Confined Space
News and Commentary on Workplace Health & Safety, Labor and Politics

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


A Fine -- And A Message: The Death Of Mike Morrison

Earlier this year, I published an article "The Loss of a Great Man," by Michelle Lewis, whose step-father, Mike Morrison, was killed in a trench collapse. On Sunday, the Tampa Tribune published Michelle's article.
Federal officials found that the walls of the trench, which was 9 feet deep, should have been shored up or sloped instead of vertical and that the trench had not been inspected properly before the workers got into it. The company, B&B Plumbing of Clearwater, paid $21,000 for the safety violations that contributed to Mike's death.

Is this a serious consequence? Will this help employers learn to protect their employees from harm?

Nothing can bring Mike back to us. Our pain will never go away; nor will the images of Mike's death.

My sisters, mother and I have shared Mike's story with friends and strangers and have stopped at work sites to remind people to be safe.

My mother often says, "This never should have happened to Mike." She is right. Mike's death was preventable.

We continue to mourn the loss of a great man, a hard worker who cherished my mom and his family, adored his cats and liked to take walks at Seminole Park. We will find happiness in our memories and strength from kind friends and family around us.

We will pray for the safety of workers everywhere and continue to share Mike's story to advocate for safe working conditions. That's what Mike would want.
By the way, if you read to the end of Michelle's article in the Tampa Tribune, you'll notice a link for "Letters to the Editor." Hint, hint.

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