Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tacoma Port Has Second Fatal Accident This Month

For the second time this month, the Port of Tacoma was temporarily shut down March 25 after a longshore worker died on the job.

In the latest incident, refrigerator mechanic Dana Gorham died about 8 am March 25 while working at the APM Terminal. According to port workers, Gorham was working from a five-foot ladder when he fell from the ladder, possibly after being shocked by a nearby electrical cable. According to the Pierce County Medical Examiner’s office, the 57-year-old Gorham had an enlarged heart and the cause of death was heart disease.

International Longshore Union Local 23, Gorham’s employer and the state Department of Labor and Industries all say the incident will be investigated.

Following the death, longshore workers followed a custom reserved for on-the-job fatalities and shut down all operations for 24 hours. ILWU members were reportedly back on the job at about 8 am March 26.

Gorham had worked for Pacific Crane Maintenance, the same company that had employed a man who died March 12 while working at the port’s Pierce County Terminal.

In the March 12 incident, 46-year-old crane mechanic Jeff Surber died around noon while atop a crane he had been maintaining at Pierce County Terminal. He was making adjustments to the wire ropes used to raise the metal containers to and from the ship’s deck, according to the ILWU.

The medical examiner’s report said Surber died of blunt force trauma to the head. The incident, like the March 25 death, is being investigated by the union, Pacific Crane and the Labor Dept.