Worker injured at Union Tank Car

A worker was injured – not seriously, it seems – Wednesday morning in an accident at the Union Tank Car plant in Altoona.

The victim reportedly was taken to UPMC Mercy Trauma and Burn Center in Pittsburgh, where a hospital spokeswoman said a patient whose name matched the one reported to the Mirror as having been injured in the accident was discharged Wednesday afternoon.

The plant manager didn’t return phone messages left Wednesday afternoon.

The accident involved a tank car, according to Chris Robinson, acting director of the Pittsburgh office of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Robinson, who declined to confirm the victim’s name, didn’t know whether the incident happened inside or “just outside” the car.

“I can’t categorize it as an explosion,” he said.

It could have been exposure to a hazardous substance, he said.

The victim was “alert and conscious” afterward, according to reports made to OSHA, he said.

No other workers were hurt, as far as Robinson knows.

At least one OSHA investigator will be at the plant today to investigate, Robinson said.

A finding that the company did something wrong or failed to do something it should have could lead to a citation and penalty up to $7,000, according to Robinson.

The company has one previous OSHA violation.

It was for a problem with “hazard communication,” and it was “other than serious,” resulting in no monetary penalty, Robinson said.

There were two other complaints listed on the OSHA website, but neither led to violations.

The accident is the second railroad-related one in the area this month.

On Jan. 3, two workers for Norfolk Southern Corp. were burned by steam at the Juniata Locomotive Shop, according to OSHA.

Norfolk spokesman Dave Pidgeon on Wednesday reiterated his refusal to name the workers or tell how they’re doing, saying it was a personnel matter under investigation by both OSHA and the company.

Norfolk Southern is cooperating with the agency, he said.