Wake Faulted in Mechanic s Death; Ignoring Safety Rules


 
 

Sam LaGroneMichael Biesecker | | Wednesday, May 14, 2008


RALEIGH, N.C. -- State safety officials singled out Wake County (N.C.) on Monday for four violations of regulations that contributed to the death of a motor pool mechanic in February.

David Lee Champion, 33, was working on a county ambulance Feb. 26 when the pneumatic jack that held the vehicle aloft slipped from the chassis and dropped the 14,000-pound ambulance on Champion. There were no jack stands or wheel chocks in place to help secure the ambulance, according to the citation.

The citation issued by the N.C. Department of Labor's Division of Occupational Safety and Health says the county must pay the state $22,400 in fines for four violations related to Champion's death, each of them categorized as "serious."

Wake officials met last week with state safety officials to review the findings of an investigation into the accidental death of Champion, a fleet master mechanic.

Each of the four violations carries a fine of $5,600, and all center on proper use of the Gray pneumatic jack. State safety investigators said county workers ignored warnings printed on the jack and contained in the jack's manual.

The violations were:

Failure to use wheel chocks to keep the ambulance from moving forward.

Failure to properly train employees how to use the pneumatic jack.

Failure to use jack stands while working under the ambulance.

Failure to inspect the pneumatic jack after it was purchased before using it for repairs.

Upon official receipt of the findings, Wake is required to provide evidence of corrections within three days.

"We take these findings seriously, and they will be incorporated into the steps we have already taken to improve our fleet safety program," David Goodwin, Wake's General Services director, said in the written statement.

Goodwin said the county has begun additional safety training for its workers and provided fleet mechanics with new safety equipment to help prevent a similar accident. The county also has hired a consultant to review its fleet safety program.

Champion had worked for Wake County for four years and was an experienced mechanic.

Until the fatal accident, the Wake County General Services Fleet Management office had not had a serious safety violation for 13 years. Since 1995, the Capital Boulevard location has had only minor violations related to recordkeeping and hand-washing stations.

"Wake County has lost a family member, friend and dedicated and talented master mechanic," Goodwin said in the statement. "The employees of [the county fleet garage] have endured the worst of situations with dignity, and move forward based on respect for the Champion family, each other and a renewed dedication to the safety of their customers and fellow staff members."

The county has until Thursday to settle the fines.




Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: Provider Wellness and Safety

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS





 

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

The Evolution of Civilian High Threat Medical Guidelines

How mass killing events have proven a need for new guidelines.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Baltimore Man Rescued from Building Collapse

Rowhouse collapse traps a worker in the basement area.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

A Night with Wisconsin’s Busiest Medic Unit

Ride along one night with the paramedics of MED 5.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Patient Dies in West Virginia Ambulance Rollover

Marion County Rescue Squad crew is injured in collision.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Rescue Volunteers in Syria

White Helmets group at work during fighting.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Boulder Pins Colorado Hiker

Wilderness EMS team frees trapped hiker.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

North Dakota Oilfield Medics

Tactics used in offshore platforms tailored to the remote areas.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >