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Steam boiler burns North Carolina man at mill

While working on a steam boiler with another employee during the afternoon of Aug. 5, a North Carolina man suffered burns to his thumb and arm, including his elbow. The workplace injury occurred in Catawba at the Resolute Forest Products mill. The man was reportedly wearing protective gear and used a safety shower to rinse himself off after being burned. He still required medical attention and was taken to a nearby hospital in Chapel Hill.

The man is reportedly receiving skin grafts for the burned areas at the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center. The employee who was injured and the employee with whom he was working are both long-time mill employees, according to Resolute officials. The injured worker had been inspecting the inside of a recovery boiler tank. After he opened the inspection port, the agitator was switched off. This let hot rinse water from inside the tank to get onto the worker, causing the burns.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration was notified of the accident. This is not the first time that an employee was hurt at the mill; two workers suffered burns while performing routine maintenance in May. The workers were reportedly hit by hot ash while removing waste that had accumulated in a boiler. Those employees worked in the mill's energy generator area while the latest injured employee worked in the powerhouse area.

When a worker suffers an injury on the job, he or she is generally entitled to workers' compensation benefits, such as any reasonable medical expenses. Other benefits may also be available depending on the circumstances of the injury, including partial payments for lost income, disability pay and payments for decreased earning potential. Workers' compensation is a no-fault insurance system, but the process of receiving benefits can be complicated and daunting, causing many to seek legal assistance in filing such a claim.

Source: Herald Online, "Catawba mill worker burned while inspecting boiler", Don Worthington, August 08, 2014

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