OSHA investigates man’s death after falling into silo on Far South Side

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A 56-year-old south suburban man died after falling into a silo filled with toxic material Monday afternoon at a South Deering neighborhood company on the Far South Side.

About 12:30 p.m., an employee of Horsehead Corp. at 2701 E. 114th St. was working above the silo when he fell in, Fire Media Affairs Director Larry Langford said.

The silo was filled with cadmium and lead, among other materials, Langford said. Firefighters used access panels to get the man out.

Andrew Brundidge of the 1000 block of Wentworth in Calumet City was taken to Roseland Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 2:35 p.m., according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

An autopsy Tuesday was inconclusive pending further studies, the medical examiner’s office said.

Brundidge’s job was to operate conveyor belts that feed dust into holes in the tops of the silos, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which has launched an investigation into the fatality.

He was controlling the flow of dust into four silos when he fell about 30 feet into the bottom of one of the silos, according to OSHA’s statement.

Horsehead Corp. recovers zinc metal, dust and powder, as well as zinc oxide, from recycled sources, according to its website.

In 2010, a similar incident occurred at the company’s South Carolina plant when an employee fell into a chute and became trapped, according to OSHA. He was hospitalized.

In Pittsburgh, two Horsehead employees died as a result of a molten zinc explosion in July 2010. The company was cited for three serious violations after that incident, according to OSHA.

Horsehead employees about 721 employees nationwide at seven facilities, according to OSHA.

No one at the company could be reached for comment Monday.

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