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Bucks County Worker Falls in Sugar Vat and Dies

Posted On Behalf of Schmidt Kramer Injury Lawyers on Mar 16, 2013 in Workers' Compensation

On-the-job accidents happen all the time in Pennsylvania, and, unfortunately, some also result in death. That is what happened to an employee recently at an industrial plant in Bucks County. 

Janio Salinas-Valera, 50, of Edgewater, NJ, was a temporary worker at CSC Sugar on Roebling Road. He was last seen working on a lift, trying to fix a clogged sugar hopper. Since no one saw exactly what happened, it is thought that Salinas-Valera accidentally fell in to the 15-foot high hopper. 

"The hopper is built like a large funnel and if you fall in, there's nothing to grab onto," said Bucks County Coroner Dr. Joseph Campbell. "He fell into the narrowest part of the funnel, got stuck, and then was buried in sugar."

Salinas-Valera was missing for about an hour until other employees found him. They noticed the clog was still not fixed and then saw his body through a side view of the hopper. To recover Salinas-Valera's body, workers and firefighters had to dig from the top and also disassemble the hopper from the bottom. After an autopsy was performed, it was determined that asphyxia was the cause of death.

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is currently investigating the accident. There are no records of violations at this specific CSC plant, but there were safety violations cited at their Swedesboro, NJ plant in 2010. Violations included personal protective equipment, fire extinguishers, hazard communication, and record keeping. OSHA considered six of the 10 violations as "serious." 

If you have been injured in a workplace accident, you need a good workers’ compensation attorney. Harrisburg lawyers at the law firm of Schmidt Kramer have helped hundreds of Pennsylvania workers and can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call today at 888-476-0807 for a free consultation. You are also invited to request a free copy of our book, Who Pays the Bills When You Are Injured at Work?