A lack of training and knowledge leads to tragedy

It’s a four hour drive northwest of New York City to arrive in the town of Onondaga. The modestly sized Syracuse suburb was the site almost a year ago to the day of a tragic accident.

A 53 year old man was doing maintenance work on an elevator in a nursing home when a second elevator began to descend from above.

The mechanic was pinned between a stationary steel ladder and a support beam by the second elevator. He died there in the elevator shaft.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has proposed a $35,000 fine for the man’s employer. The Otis Elevator Company is contesting the fine and the accompanying citation which claims the man didn’t have the training needed for the job he tried to perform, and that the company failed to observe safety procedures.

The company didn’t properly evaluate the elevator to see if the maintenance work would require a permit for confined spaces. Worse, the mechanic didn’t have the training or knowledge to enter a permit-required confined space such as the one he died in.

When he was killed, the mechanic was beneath the elevator doing work that required him to first lock the elevator in place and shut off power to it. OSHA says the company has practices allowing its workers to get into elevator pits for up to 15 minutes without carrying out those safety procedures.

The man left behind his wife and two sons. In similar circumstances, family members will speak to attorneys experienced in fighting for full and fair compensation.