Construction work resumes at Wacker site
by GREG KAYLOR Banner Staff Writer
Oct 15, 2012 | 3234 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Work resumed today at the Wacker Polysilicon North America construction site near Charleston following a four-day shutdown to allow agencies time to complete an investigation into an accident that took the lives of two contract employees.

The pair died last Wednesday evening after falling from a tower at the work site, prompting an investigation by Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration officials.

Wacker Director of Corporate Communications William J. Toth said Thursday morning work at the site was shut down as an investigation into the cause of the accident continued.

Toth announced Friday evening the 1,200 construction workers would return to the site today.

Hugo Mendoza, 45, of Florida and Luis Oachoa, 31, died after it was reported they had fallen from a tower under construction. Oachoa also had another identification card on his person at the time of his death, and according to Eric Blach of the Bradley County Medical Examiner’s Office, it identified him as Rodrigo Trinidad-Mena.

The men worked for Baker Concrete Construction which is based in Ohio, but has several operations offices across the U.S.

According to early reports from Bradley County 911 and emergency officials who were on the scene, they indicated the men fell just before 10:30 p.m. It was reported that scaffolding had collapsed.

Mendoza and Oachoa fell from the tower approximately 100 feet.

Emergency officials at the site said both men were pronounced dead at the scene.

Toth said today the men were wearing personal-protection equipment prior to the accident.

In a prepared statement by Wacker Polysilicon, Dr. Konrad Bachhuber, vice president and site manager, cited, “We wish to extend our heartfelt sympathy and condolences to the families of the deceased construction workers.”

Prior to last week’s accident, Wacker construction workers had recorded almost 1 million hours of safety.

Investigation into the accident is still under way by the Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Work on the $1.8 billion Wacker plant began in April 2011. Construction completion is scheduled for 2013.

The new industry will produce hyperpure polysilicon for use in the solar industry.