A worker crushed to death by a ton of glass at a Moraine plant was helplessly pinned for several minutes after he cut a strap that led to his entrapment, police records show.
Fuyao Glass America Inc. forklift operator Ricky Patterson was discovered early Tuesday morning nearly five minutes after more than 2,000 pounds of glass fell on him, trapping the 57-year-old Dayton man against his vehicle, according to Moraine Police Division documents.
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“He had gotten off the forklift to – for some reason – try to manipulate the glass,” Moraine police Sgt. Mike Keegan said. “And at that point he cut some band. He was between his forklift and the glass. Basically the glass fell on to him, pushing him into the forklift.”
The load of glass fell from a pallet seconds after 5:10 a.m. — when Patterson cut a strap withholding the Chinese automobile glass manufacturer’s product — and he was found seconds before 5:15 a.m. “wedged between forklift and glass,” the police incident report states.
A 911 caller told police “I think this guy might be dead,” according to division records. And seconds before 5:23 a.m., another forklift “attempts to pull glass from Patterson,” the incident report states.
“Multiple Fuyao employees assisted with containing the pallet of glass and extracting Patterson from the forklift,” according to the report.
Patterson was pronounced dead at 5:28 a.m., records show.
He died of blunt force trauma to the head and neck in what was ruled an accident at West Stroop Road plant, according to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the events that led to Patterson’s death. Fuyao, Moraine’s largest employer with about 2,000 workers, was fined $100,000 by OSHA last year for “serious” safety violations. Employees have repeatedly expressed concern about workplace safety.
A Fuyao video of the scene “shows the pallet of glass shifted forward,” according to Moraine police records. “Patterson then walks in between the forklift and the glass, grabs a strip cutter, and cuts the west side strap, causing the glass to crush him in the forklift.”
OSHA officials said they would not comment on the case until the investigation is complete. Fuyao officials released a statement on Tuesday, calling Patterson a “valued colleague and friend,” vowing to work with federal and state officials while calling company safety “the top priority.”
A “full response” of medics, police officers and firefighters arrived by 5:19 a.m. after a 911 caller minutes before was heard to say “I think the guy’s dead….I think the glass fell on him.”