Severely-burned Alabama worker succumbs to injuries

An Alabama man who was burned over 90 percent of his body in an apparent work accident on June 2 has succumbed to his injuries. The 46-year-old Semmes man, who was a contractor for Ranger Environmental Services, was working in Calvert at Outokumpu when the tragic incident occurred.

Outokumpu, according to its website, is a company that makes stainless steel. It originated in Finland, but has facilities around the world. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, it has no previous violations.

Reportedly, the man was burned by a hot, ash-like substance that was dumped on him by other employees. There were no details provided about how that happened, and the company is not commenting.

The father of three was in the burn unit of USA Medical Center, where he underwent multiple skin grafts. He was expected to require hospitalization for months. However, on June 22, he had "multi system organ failure," according to his wife's attorney.

The man's wife had already filed a lawsuit over the incident, but her attorney says he expects to now add a wrongful death claim to it. The original suit alleged multiple counts of wantonness and negligence. In the meantime, a friend is organizing a memorial benefit in August to help out the family. The father and grandfather reportedly loved barbecuing, so the benefit will be a barbecue.

OSHA has started an investigation into the incident. However, for some reason, no complaint was filed for a week after it occurred.

While some jobs are inherently more dangerous than others, companies, contractors and employees still have a responsibility to follow proper safety procedures. When fatal accidents occur, families need to ensure that the appropriate safety agencies investigate the situation. It is always wise to seek legal advice to help ensure that those responsible for the incident are held accountable. Civil damages can go a long way to helping a family move on without undue financial burden after the loss of a loved one -- particularly a breadwinner.

Source: Al.com, "OSHA investigating death of Semmes man fatally burned at Outokumpu, lawsuit filed," June 27, 2014

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