Catawba mill worker burned while inspecting boiler

08/08/2014 12:49 PM

08/08/2014 5:37 PM

A worker at the Resolute Forest Products mill in Catawba was burned while working on a steam boiler, company officials said Friday.

The accident happened about 4:15 p.m. Tuesday during maintenance on a recovery boiler, which generates steam by burning by-products of the pulping process. The recovery boiler had been shut down, and two employees working on the equipment approached an adjacent tank that was being rinsed.

One of the employees opened an inspection port on the top of the tank to view the inside. While inspecting the tank, the agitator was turned off, allowing the hot rinse water inside to splash on the employee’s arm, elbow and thumb.

The employee immediately went to a safety shower to wash off any remaining rinse water from inside the tank, Resolute officials said. He was then transported to a local hospital. The employee, whom Resolute did not identify, is undergoing skin grafting on the burns at the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Both employees working at the recovery boiler were long-time employees of the mill and worked within the powerhouse area where the recovery boiler is located, company officials said. They were wearing all required personal protective equipment. The mill has reported the incident to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

In May, two mill employees were burned by “boiler ash” or “wood ash” while conducting routine maintenance in the energy generator area of the mill. They were cleaning out built-up waste in a boiler when they were hit by hot ash.

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