GE Worker Hospitalized With Serious Burns After Accident In Building 5

By Jeff Tang

(LOUISVILLE) -- An accident at GE's Appliance Park left one man seriously burned. It happened Tuesday morning at the plant's refrigerator factory. WAVE 3's Jeff Tang has the latest on the investigation.

The worker's family has told GE it wants to protect its privacy concerning the accident, so we don't know much about his condition, only that he is seriously injured.

"Naturally we don't like to see injuries happen," says local union president Tommy Spires. But that's why they call them accidents. All we can do is pray for him and his family at this point."

GE officials say the man was working on an oven that is used to make insulation in refrigerator doors. Workers say either gas or steam shot out of the oven, seriously injuring the man.

Spires told us the injured worker was "the maintenance man. I understand that he had some burns to one side of his face and the left side of his arm. I know they've taken him to University Hospital."

Spires says the incident could have been even worse. "They did tell me that he had safety glasses on; had he not have had the safety glasses on, he probably would have been blinded."

After the accident, GE immediately closed down Building 5 and sent those workers home. Now officials have launched an investigation into what led up to the injury. Both the company and the union are stressing safety.

"Until they get someone from the gas company or the people that's in charge of this in there to make sure the two machines are safe, they're not going to ask anyone to go around them and do any work," says Spires. "So that says something on their part."

An employee of GE for 38 years, Spires believes Building 5 is a generally safe working environment, but admits risk is always involved in certain types of jobs. "When you leave there that day and you can look down and see all 10 of your fingers, you need to thank the Lord."

Spires says if the man survives, it would be another reason to be thankful. "We'll be praying for him, and hoping for the best."

The State Department of Labor is also investigating the accident.
Union president tommy spires tells me that several months ago a worker in the same building lost two fingers in an accident... But believes both of these incidents are simply freak accidents.