Alabama Worker Compensation News: Birmingham Man Injured in Industrial Explosion in St. Clair County, AL
An accident that happens at a place of employment -- also known as an “on-the-job” injury or worker accident -- can range from minor to severe. Although most people do not worry about having a mishap at work, the results can be devastating not only in terms of physical injury, but also financially. No matter where you work -- Huntsville, Tuscaloosa, Bessemer or anywhere else -- having the bread-winner of a household laid up due to an employer’s negligence can cause economic hardship many Alabama families cannot long endure.
As a Birmingham personal injury lawyer well versed in workman compensation cases, I understand that job-related accidents and their resulting work-related injuries can make life difficult for all concerned. Sadly, some industrial or commercial accidents occasionally cause fatalities. Every worker must take precautions not to allow himself to become injured on the job, however employers also bear a large part of the responsibility to protect their workers from potentially dangerous conditions.
As an injury attorney, I saw a recent news account that illustrated how quickly a life-threatening industrial accident can happen. According to reports, a man was injured in a mid-morning explosion at Trans-Cycle Industries of Alabama in Pell City, AL. The incident occurred around 9am as the worker was removing bolts from the top of a large electrical transformer.
Police in St. Claire County believe that the explosion resulted from the ignition of explosive gas which had built up inside the transformer. Apparently triggered by the worker’s plasma cutter, the explosion blew the top off transformer and threw the employee from atop the large piece of electrical equipment. Emergency personnel estimate the man landed approximately 20 feet from the point of the explosion.
According to police, 39-year-old Greg Smith of Birmingham, Alabama, suffered only a broken right leg. He was treated at the scene and then transported by ambulance to University Hospital in Birmingham.
According to the news report, TCI specializes in the cleaning and recycling of equipment contaminated by PCB heat resistant fluids, which were commonly used in the design of electrical transformers decades ago. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency banned the manufacture of PCBs in 1979 -- they are listed by the EPA as a probable cancer-causing agent.
A company spokesman for TCI stated that PCBs were not the cause of the accident and that the company was not certain at the time of the mishap what exactly caused the explosion. Whether or not the man will be able to collect workman's compensation is another question.
Of course, commercial and industrial accidents can be very dangerous and victims have been known to suffer permanent bodily injury and even death depending on the particular circumstances. At the time of the news article, it was unknown whether the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) would be investigating the accident, however it was stated that TCI has never had a serious work-related accident in its 17 years of operation in Pell City.
Explosion injures man at Trans-Cycle Industries Friday, TheStClairTimes.com, March 13, 2010