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Santos Galicia-Hernandez is Killed when Crushed by Cotton Bales at the RSM Company Processing Plant in Slaton, Texas


Slaton, TX — A 62-year-old man died Thursday morning in an accident at a cotton processing facility in Slaton. The incident happened at the RSM Company, a mote processing plant, a pickery for salvaging and reconditioning damaged cotton, and a warehousing facility.

According to reports, Santos Galicia-Hernandez was working between two 1,500-lb stacks of cotton when a lift operator inadvertently compressed the row, unaware of the worker’s presence between the stacks. The cotton bales fatally crushed the worker.

Efforts by EMS to save the man’s life were unsuccessful, and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

The U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has been notified.

Thoughts on workplace accidents

No one should ever be killed in a work-related incident of this type. Companies must put processes in place to ensure workers in high-risk locations are accounted for and fellow employees are aware of the risks that may cause serious injury or death.

Unfortunately, this is not happening, and innocent people like the one here are being killed. Work-related fatalities are on the rise. In 2022, there were 5,486 recorded fatal work injuries in the United States, a 5.7-percent increase from the 5,190 deaths reported in 2021 (Bureau of Labor Statistics). What is chilling about these numbers is that most of these fatalities are entirely preventable.

This tragic incident at the RSM Company Processing Plant demands an investigation. Mr. Galicia-Hernandez’s surviving family deserves answers as to what led to this fatal outcome. What safety measures were in place to prevent this tragedy from happening? Was there a pre-job planning hazard analysis before the job started? Was there a pre-job safety briefing? Hazardous job sites require rigorous planning to ensure everyone’s safety.

We also need to know whether the lift operator received adequate training and was provided with appropriate safety protocols for operating such machinery. A common denominator in these accidents is the absence of proper or comprehensive training for individuals responsible for operating forklifts. Employers have a duty to ensure their workers undergo thorough training and are equipped with the necessary safety measures to perform their duties safely. However, in efforts to cut costs and save time, companies often neglect training programs and fail to provide essential safety equipment. This is negligence, and if negligence is determined to have contributed to this incident, the company must be held accountable. Our workers cannot go to work and just lose their lives so senselessly.

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The Ammons Law Firm represents clients nationwide in catastrophic injury and wrongful death litigation, with extensive experience in complex auto/tire defect and commercial vehicle cases.

Disclaimer: This post is not legal advice. Information contained in this blog was compiled from third-party sources or is the opinion of the author. Please inform us immediately if false or misleading information is contained in this post.

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