A worker was killed and two others were injured when an equipment malfunction caused an explosion at a Mersen USA plant in St. Mary’s Pennsylvania.
The industrial accident, wherein an oven exploded, occurred at 9 a.m. on Thursday, January 30, 2014. The company has not commented on the cause of the explosion, but the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is investigating the incident.
According to news reports, the explosion killed 52-year-old Arwed Ralf Uecker. Uecker was the global director of research and development for Mersen and was visiting the plant from the company’s Boonton, New Jersey office. The victim was married with two children and enjoyed travel and photography.
Production supervisor Neil Carter suffered serious injuries. A spokesperson for Mersen USA said that the quick action of an internal response team saved the life of the 57-year-old man. He was taken to a Pittsburgh hospital for treatment of unspecified injuries. He remained in the hospital in stable condition.
A third worker was also taken to the hospital and treated and released.
The explosion was the second worker death at the St. Mary’s plant. In 2012, a worker died in a forklift accident. Mersen was cited for safety violations.
The company will be fined again if OSHA investigators determine that Uecker’s death is the result of additional safety standard violations. Since this is the second death in five years, any penalties would be increased by 10 percent.
The workers’ compensation attorneys at Mednick, Mezyk & Kredo, P.C., would like to offer our condolences to Dr. Uecker’s family.