TOPEKA, Kan. — The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has opened an investigation into the death of an employee on Sept. 24 at Goodyear's truck and OTR tire plant in Topeka.
OSHA said its investigators have begun inquiries into the circumstances that led to the death of 59-year-old Timothy Cole, who had worked at Goodyear for 28 years.
According to Shawnee County Sheriff Brian Hill, deputies were called to the plant shortly after 8 a.m. on the 24th, where they learned a man later identified as Cole had sustained life-threatening injuries while working.
He was taken to a Topeka hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Hill said.
This is the second fatality at the Topeka plant in the past five years and sixth at a Goodyear tire plant in the past seven years.
In a statement issued over the weekend, Goodyear said: "Our thoughts are with our co-worker and his family and colleagues.
"At Goodyear, the safety of our associates is always our first priority. We are conducting an internal investigation and will fully cooperate with outside authorities. We are unable to share further information for privacy reasons."
Employers are required to notify OSHA within eight hours of a death occurring at any of their facilities, according to OSHA regulations. OSHA has up to six months to report its findings.
Officials with United Steelworks Union Local 307, which represents workers at the plant, declined to comment on the incident.
On Sept. 14, the city of Topeka and the Shawnee County Joint Economic Development Organization announced plans that the entities had approved an incentive agreement that would result in a $125 million investment into modernizing the 77-year-old Topeka plant, which employs 1,600 people. The five-year investment is expected to create 40 more jobs.