Posted On: January 10, 2009 by Steven J. Malman

Worker Killed in Conveyor Belt Collapse at Sewage Camp

A wastewater treatment plant worker died on Friday after he was crushed in a temporary conveyor belt collapse accident. Workers were moving the belt, which was being used to take out grit from sewage, when it collapsed, buckling in the middle and falling on 45-year-old Gennaro Montello.

A contractor used his forklift to free Montello, just as emergency workers arrived at the accident scene. The worker was pronounced dead a few hours later at a local hospital. He leaves behind his wife and two children.

A second worker, Joseph DiGiovanni, was injured while trying to rescue Montello from under the conveyor belt. On Friday, DiGiovanni was at a hospital in stable condition.

An investigation is being conducted into the cause of the work accident, including whether there were flaws in the construction of the 34-foot-long, 3-foot wide construction belt, which weighs several thousand pounds. Contracting company WDF provided the conveyor belt.

Conveyor Belt Accidents
According to the US Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 50 work injury deaths involving conveyor belts occur every year. There are steps that conveyor belt manufacturers can take to make sure their products are safe for use. Employers can also properly train and safely equip workers so that they minimize the risk of conveyor belt-related injuries and deaths.

Conveyor belts that are improperly guarded or arranged in a hazardous manner, as well as conveyor equipment that is designed defectively or malfunctions are common causes of work injuries and deaths. Unsafe loading of the belt can also lead to injuries. Conveyor belt-related injuries can include crush injuries, broken bones, ergonomic injuries, head injuries from falling debris, and internal injuries.

City worker's grieving wife said husband died in 'freak accident', Daily News, January 11, 2009

City Worker Crushed to Death at Sewage Plant in Brooklyn, New York TImes, January 9, 2009

Related Web Resources:

Conveyor Safety Information & Resources, Cisco

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

To make sure that you receive all of your workers’ compensation benefits that you are owed in a timely manner, please contact Illinois Workers’ Compensation Attorney Steve Malman to discuss your case.

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