May 02, 2012 - A spokesman for the Detroit-based American Axle & Manufacturing (AMM) indicated it was a fire, not an explosion, at its Oxford facility May 1 that caused one of its workers to sustain burns so severe that he had to be airlifted to a Detroit hospital for treatment.
"The machine did not explode," said AAM Spokesman Chris Son. "There was a fire and that's basically what happened in terms of general details."
Oxford firefighters and paramedics were dispatched to MSP Industries (45 W. Oakwood Rd.), which is owned by AMM, to aid a 27-year-old Lapeer man, who had suffered second and third-degree burns over approximately 70 percent of his body as a result of an industrial accident.
According to the Oakland County Sheriff's report, the victim was operating a hydraulic forge press when it "exploded" and the worker "caught fire."
Son wanted to make it very clear there was no explosion.
"The machine caught fire," he said. "The press is still in tact."
The victim ran into the office where his supervisors "took him into the shower area" and "put him under cold water," the sheriff's report stated.
The victim was treated by Oxford paramedics until a helicopter arrived and transported him to Detroit Receiving Hospital.
Due to federal HIPAA privacy laws, Son could not provide any information on the Lapeer man's current medical condition.
"Obviously, we're concerned about his condition," he said. "We have representatives at the hospital to monitor his condition."
The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) is investigating the accident.
"We're conducting our own investigation to determine the root cause," Son noted. "Obviously, MIOSHA is conducting an investigation as well because there was an incident in a manufacturing working environment."
Son indicated these hydraulic presses are "pretty big" in terms of size.
"What we do from a metal forming perspective is press and mold parts," he explained. "When you think about the required force to press steel, the presses need to be pretty big."
In terms of height, Son said these presses are two to three times the size of an average person and "they're pretty heavy."
"A big press can't really explode," he noted.
Despite the accident, operations at MSP Industries are continuing.
"The plant is not shut down," Son said. "The plant is still running and producing parts."
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.