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Poquoson Company Fined, Cited in Wood Chipper Death

by Sula Kim

WVEC.com

POQUOSON — A Poquoson tree trimming company has been fined $185,000 in the November 2009 death of a 14-year-old worker.

Frank Gornick was working for his uncle’s company Old Dominion Tree and Lawn Care Specialists and was on a three-person team doing debris removal following the Nor’easter.

Police said he was using a shovel to drop debris into the wood chipper’s hopper when it got caught in the machine’s blades, dragging him in and killing him instantly.

The Va. Department of Labor and Industry issued its findings Thursday, saying the machine shouldn’t have been used.

“The wooden paddle was missing, the feet control was missing, the lower door hadn’t been installed. There were six things missing,” said Jennifer Wester, Cooperative Programs director.

She says the report concluded a metal shovel was used to put items in the chipper, even though the manufacturer forbids it.

According to Wester, workers weren’t wearing hard hats or eye protection.

The company has 15 days to contest the findings or take action as outlined by the state.… Read the rest

Teen Dumping Trash Dies In Cesspool–Doughnut Shop Employee Fell In Uncovered Hole

[This tragedy is eerily reminiscent of a teen worker drowning in a septic tank in my home town, Holliston, Massachusetts, nearly 30 years ago. The young worker stepped on a manhole cover which flipped beneath him and he landed in a septic tank. No one knew what had happened to him and the police only recovered his body through the help of a psychic . –Reid]

SMITHTOWN, N.Y. — A teenage worker taking out the garbage at a doughnut shop Sunday night fell into a sewage pit and died, police said.

Amiri Zeqiri, 17, slipped into an open cesspool behind a Dunkin’ Donuts in Smithtown, about 40 miles east of New York City, police said. There usually was a manhole cover over the cesspool, a hole in the ground that collects waste from toilets and sinks, they said.

The teen’s younger cousin, who was inside the doughnut shop, realized something was wrong when he didn’t return and went to look for him. The cousin found Zeqiri in about 8 feet of water and ran to a nearby store for help, but when he returned the teen was no longer visible, police said.

Officers pulled the teen from the cesspool and took him to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Authorities were investigating how the cesspool was uncovered and were awaiting the results of an autopsy.

Andrew Mastrangelo, a spokesman for Dunkin’ Donuts’ parent company, Canton, Mass.-based Dunkin’ Brands Inc., said the company and franchisee Jesse Walia, were saddened to learn of the death.… Read the rest