Christopher Thomas needed to make some extra money. The 51-year old welderâalso a husband and father of twoâhad begun work in the GMD Shipyard in Brooklyn Navy Yard about a week before. It was mid-morning on a Saturdayâhis day offâbut Thomas had come into work anyway.
He and some colleagues were using a pulley to move a massive steel plate weighing more than 6,000 pounds when the plate came loose and plummeted, hitting Thomas in the head before pinning him beneath. He died not long after.
The president of GMD Shipyard released a statement saying he was âsaddenedâ by the accident and that his company would be involved in efforts to determine the cause of the accident.
Somehow, âsaddenedâ doesnât quite cut it.
I’m sad, but I think the better word is âoutraged.â Here was a man trying to make some extra moneyâa man willing to give up his day off to earn itâ and he lost everything. I’m sorry if I don’t feel better knowing the company is âsaddenedâ and made a promise to investigate.
Why? Because I’ve heard this before. âSorry about that, but weâll investigate,â says the company, who has undoubtedly hired someone new to replace Christopher Thomas. No worries for them. So what if they get a slap on the wrist by OSHA? It’s just another day, another dollar.
It’s time for a new story. A story where hard-working people can count on their employers to investigate before tragedy strikes.
AP State & Local Wire. NYC ironworker dies after being struck by heavy metal plate. January 7, 2007.
Keller E, Moore RF. 3-ton plate kills worker. Daily News (New York). January 7, 2007: p. 6.
Lowe H. Ironworker crushed by metal plate. Newsday (New York). January 7, 2007: p. A19.