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Steel plant worker seriously burned in Pennsylvania

On Jan. 7, a steel plant worker was seriously injured at Conshohocken Steel when his clothing caught fire. The accident happened at about 10:40 a.m. as the man stood too close to a portable propane heater with an open flame. Other employees rolled him on the floor and used a fire extinguisher to put the fire out. The injured worker was airlifted to a burn center.

The Conshohocken Steel plant where the workplace injury was suffered does not have heat in the area where the employees make large steel trash cans, and the worker was trying to warm himself when the incident happened. However, the fire marshal says that the open-flame portable propane heater should not have been used indoors and that people using such heaters need to use extreme caution, including those who use them outside.

The fire marshal went on to describe other actions that could be taken in order to prevent fires, such as not using candles for light or heat and disposing of wood ashes in metal containers away from buildings. He recommends that carbon monoxide and smoke detectors be used appropriately and checked regularly and that stoves and ovens can cause carbon monoxide to build up and should not be used for heating a home.

The law requires that workers receive payments for injuries or disabilities that arise in connection with a job. Since this steel plant worker was injured while he was at work, workers' compensation should cover the cost of his medical expenses. It could also cover reparation for permanent injuries and replacement income while the worker is recuperating from the burns. If a workplace accident claim is denied for any reason, the employee may be eligible to take legal action against his employer.

Source: The Times Herald, "Norristown man seriously injured at Upper Dublin steel plant", Linda Finarelli, January 07, 2014

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