A 62-year-old facility mechanic in the Philadelphia school system passed away on May 18 in connection with injuries that he suffered in a workplace accident earlier in 2016. The January 13 accident occurred as the employee was attempting to bring a boiler online that had been out of service for the previous year. He suffered third-degree burns in the incident and was kept in a doctor-induced coma during the time following the injuries.
The accident was still being investigated in late May, and a forensic engineer was involved in evaluating the matter. Officials indicate that the boiler at issue was inspected in 2015 and had passed. Since the incident, the city schools' boilers have been inspected with 11 being taken out of service to facilitate major repairs. Nearly 60 percent of the 542 boilers inspected required at least minor repairs. Officials confirm that all repairs will be handled prior to the heating season for the upcoming academic year.
Reports indicate that the family of the decedent is working with a lawyer in the matter. While there is an active investigation into the fatal accident, there has not been any indication about a potential lawsuit. Losses and damages related to workplace accidents are normally addressed through the workers' compensation program for a business, but in extreme cases that result in major injuries or death, there may be an interest in further investigation to determine whether any serious negligence has contributed to the incident in question.
A family faced with the loss of a loved one through a work-related injury might find it to be challenging to get information about potential safety violations contributing to the situation. Legal assistance might be helpful for gaining access to inspection information and other reports and records related to a serious workplace accident.