February 24, 2013
Washington state officials are investigating after a 52-year-old Whatcom County man working with a friend on a demolition job was fatally crushed beneath a steel beam.
James Loyd Bost was helping to scrap a cyclone air separator. The 30-foot-tall piece of machinery is an industrial-sized filter for dust and other small particles in the air.
Paul Davis, owner of the contracting business Call Paul, was sitting in a forklift holding up the separator as it leaned about 4 feet to the south, he said. The plan was for Bost, who stood about three steps up on a ladder, to slice one of the support beams with a cutting torch, and Davis’ forklift would gradually guide the heavy separator to the ground. Another man was working as a safety spotter.
Police say two beams buckled under the separator and knocked the other two outward. One of the beams fell onto Bost. The county medical examiner says the man died at the scene from asphyxia.
State Department of Labor and Industries investigators are trying to determine what went wrong.
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