Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Preventable? Father Of Six Killed On Job

"Stupid, careless worker," some might say. But,

  • Limited Visibility
  • Noise
  • Dirty
  • Machinery
  • Two previous fatalities

Father of six killed on job

For his six children, Miguel Marquez left his field job cutting sugar cane in Ecuador 19 years ago and came to America, settling into a white rowhouse in Brooklyn.

He was a devout Catholic and attended Mass at a neighborhood church on his one day off each week.

He was a man with clear priorities: family, church, and finally work.

Marquez, 59, was a line picker at Omni Recycling of Babylon Inc. in West Babylon, a transfer station for waste and debris en route to landfills.

There, Marquez worked the overnight shift six days a week, where he hand-sorted pieces of metal and concrete from the giant piles of debris. It was a grueling but solid living with union benefits, and two of his sons worked there with him.

Early Friday, just a couple of hours after his shift started, Marquez was run over and killed by a Payloader driven by one of his sons, Luis Marquez.


At the recycling facility, rigs, trucks and Payloaders, a type of excavation truck, drive around a handful of yellow corrugated-metal buildings.

During the night shifts, visibility is limited, said Marco Jimbo, a friend of the Marquez family who also works at Omni Recycling.

"There are lights, but not too much," Jimbo said in Spanish.

"The transfer station business is a dangerous environment," said Mike Hellstrom, the business manager of Laborers Local 108, a union representing the recycling and waste industries and Marquez's union.

"There is a lot of mechanized machinery. It's loud and it's dirty, and it's a tough place to work," Hellstrom said.

To avoid accidents, he said, "a culture of safety ... needs to be adopted by everybody. The employer has his own liability and the workers have to follow the safety policy."

Omni Recycling has been fined twice by OSHA after two other workers died in separate accidents in the past decade. Lori O'Connell, spokeswoman for the state Department of Environmental Conservation, said Omni has a solid waste permit from the agency and is currently in compliance.

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