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Subcommittee to Investigate Worker Deaths at Laundry Plant

Ian P. Murphy |

LINDEN, N.J. — A congressional subcommittee will conduct a field hearing this afternoon to examine a Dec. 1 industrial accident that resulted in the deaths of two workers at an area linen-supply plant.
The Workforce Protections Subcommittee of the U.S. House Committee on Education & Labor, chaired by Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), will hold Workplace Tragedies: Examining Problems and Solutions beginning at 2:00 p.m. EST today in the third-floor courtroom of Linden’s City Hall, 301 N. Wood Ave.
Witnesses scheduled to appear are:
• Rick Engler, director, New Jersey Work Environment Council;
• Eric Frumin, director of health and safety, UNITE HERE;
• David Socolow, commissioner, New Jersey Department of Labor & Workplace Development;
• James W. Stanley, president, FDRsafety LLC, on behalf of the Uniform & Textile Service Association (UTSA);
• Charles Wowkanech, president, New Jersey AFL-CIO.
Victor M. Diaz Jr., 42, of Hillside, N.J., and Carlos Diaz, 41, of Paterson, N.J., were found in an empty 20,000-gallon steel tank at North East Linen Co., formerly known as Morey La Rue Laundry & Drycleaning. Autopsies determined that toxic fumes had asphyxiated them.
 
The men were reportedly trying to clean the industrial-sized tank. Investigators sought to determine if personal protective equipment was available to the men and if they were trained or instructed to wear such protective gear while cleaning the tank. It wasn’t the men’s usual assignment; Victor Diaz was a driver for the company, and Carlos Diaz was a laborer.
 
A live webcast of today’s hearing is available at http://edworkforce.house.gov.

About the author

Ian P. Murphy

American Drycleaner

Ian P. Murphy is a freelance writer based in Chicago, and was the editor of American Drycleaner from 1999 to 2011.

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