Florida Recycling Plant Worker Crushed to Death by Compactor
Authorities have reported that a worker at a Florida recycling plant landed inside a compactor and was crushed to death. Winter Garden police stated that the man was probably trying to clear a jam in the mammoth machine and ended up fatally trapped. Police Lt. Scott Allen stated,“One of the employees basically went unseen for a little bit. That’s when they started looking into it and realized that the door to the machine was open.”
Authorities were called to the scene, at the Robert Wallick Associates recycling plant in Orange County about 9 a.m. The man was identified as David P. Rossman. He had been assigned to the towering baler, sorting cardboard before it’s mashed and spit out as cubes. Authorities believe that Rossman had possibly climbed down into the machine or fell. “The conveyor belt wasn’t running anymore because it was stuck, but the compactor continued to compact,” stated Police Lt. Allen. Rossman was dead before anyone noticed. Workers claim they didn’t even hear a scream. The plant shut down following the horrific incident, and investigators from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration are expected to inspect the scene.
Recycling operations in cities across America take care of vast quantities of papers, metals, plastics and other unwanted materials, keeping them from being dumped into the environment or adding to landfills. But in the process of this work, employees at recycling centers have been exposed to dangerous conditions, resulting in injuries and fatalities.
“Recycling is the right thing to do, but we have to do it the right way,” Mary Vogel, executive director of the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, said. “That means educating and empowering recycling workers, and using proven prevention strategies which we know will reduce exposure to hazardous conditions. That’s how we can avoid tragedies like the death of a recycling worker just last week in Florida.”
The recycling industry’s on-the-job injury rate is more than twice as high as that of the average worker. That’s because many recycling centers have unsafe working conditions involving heavy machinery and exposure to hazardous items, such as hypodermic needles, toxic chemicals, and animal carcasses.
Every work environment has certain inherent dangers and hazardous conditions. These dangers can be small or large, depending on the industry and type of work involved. In industries that involve heavy volumes of manual or physical labor, the day-to-day hazardous conditions are likely to be much greater than those industries where work is primarily performed in an office environment. This does not mean workplace accidents cannot occur in offices, however. When repetitive motion, heavy lifting or physical labor is required in a job, a worker is capable of suffering debilitating injuries. Safety violations and a perilous work environment can also lead to workplace injuries. Workers’ compensation in the state of Florida entitles injured workers to receive medical treatments and a set level of compensation for loss of wages. Loss of wages can be received as temporary disability benefits, impairment benefits, permanent total disability benefits or death benefits.