A Goodyear tire plant in Danville, Va., announced Tuesday that it would temporarily close for a safety evaluation and investigation after a longtime worker died on the job earlier in the day. The worker’s death was the second at the plant in less than two weeks and the third death in less than eight months.
Details surrounding the death of Greg Cooper, an associate at the plant for 18 years, were not disclosed except that he died during his morning shift.
Less than two weeks ago, Kevin Edmonds, who worked at the same Goodyear plant for 26 years, also died on the job. Family members told Roanoke, Virginia’s WSLS that an autopsy found Mr. Edmonds had died of asphyxiation.
In September, 56-year-old Jeanie Strader, an employee of the Goodyear plant for 15 years, died during her shift. Ms. Strader’s death prompted an investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which found three serious safety violations within the plant. The agency proposed fines of $14,000 for those violations.
“Goodyear is taking this matter very seriously and will be temporarily closing the Danville plant to complete a full evaluation of the facility and thoroughly investigate the incident,” the company said in a statement. “Our hearts go out to the family, friends and co-workers of the employee during this very difficult time.”
A Goodyear spokesman said that OSHA agents were on site to investigate the incident. Danville’s city manager said the city, police, and fire departments have offered their support in the investigation.
Goodyear is the city of Danville’s largest private employer. Company officials said the plant will remain closed for the rest of the week while federal authorities conduct a full evaluation of the plant in the wake of the worker deaths.