Construction worker critically injured at MEA power plant

thanlon@adn.comJanuary 21, 2014 

A construction worker remained in the hospital Tuesday after suffering critical injures over the weekend at a Matanuska Electric Association power plant in Eklutna, officials said.

Two carpenters with Haskell Corporation, a contractor with the electric company, were installing trim on a 10-foot by 12-foot garage door Saturday when the accident occurred, said Ray Pierce, Haskell corporate safety director.

One carpenter on a man lift rolled the equipment into the other worker, pinning him to the door at the Eklutna Generation Station, Pierce said.

"The man lift can move forward and backward, up and down. They have to be able to transport to their work site," Pierce said. "So with any of those functions you can get hurt."

The worker was taken to the Alaska Regional Hospital where he underwent precautionary surgery to relieve pressure in his chest. His mother from Colorado and sister from Arizona traveled to stay with him at the hospital, Pierce said.

"The doctors are not giving us any estimations or predictions on how he's going to do, they're just saying that he is improving," Pierce said.

Both Haskell and Alaska Occupational Safety and Health are investigating the accident, Pierce said.

He said construction has not stopped at the Eklutna Generation Station site where about 100 Haskell employees have worked since August 2013.

Employees have begun collecting money for the injured worker.

"Whenever anyone gets hurt or hospitalized they just pass the hat," Pierce said.

Denali Daniels, MEA's acting communication director, said executives at the electric company found out about the accident Saturday.

"MEA is deeply saddened by the news of the incident," she said.

MEA currently purchases electric from Chugach Electric. When the power plant becomes operational around Jan. 1, the co-op will become a self-generating utility, Daniels said.

Reach Tegan Hanlon at thanlon@adn.com or 257-4589.

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