A 64-year-old man from McKees Rocks who was injured working for United States Steel Corporation in Clairton two weeks ago has succumbed to his injuries and died Friday evening at UPMC Mercy.
The man was badly burned in the quench tower at the Clairton coke plant. The quench tower is used to cool the coke after it has been made and heated up through chemical processes in the plant's batteries. The coke oven converts coal to coke by baking the coal at a very high temperature. The newly made coke is then brought by railcar to the quench tower where it can be cooled and handled.
Although hospitalized for second and third degree burns all over his body, the cause of death has still not yet been released by the Allegheny County Coroner's Office. The cause of the accident also remains under investigation. U.S. Steel, OSHA, and other governing agencies are reviewing the accident and questioning the man's coworkers.
While no foul play has been rumored, the man's family and friends remain waiting to hear what actually happened that caused the man to be burned. Safety conditions for workers have been a heated debate around Pittsburgh of late with several people being hurt or killed at various industrial plants around our region since the beginning of the year. Ultimately, the family of the man in this tragedy wants to know who is responsible and what will be done assuage their loss.
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Worker dies two weeks after being burned at U.S. Steel's Clairton plant" 15 February 2014