Chances are when Pittsburgh area residents think about work accidents, teachers are not the victims that usually come to mind. The reality however is that of course anyone can be injured while working, at any time. A Pennsylvania high school chemistry teacher has become all too aware of this. He was burned during a lab experiment.
The 35-year-old man was reportedly in the process of combining potassium nitrate and table sugar over heat, in a vessel described as being like a skillet, when an explosion occurred. As a result of the explosion, the teacher, who was apparently not wearing anything to protect himself, caught on fire.
A helicopter was called to transport the man to a hospital in Pittsburgh. His hands, neck, chest and face were burned. Fortunately, though the school was evacuated for a time after the explosion, no students were seriously hurt in the incident.
As is commonly the case in workplace accidents, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration is planning on commencing an investigation into the incident. Depending on the outcome of the investigation it is possible that citations and fines could be issued.
In addition to being painful, the recovery from burns is often lengthy. As the man, who many say is one of the most popular in the school, recovers from his injuries, it is highly likely that he will file a claim to try to recoup workers' compensation benefits. Once secured, these benefits could be used to cover lost wages and medical bills that are likely growing each day.
Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, "Derry high school teacher hurt when chemistry experiment explodes," Bob Stiles, Oct. 24, 2012