By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
Human negligence ultimately led to a 38-year-old man’s death last year when the cement mixing machine he tried to clean suddenly turned on and mangled his lower extremities, jurors heard yesterday.
Sterling Minnis, a former mechanic at Block World, said someone “didn’t follow procedure” in ensuring the lever to the main power switch was secured in the off position prior to Kelly Steven Brown attempting to clean the cement mixing drum on February 19, 2018.
As a result, Mr Minnis said somehow the machine turned on and consequently “mashed him up”.
The testimony was made during an inquest into Mr Brown’s death. He was injured while at work at Block World at the rear of FYP on Wulff Road.
According to reports, Mr Brown, who had only been on the job for two to three weeks, was in the process of cleaning the mixer while the electricity was off, when the power suddenly came back on and amputated his legs. He was later transported to hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
Taking the witness stand before Coroner Jeanine Weech-Gomez, Mr Minnis explained the correct procedure for using the mixer. He said an individual would first have to unlock a padlock that secures the main power lever in the off position. Afterwards, the lever is pushed upwards to activate the flow of power to the machine. Then, a button is pushed to start the mixer.
Upon completing one’s business with the machine, the lever is pulled down to disconnect the power supply, and the padlock is then used to secure the lever in the off position. According to Mr Minnis, it is physically impossible for the machine to get power if the lever is secured in the off position.
However, he said when he arrived on the scene, the main disconnect was not locked and secured. According to Mr Minnis, Mr Brown could not have pushed the button to start the machine, as the mixer and the control panel are too far away from one another.
Meanwhile, Mr Brown’s brother Geno said on that fateful day, he had just gotten off from work early when he received a call from his cousin, who worked in the steel section at FYP, who told him that Mr Brown was involved in a serious accident and had lost his leg.
Geno Brown said he subsequently got in his car and sped from Fox Hill where he was to FYP on Wulff Road. He said when he arrived, EMS personnel and one or two other employees were trying to “untangle” his brother’s leg from the machine’s gears and take him out. The machine was off by that time. Geno Brown said that process took some 10 minutes.
At the time, Geno Brown said his brother was still alive and conscious. He said he repeatedly called out to Mr Brown, who had his hands propped up on the rim of the mixer and his head lowered. Geno Brown said when he would call out to Mr Brown, the latter would only look up at him, but didn’t say anything.
Geno Brown said the next time he saw his brother was in the morgue the following day when he had to identify his body.
In response to questions by the coroner, Geno Brown said his brother never expressed any concerns about working at Block World. In response to a question by the jury’s forewoman, Geno Brown said his brother never mentioned anything to him about any altercations with any other employees on the job.
The matter continues on Monday.