Not an “accident”: John Dunnivant, 57, suffers fatal work-related injury at Kia Motors plant in West Point, Georgia

By | 2018-01-22T20:32:44+00:00 October 16th, 2014|2 Comments

John Dunnivant, 57, suffered fatal traumatic injuries on Tuesday, October 7, while working at a Kia Motors manufacturing plant. The facility is located in West Point, Georgia, off of I-85 near the Alabama-state line. WTVM provides some initial information on the worker’s death:

  • Police and fire were called to the plant at 11:10 am local time.
  • Dunnivant worked in maintenance and was crushed by a stamping machine.
  • Kia management cancelled the remaining workshifts the day of Dunnivant’s death, but production began again the next day.

Ben Wright of the Ledger-Enquirer reports:

  • Dunnivant was found in the steel press section of the facility.
  • The county coroner reports that Dunnivant “was moving something very heavy and it fell on him.”
  • The Korean automaker employs about 3,000 people at the West Point operation. The plant builds the Kia Sorento, Hyundai Santa Fe, and Kia Optima.
  • In January 2008 when this Kia Motors plant was being constructed, a worker employed by Superior Rigging & Erecting Co. was struck by a beam and suffered fatal injuries.

The Ledger-Enquirer’s Wright also provides information on Dunnivant’s memorial, including his family’s request:

“Instead of flowers, donations may go to Native American orphanages or schools in his memory.”

Each year, dozens of workers in Georgia are fatally injured on-the-job. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 70 work-related fatal injuries in Georgia during 2013 (preliminary data, most recent available.) Nationwide, at least 4,405 workers suffered fatal traumatic injuries in 2013.

The AFL-CIO’s annual Death on the Job report notes:

  • Federal OSHA has 49 inspectors in Georgia to cover more than 214,000 workplaces.
  • The average penalty for a serious OSHA violation in Georgia is $2,061.

Federal OSHA has until early April 2015 to issue any citations and penalties related to the incident that stole John Dunnivant’s life. It’s likely they’ll determine that Dunnivant’s death was preventable. It was no “accident.”

About the Author:

Celeste Monforton, DrPH, MPH
Celeste Monforton is a fellow in the Collegium Ramazzini; a lecturer at Texas State University; and professorial lecturer at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University. She receives funding from the Public Welfare Foundation.


  1. […] work case (RWC) is a piece-related injury or sickness that leads to limitations on work exercise that forestall a person from doing any […]

  2. Bernard September 24, 2015 at 2:52 am - Reply

    This same “accident” just happened again around 6am September 22, 2015. The guy was airlifted from plant. Production did not stall. As a Kia employee I can say that I am ashamed to work for this company. This second “accident” could have been prevented.

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