Man dies in elevator accident at Tonawanda Coke

Posted at 12:15 PM, Jan 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-06 18:16:00-05

A worker was killed in an accident early Wednesday morning at Tonawanda Coke.

The accident happened around 8 a.m. and police are not yet releasing the 60-year-old man's name. Paramedics were called to the scene at 8:30 a.m. and police say the man had died before they arrived.

A spokesman for OSHA says a preliminary report shows the man was lubricating gears on the elevator when he was somehow pulled into the machinery.

Tonawanda Coke released a statement calling the man a "longtime" employee. The company will provide grief counselors for its other workers.

Tonawanda Coke has been cited by OSHA for several workplace violations related to an explosion where three workers were injured and had to pay millions of dollars in penalties after polluting the community for years.

In the explosion, which happened in January 2014, OSHA determined the company failed to inspect and maintain safety systems leading to an overpressured coke manifold that released gas into an enclosed area. That gas ignited, causing the explosion.

OSHA issued 15 serious violations, which are given when death or serious harm is a risk, as well as two repeat fines for recurring hazards, failing to train employees in lockout procedures and not certifying inspections of lockout procedures.

In all, Tonawanda Coke was fined $161,000 for the explosion.

OSHA is investigating this latest accident and a compliance officer is on scene.




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