A 57-year-old employee of Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia was killed earlier this month when stacked metal stamping plates at the company’s facility in West Point, Georgia, shifted and crushed him, causing him to lose consciousness by impairing his breathing. According to Troup County Coroner Jeff Cook, John Edd Dunnivant was pronounced dead at approximately 11:48 a.m. on October 7, with the cause of the job site fatality being compression asphyxiation. If you have been injured on the job in Georgia, or if you lost a loved one in a fatal workplace accident, contact our workers’ compensation attorneys at Rechtman & Spevak today. Our law firm is located in Atlanta, and our lawyers have extensive experience protecting the rights of injured workers and their families throughout Georgia.
Employee Asphyxiated Beneath Die Press
Although investigators and Kia officials initially remained tight-lipped about the cause of the workplace accident that killed John Dunnivant, details have begun to emerge about the investigation into the Kia worker’s job-site death. According to incident reports compiled by first responders, Dunnivant was working in the metal stamping section of the Georgia plant when “some stacked metal frame work stamping plates had shifted and slid to one side and crushed [the employee].” The initial 911 call made by a security guard at the Kia plant told the operator that the worker was unconscious and “trapped in a die,” which is a special tool used in the manufacturing industry to cut or shape material. In another incident report, a second officer wrote that Dunnivant “was trapped with a die press on his chest.”
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John Dunnivant was pronounced dead at 11:48 a.m. by the coroner, but it wasn’t until nearly 1 p.m. when employees at the Kia plant were able to use a crane to remove the metal stamping plates from atop the worker. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), in conjunction with Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, have launched an investigation into the worker’s death, but Michael D’Aquino, a spokesperson for OSHA, warns that it could take months before the findings are made available to the public. The West Point Police Department, which initially responded to the 911 call, reported that OSHA will be handling the investigation into the Georgia workplace fatality. This is the first job-site death to occur at the West Point Kia plant since it began operations in November 2009, although a construction worker was killed in January 2008, when the plant was being built.