Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A Workplace Death That Will Never Be Solved

Normally, I'd just file this away for The Weekly Toll. But Pastor Douglas was a public employee in the state of Louisiana which has no OSHA coverage for public employees, where public employees do not have the right to a safe workplace. What that means is that there will probably never be an indepth investigation into Douglas's death by a safety professional. No lessons will be learned, no citations will be filed, and the family will never really know what happened.
Pastor Douglas, a maintenance worker at the plant for two years, was standing atop of the 15-foot-deep container preparing to clear foam from collecting at the top of the open-air container with a high pressure hose. He was working with another Lucas Waste Water employee at the time of the incident, who went to turn on the pressure hoses used to minimize unnecessary foam. When the employee returned, Douglas wasn't standing atop the container.

"He was doing a normal cleanup type deal" said Mike Strong, director of operational services for the city. "I'm not sure exactly if it was a slip or the hose with the water pressure on it knocked him off, but he went into the basin."