Texas man killed in industrial accident at Nucor Steel

Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 3:32 PM CDT
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MORGAN CO., Ala. (WAFF) - In the last month and a half at least three men have lost their lives while on the job in North Alabama.

The most recent death was Monday at Nucor Steel in Trinity.

According to the Decatur Police Department, Emergency Medical Services responded to the scene of the accident at approximately 8 a.m.

Decatur Police identified the victim of the accident as Don Burton, of Texas. Police say he was not an employee at Nucor but was working as an outside contractor with Delta Fabrication and Machine.

“We know there was a forklift being moved onto or off of a trailer and at some point it struck him or ran him over. The details are unclear,” said Chief Chris Phillips with Decatur Fire.

WAFF is told Burton was conscious as he was being transported to Huntsville Hospital, but his condition worsened and he later died at the hospital.

Attorney Tyler Mann tells me Alabama is not the worst but certainly not the best when it comes to workplace deaths. Where Alabama does fall to the bottom of the list: workers comp.

89: that’s how many people lost their lives on the job in Alabama in 2019. That year, more than 5,000 people died in workplace accidents nationwide. This is according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

But in the last few months, North Alabama has seen more and more deaths on the job.

Wesley Rusk died after being exposed to chemicals at Daikin in Decatur this August. Bobby Green was killed after a trench collapsed on top of him in John Hunt Park earlier this month.

And Monday Don Burton succumbed to his injuries after being hit by a forklift at Nucor Steel in Trinity.

“First of all our condolences go out to the families. All of us expect to come home when we leave our houses in the morning to go to work or take our kids to school and I can’t imagine the heartbreak that these families get when they get a phone call that says their loved one is not coming home,” Mann said.

Mann is not involved in these cases but says most workplace accidents are avoidable. Once someone is hurt or dies, the Alabama Worker’s Comp Act helps with the financial burden.

But Mann says it’s due for an update.

“Frankly it’s archaic. We have some of the worst laws in the country when it comes to protecting our workers. When some of this stuff was enacted decades ago, it’s never been changed to account for things like the rising cost of living and inflation,” Mann explained.

Statement from Delta Fabrication and Machine:

“It’s very unfortunate that it happened and we’re so sorry for the family and him. It’s under investigation right now,” said the company’s spokesperson.

The spokesperson also added Burton’s wife will be taken care of in response to funeral costs. However, they did not directly say they were paying for the funeral.

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