The city of Gatlinburg, Tennessee has ordered that the Gatlinburg Wastewater Treatment plant be demolished after three fatal accidents occurred on the site in less than one year.
An unnamed man was crushed to death in late February after a ditch collapsed on him, crushing him beneath rocks and dirt. Members of the Gatlinburg Fire Department rushed the victim to LeConte Medical Center, though it was determined that the worker had died on the scene.
The incident occurred less than one year after two other employees, John Eslinger and Don Storey, were killed at the plant when a concrete container basin collapsed on them. The city of Gatlinburg was warned in a 1997 report that the plant was unsafe to continue working in, but the warnings were ignored, according to a recent lawsuit against the city. The two victims' families are each suing for $17 million in damages.
"The City of Gatlinburg is deeply saddened by the tragic event which occurred today," city officials said in a public statement regarding the latest plant death. "The City wishes to expresses its sympathy to the family of the construction company worker. We regret that this event has occurred and recognize the tragedy of the situation.''
Investigators from the Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Division (TOSHA) arrived at the plant two hours after the incident. Jeff Hentschel, the agency's spokesman, says TOSHA will release its findings after an investigation has been conducted.
How can similar incidents be prevented?
Safety software, which includes inspection software and risk management software, can be used to help managers schedule inspections and track the frequency of accidents in the workplace, which can help create a safer environment for all employees in the future.