On Safety

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An important reminder

September 19, 2012

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that behind every worker death statistic is a person who has suffered. But other times, a story comes along that startles you into reality.

The story of Inocencio Victor Rodriguez-Diaz is chilling. On Aug. 14, Rodriguez-Diaz went to his first day on the job, a construction project to build a roof for a new restaurant in San Antonio. A few hours later, he went missing. After seven days, he was found at the bottom of a smokestack after apparently falling 20 feet from a breeching duct.

An autopsy determined he died from blunt force injures caused by the fall, but the San Antonio Express-News has suggested his passing did not come immediately:

“He had removed his harness and tennis shoes, which he could have used to bang against the small black metal door that might have looked to him in the dark like a way out. The blood on the door, padlocked from the outside, would indicate that he had used his hands too.”

As his sister-in-law put it, Rodriguez-Diaz “died a very horrible death.” A lot of questions surround the death. What was he doing? Where was he going? Unfortunately, the answers may not come easily.

Although the story highlights many important issues of workplace safety, perhaps the most important issue is a reminder that more than 4,500 (.pdf file) other families grieve just like Rodriguez-Diaz’s. We should do everything we can to make sure more families don’t have to experience such heartache.

The opinions expressed in "Washington Wire" do not necessarily reflect those of the National Safety Council or affiliated local Chapters.

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