OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A local construction company is now investigating after an employee fell into a silo filled with hot asphalt and died.
First responders were called to T.J. Campbell Construction around 11 a.m. Tuesday morning after another employee noticed the man’s absence and discovered he had fallen.
The company is now looking into whether the man was wearing proper safety equipment at the time of the fall.
“[We’re] still trying to determine what safety gear was in process but there generally would be a harness or safety equipment,” said company spokesperson Jeffrey Taylor. “We have mandatory hats, gloves and safety ware, especially fall protection, and so that would have been in play while this individual was doing the maintenance work.”
That man worked for the company for four years. He was on the top of the silo doing standard maintenance at the time of the accident.
Firefighters and paramedics got on scene in a matter of minutes, but the rescue quickly shifted to a recovery.
“With the temperature of the tank, we thought the survival rate would not be great,” said Oklahoma City Fire Dept. Captain Scott Douglas. “It was later that we did confirm this was a fatality.”
That recovery posed a unique challenge, with first responders having to find a way to safely retrieve the body without putting their own team in danger.
Employees eventually worked alongside first responders to drain the silo and recover the body.
“We are up against something we don’t face every day with the temperature in the asphalt tank being 300 degrees,” Douglas said. “[This] is not something we typically do every day so we just want to make sure we devise a safe plan.”
The company tells KFOR they have alerted both the family and other employees and are making grief counselors available to their workers.