Skibiel Law

Victim of September burn injuries still recovering

Owners of industrial companies in Georgia must train workers in the safe operation of machines and the prevention of accidental activation during repairs and maintenance. Supervisors must monitor workers to ensure compliance with safety regulations. A manufacturer of automotive bearing retainers was recently cited for 20 safety violations that were identified during an investigation that followed an accident in which a worker suffered severe burn injuries last September.

The accident involved a combustible dust explosion that was also the subject of four previous incidents of fire at this facility, says the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. In September, a 33-year-old employee suffered third-degree burns when a dust collector that he was operating exploded and engulfed him in flames. Now, more than six months after the incident, the worker is still recovering.

While investigating this accident, OSHA inspectors identified multiple other areas in the factory that posed injury hazards. These included unguarded machinery and the lack of enforcement of lockout/tagout procedures during the servicing and maintenance of machines. It was also determined that performance evaluations of operators of industrial vehicles were not done.

Victims of burn injuries typically have to face months of medical treatment and recuperation -- particularly in cases in which skin grafts have to be done. The financial consequences can place a heavy burden on the worker and his or her family. Fortunately, benefits claims may be pursued through the Georgia workers' compensation insurance system. All related medical costs will be covered, and compensation for a portion of lost wages will also be awarded.

Source:, "OSHA Cites Georgia Automotive Parts Manufacturer After Flash Fire Severely Burns Maintenance Technician", April 6, 2016

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