Chandler Warren, 19, suffered fatal traumatic injuries on Wednesday, July 2, 2014 while working at FedEx’s World Hub in Memphis, Tennessee.
- WAFF reports that the Memphis Fire Department received a call at about 2:53 a.m. about the incident.
- WREG reports “a loader that lifts containers onto aircraft came crashing down.”
- FOX13 reports Warren was new on the job and was working as a material handler at the facility. He underwent emergency surgery for injuries that his father said were “worse than he could have ever imagined.” The 19 year old survived the surgery, but succumbed to his injuries in the recovery room.
FedEx calls their Memphis World Hub their flagship operation. The facility, located at the Memphis International airport, has 42 miles of conveyor belts. During peak sorting operations, one FedEx plane lands every 90 seconds.
Tennessee OSHA (TN-OSHA) will conduct a post-fatality inspection of the facility. If the agency’s inspectors identify violations of health or safety regulations, the company will be cited.
Using OSHA’s inspection data retrieval system, I identified ten inspections since 2005 of FedEx worksites at the Memphis airport. All were in response to complaints or referrals. Only four of the ten inspections resulted in citations being issued, and all of the citations were ultimately classified as “other-than-serious.” FedEx paid $5,350 in penalties for the resulting citations.
Each year, more than 100 workers in Tennessee are fatally injured on-the-job. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 101 work-related fatalities in Tennessee during 2012 (most recent available data.) Nationwide, at least 4,628 workers suffer fatal traumatic injuries.
The AFL-CIO’s annual Death on the Job report notes:
- TN-OSHA has 30 inspectors to cover about 130,000 workplaces.
- TN-OSHA’s average penalty for a serious violation is $727.
WAFF received an email statement from FedEx Sr. Communications Specialist Katie Wassmer which noted:
“…We are working with authorities as they investigate the accident.”
TN-OSHA has until early January 2015 to issue any citations and penalties related to the incident that stole Chandler Warren’s life. It’s likely they’ll determine that Warren’s death was preventable. It was no “accident.”
[Update 12/25/14: Read the follow-up post reporting on TN-OSHA’s findings.]