Workplace safety and the rights of injured workers are two topics that require constant vigilance. Without continually reasserting these rights and demanding safe work spaces, workplace conditions erode. In recent years, workers’ compensation laws in Georgia and across the nation have weakened. In such a legal environment, workplace accidents become more likely and workers have a much more difficult time qualifying for compensation after a workplace injury.

In today’s post, we’ll be looking back at a horrific workplace accident that caused 21 deaths and dozens of injuries. It is a reminder of the types of accidents that used to be commonplace prior the passage of strict safety laws and the creation of workplace safety agencies like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

It was on this week in 1919 that 21 people lost their lives in an accident at the United States Industrial Alcohol Company building in Boston. Around lunch time on January 15, a 58-foot-tall tank burst open, letting loose some 2.5 million gallons of hot molasses. The sticky liquid flowed in 8-foot waves through the factory, into the basement and out into the street.

The rush of scalding liquid knocked over the support beams for an elevated train line, knocked over a local firehouse and drowned and burned nearly anyone in its path.

The tank that had been holding the molasses was not strong enough for its contents, and the company was ultimately deemed liable for the disaster that killed 21 people, injured dozens more people and killed dozens of horses.

Thankfully, workplace accidents like this are rare in the United States today. But we cannot let ourselves become complacent about practicing safety and demanding a safe work environment.

If you have been injured on the job, exercising your rights includes seeking the compensation you are entitled to. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can guide you through this process and fight for your best interests at every step.