Local News

Wake expects state fine in employee's death

Posted May 12, 2008 2:04 p.m. EDT

— Wake County officials said Monday that they anticipate the state Department of Labor will fine the county $22,400 for safety violations that led to an employee's death in February.

David Champion, 33, was killed Feb. 26 when the back end of an ambulance on which he was working fell on him at the Wake County General Services Fleet Management facility.

An initial investigation suggested a car jack might have slipped from underneath the ambulance that fell on Champion.

County officials met last week with representatives of the state office of Occupational Safety and Health to review findings of the state's investigation. David Goodwin, the director of the county's General Services Administration, issued a statement Monday in which he said he expects the state to cite the county with four violations in Champion's death.

Each violation carries a $5,600 fine.

"We take these findings seriously, and they will be incorporated into the steps we have already taken to improve our fleet safety program" Goodwin said in the statement. "Additional safety training and safety equipment has been provided to fleet mechanics to help prevent this or any other type of accident from happening, and a comprehensive review of the GSA fleet safety program is currently being conducted by a qualified safety consultant."

Work in the garage, where 14 people are employed, was halted for four days after the accident so officials could review policies. Goodwin said a state instructor also would provide training on safety procedures and that mechanics would be required to review rules with one another.