Cemex worker loses foot in accident

Cemex worker loses foot in accident(PERRY, Georgia) – A Cemex worker lost his right foot in an industrial accident last week at the Clinchfield plant southeast of Perry.Mike Witherington, 52, of Hawkinsville, was transported to The Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon after the 2:09 p.m. accident Thursday, according to a Houston County sheriff’s report.Witherington’s foot was severed “when he stepped onto a turning screw,” Houston County sheriff’s deputy Stewart Cronin said in the report. Cronin said by telephone Monday that when he arrived on the scene Witherington was being placed into an ambulance.Cronin said he learned from Frans Meens, the plant’s safety director, that Witherington had stepped on the screw used to transport cement in the old silo part of the plant. Cronin said Meens told him that the company would conduct an investigation to determine how the accident happened.The severed foot, which was found by Cemex workers, was transported on ice to the hospital but doctors were not able to reattach it to Witherington’s leg, Cronin said.Randy Walser, Cemex plant manger, declined to elaborate on how the accident occurred but said it is under investigation by the company and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration.Walser said the screw in which the employees’ foot was severed is a rotating piece of equipment that conveys dry material.Dirk Fillpot, spokesman for the U.S. Department of Labor, said he was unable to confirm late Monday whether MSHA was investigating. Walser said Cemex contacted MSHA to help determine what happened and how to prevent it from happening again. He said MSHA was on site Thursday and again Monday.Witherington, who worked in the shipping department, has been employed by Cemex for more than 30 years, Walser said.Walser said Witherington was doing well and could be released from the hospital within the next few days. Witherington is expected to be fitted with a prothesis, Walser said. The company has not experienced any prior loss-time accidents in the last decade, Walser said.By Becky PurserTelegraph Staff Writer

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