Summary: A staffer being trained to operate a vehicle was killed when the truck lurched forward into a manure pit and sunk in the muck with him still in the cab.
The incident: About six weeks after he started working at Shelton Dairy, La Salle, CO, Juan Panzo Temoxtle, an undocumented worker from Mexico, was being trained to operate a manure vacuum truck.
A coworker positioned himself outside the cab of the truck while Temoxtle sat in the cab and drove the vehicle, which was used to help maintain the manure pits on the dairy farm.
The coworker told Temoxtle to move the truck closer to one of the pits. But Temoxtle wasn’t sure how to operate the vehicle and, without warning, the truck lurched forward into the pit. The trainer jumped from the side of the cab and watched as the truck sank in the manure.
The response: Coworkers used a forklift to pull the cab from the pit. By the time they reached Temoxtle, who’d been submerged for 30 minutes, he was still alive, so he was rushed to a nearby hospital. His family was contacted, and they raced to the hospital to see him.
But Temoxtle’s injuries were too severe and he died from a lack of oxygen in his blood cells. His wife and three children were at his side when he passed away.
The aftermath: Temoxtle, 44, was known for his love of sports, especially soccer and basketball. He was also remembered for his positive spirit and sense of humor.
“Juan wanted his kids to have a career and have a better future,” said his wife, Serafina Caliuhua Gonzalez. “He worked so hard for us. We depended on Juan, and now we have no one to depend on and no one to support us.”
(From the July 12, 2021, issue of Safety Alert for Supervisors. To start your no-obligation trial subscription to the publication right now, please click here.)