News

3,200-lb. AC unit crushes woman, killing her at Johnson Controls

Written by Ted Czeck/York Daily Record | Jul 29, 2016 3:02 AM
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Johnson Controls, at 1499 E. Philadelphia St., in Spring Garden Township.(Photo: Courtesy of the York Daily Record)

(York) -- A temporary employee at Johnson Controls died after a 3,200-pound commercial air conditioning unit fell on her Wednesday night at the plant in Spring Garden Township, according to York County Coroner Pam Gay.

"Preliminary information is the worker was fatally crushed by a load that tipped off a pallet while being lifted and moved," the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration stated in a news release.

Gay called the death of Jennifer Wright, 37, of West York, "work-related," but said her official cause and manner of death are pending an autopsy scheduled for Friday morning at Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown.

Wright had been helping load the AC unit onto a trailer when it fell, landing on her just before 9:30 p.m., Gay said.

"Several employees were able to free her from under the piece of equipment and started CPR," according to a Spring Garden Township Police news release.

York Area United Fire & Rescue firefighters and EMTs responded to the plant at 1499 E. Philadelphia St., took over administering CPR to Wright and quickly loaded her into an ambulance, according to YAUFR Battalion Chief John Woods.

Wright was pronounced dead at York Hospital at 10:07 p.m. by Chief Deputy Coroner Claude Stabley, Gay said.

Looking at the AC unit, Woods said it was about 12 feet long by 10 feet wide and about 4 or 5 feet tall. The unit was being rolled on dollies before it fell.

OSHA, which is investigating the death, stated in the release that Wright was a temporary worker who had been at the plant since April and was employed by Master Staffing in Springettsbury Township.

"Our thoughts are with the family of the deceased worker," the release stated. "This tragic incident serves as a stark reminder that temporary staffing agencies and host employers are jointly responsible for the safety and health of temporary employees.

"These employers must assess the work site to ensure that workers are adequately protected from potential hazards. It is essential that employers protect all workers from job hazards -- both temporary and permanent workers."

Marta Newhart, vice president of Global Communications for Johnson Controls, said the company is working with OSHA in its investigation, in addition to conducting its own inquiry "because safety is such a high priority for us."

"We're deeply saddened by the incident, and our sympathies and prayers are with the family," Newhart said.

Previous death

Another worker died in 1998 when an explosive mix of chemicals stored in a tank caused a blast at York International, Johnson Control's predecessor.

The company was fined by OSHA in connection with the event at its Richland Avenue plant that killed welder Dennis Stough.

 

This article is part of a content-sharing partnership between WITF and the York Daily Record.

 

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