Any heavy, movable object can be a crushed by hazard to workers, as this bizarre case involving a Texas cemetery shows.
Guadalupe Mendoza of San Juan, Texas, was killed when a five-foot tall tombstone weighing an estimated one to two tons (2,000 to 4,000 lbs.) fell on top of him.
A couple visiting the Hillcrest Cemetery in Edinburg, Texas, saw the stone topple onto Mendoza and called police.
The 64-year-old cemetery supervisor had been using a jack and wooden plank to level the stone when it fell onto his chest. Reports say the tombstone had been tilted to one side.
An autopsy shows he suffered major internal injuries and crushing chest trauma.
The death was reported to federal OSHA.
In 2009, federal OSHA’s Atlanta-West Area Office issued a letter outlining the hazards to cemetery workers following broadcast news footage showing the procedures used for digging and preparing graves.
It’s no surprise that the focus of the letter was on trenching hazards, including the most cited OSHA standards for excavation work:
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