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Man files suffers work injury, files lawsuit against paper mill

A man who suffered a serious work injury when an explosion occurred at a Wisconsin paper mill is now seeking restitution from the company where the accident occurred. The man suffered a work injury in the form of serious burns to nearly half of his body while cleaning a dust collection tank at the plant. The man was actually employed by a company called Hydroblasters, which may have been liable for workers' compensation benefits related to the incident. Now, however, the man has filed a civil lawsuit against the company running the paper mill seeking restitution for his medical expenses in addition to the loss of income he expects to incur, along with other damages.

The accident happened in the wake of a fire in the dust collection silo which took place nearly two weeks before the subsequent explosion. The company allowed that initial fire to burn itself out rather than extinguishing it. Reports indicate that NewPage Employees noticed the existence of some type of unexplained warmth inside the silo just the day before the explosion. In fact, a supervisor reported that there was a glowing ember approximately 12 inches in length present on the coal dust deposits and evacuated the silo that day.

According to the lawsuit, however, no one associated with NewPage informed any of the Hydroblasters employees about having spotted the glowing ember or noticing any unexplained heat when they reported to work the next day. The worker who filed the lawsuit began to clean the dust collection tank, only to then be injured when an explosion and fire swept through the silo that he was cleaning. The man suffered mostly third-degree burns to a significant portion of his body and had to spend months inside a Wisconsin burn center.

The lawsuit alleges that the NewPage paper mill knew about the fire safety hazard but did not adequately warn Hydroblasters employees about the risk. It maintains that NewPage's failure to properly maintain the dust inspection site along with its failure to protect employees appropriately from the known safety hazard caused the man's work injury. Other workers who find themselves injured in a similar manner may wish to research their options for filing workers' compensation or personal injury claims in the wake of their injuries. This can help ensure that their medical and other expenses are covered when they have been injured through no fault of their own.

Source: Wausau Daily Herald, "Man injured in mill explosion sues NewPage," Feb. 26, 2013

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