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Fatality at Hamm Quarry under investigation

Oct, 20 2010

(Kansas)  --  A fatal industrial accident at Hamm Quarry is under investigation by two agencies

Both the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and the Mine Safety and Health Administration have visited the company to determine the circumstances leading up to the death of a 52-year-old Topeka man Saturday morning.

William Oaks became entangled in a conveyor belt when it started up as he was working on it. Oaks died at the scene from extensive internal injuries, according to a preliminary report from the Shawnee County Coroner’s Office.

Oaks had been employed at Hamm for five years as a quarry crew worker. The quarry is about 5 miles northwest of Lawrence off U.S. Highway 24-59.

Charlie Sedlock, a division manager at Hamm, said the company was “deeply saddened” by the death.

“We have safety meetings all the time. This is a very unfortunate accident, and safety is a big, big issue with this company and it is a top priority,” he said.

Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Herrig launched an investigation Monday, but said no criminal charges are pending. He plans to interview people who were at the scene and review 911 calls.

“I think we know what happened, we just want to make sure we get it confirmed,” Herrig said.

Along with the sheriff’s office, the Mine Safety and Health Administration is investigating the incident. The federal agency investigates all fatal mining accidents, MSHA spokeswoman Amy Louviere said.

The agency’s investigation could take several weeks to a few months.

By Christine Metz

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