Officials investigating death at DSM Chemicals plant in Augusta

A worker at DSM Chemicals plant in Augusta was working on electrical equipment when he came into contact with "live" electric service. He was transported to Medical College of Georgia Hospital where he was pronounced dead about 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Local and federal agencies are investigating the death of a contract maintenance worker who was electrocuted Tuesday at the DSM Chemicals plant in Augusta.

Gold Cross Ambulance Service was called to the plant at 1 Columbia Nitrogen Road, off Sand Bar Ferry Road, at 8:54 a.m. for an electrocution, according to dispatch records.

The employee, identified as 41-year-old Stacy A. Fincher, of Saluda, S.C., worked for Austin Industrial as an electrician and was performing maintenance on electrical equipment when he came into contact with “live” electric service at 8:45 a.m., according to Richmond County Coroner Grover Tuten.

The victim was transported to Medical College of Georgia Hospital where he was pronounced dead about 9:30 a.m., the coroner said.

“In keeping with our policies regarding the health and safety of our employees and the environmental protection of the communities in which we operate, we are currently working with Austin Industrial and the relevant authorities to investigate and manage the incident,” said John Leonard, DSM’s vice president for administration. “No further details regarding its causes are yet known.”

Fincher had been an employee with Austin Industrial since 1992 and was contracted to the DSM site for the majority of his career, said Lori Brakhage, the director of corporate communication at Austin Industrial.

Austin Industrial has not had a recorded injury at the DSM site in the past million work hours, or the equivalent of slightly more than three years, Brakhage said.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration office in Atlanta has also opened an inquiry into the accident, OSHA spokesman Mike Wald said.

“We have already sent a compliance officer from the Atlanta East office in Tucker, Ga.,” Wald said.

The agency’s policy is to open an investigation when a fatality occurs or when an accident results in three or more employees being injured, he said.

According to agency records, DSM has been involved in two investigations during the past five years, one in 2009 and one last January, but both were subsequently closed with no citations or violations.

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