also investigating the blast.