An employee faces a slow, painful recovery after being burned over 40% of his body following a workplace explosion.
An explosion at Superior Asphalt in Grand Rapids, MI, left 34-year-old Bill Zetty with second and third degree burns on most of his upper body, including his arms, chest and face.
Doctors put Zetty in a medical coma because the burns were so painful. His sister, Penny Nagelhout, says when they change the dressings, not even the induced coma can keep him down. He wakes up in the worst pain.
Doctors won’t know for a while whether he’ll need to have skin grafts.
Although the exact cause of the explosion hasn’t been determined, the company owner told a local TV station that Zetty was lighting a torch head without realizing gas was leaking.
Zetty’s sister says her brother often worked long hours at the request of the company, sometimes as much as 30 hours straight.
“He could have been tired out of his mind,” she said. “Employers need to make sure employees are working the proper amount of hours.”
The U.S. Chemical Safety Board recently issued a safety bulletin outlining seven key lessons for employees about hot work in and around storage tanks.