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Horrific explosion leaves worker with burns on 70 percent of body

Workplace injuries often take more than just a physical toll. Throughout Wisconsin and the mid-west, a work injury can spell huge financial costs that leave a heavy burden on the friends and family of those hurt by workplace accidents. This was the case for one 27-year-old worker who was severely injured during a factory explosion on May 2.

The young man was working with a hydraulic forge press when it exploded and caught fire. After the explosion, he was left with severe burns on almost three-quarters of his body. Thankfully, with the help of EMTs and a helicopter transport crew, he was able to make it to the hospital. OSHA is investigating the cause of the explosion.

Of course, second and third-degree burns don't heal overnight. Doctors say that he will be spending the next four to six weeks in intensive care and another three to four months in a rehabilitation center. This has left his Michigan family with an enormous amount of debt, with more likely in the weeks and months to follow. Their friends and community have been supportive and have set up fundraisers and bank accounts for donations, but years of likely medical treatment will weigh heavily on the man, as it does for most who suffer near fatal injuries in the workplace.

Fortunately, workers' compensation benefits will likely provide important coverage for the injured man's medical expenses and lost income from this work injury. While the benefits may not cover all of the expenses related to the substantial injuries, they should help, particularly in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy as the family and victim struggle to cope emotionally and financially. With such potentially significant costs related to a catastrophic injury, every effort will be necessary to ensure prompt filing of a claim that is properly prepared and documented so that all available benefits can be received as quickly as possible. This is equally true for any Wisconsin worker injured on the job and entitled to the benefits that workers' compensation provides.

Source: Press and Guide, "Friends rally to aid Lapeer man burned in Oxford industrial accident," Monica Drake, May 16, 2012

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