On May 1, news broke that a fire had occurred at the Pactiv Advanced Packaging Solution facility near the Middle Georgia Regional Airport. Macon-Bibb County firefighters responded to the blaze at the packing plant—something that any Georgia resident should expect. Typically, people may expect that firefighters and other emergency responders can be exposed to hazards of the job. Obviously, firefighters are exposed to flames and smoke in any effort to control a blaze. But, firefighters may also suffer other forms of work-related injuries.
But, like in any type of profession, performing the duties of the job may lead to a work-related injury. During the fire department response to the fire at the packaging plant on May 1, a firefighter needed to use a heavy fire rescue saw to dig into a trailer parked at the plant’s loading dock. The saw was needed to cut through the smoldering trailer.
The firefighter, donning a 40-pound air pack as part of his protected gear, wielded the 30-pound saw as he cut into the trailer. Fire officials say that the worker must have twisted into an awkward position at some point during the firefighting operation. But the firefighter continued to work with the rest of the crew while firefighters extinguished the blaze.
About an hour after the firefighter had worked on cutting into the trailer, he found that he could barely move. He was loaded into an ambulance and taken to a hospital where doctors found a bulging disc slamming against one of the firefighter’s nerve roots. Last Friday, the firefighter underwent surgery to repair the damaged disc. It is unclear how long he will be out of work during his recovery from the back surgery.
Meanwhile, safety officials continue to investigate the workplace blaze. Fire officials have reportedly recommended safety improvements for the facility, which was heavily damaged by the fire. The productive facility reportedly will be rebuilt, and expanded before returning to production, according to The Telegraph.
Source: The Telegraph, “Macon firefighter recovering from injury in Pactiv blaze,” Liz Fabian, May 7, 2013
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