Victim Buried Alive by Sugar, Coroner Says

A 50-year-old New Jersey man was killed by sugar during an industrial accident in Falls Township on Monday, officials said.

Janio Salinas Valerda was buried alive Monday afternoon after several tons of processed sugar engulfed him inside a hopper at CSC Sugar on Roebling Road at the old U.S. Steel site in Falls Township, officials said.

Bucks County Coroner Dr. Joseph Campbell ruled the 50-year-old Edgewater Park, N.J. resident’s cause of death as asphyxiation after a late Tuesday evening autopsy.

Investigators said Valerda used a lift to get in the narrow bottom of the large hopper to try to clear a clog when sugar began to pour in.

Campbell said the victim tried, yet was unable to escape before being buried in a “bin as big as a room.”

Workers at the facility noticed Valerda was missing for nearly an hour and became concerned when they saw the empty lift, the coroner said.

Other employees at the facility noticed a clog persisted in the hopper and called a subcontractor who opened an access panel and saw Valerda’s jeans inside the piece of equipment at around 2:30 p.m., Campbell said. Emergency crews were immediately dispatched and workers began the 45 minute process to empty the tank, officials said.

Fire Marshal Rich Dippolito said rescue crews were forced to cut entry into the hopper to retrieve the body.

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the incident.

“This appears to have been a tragic accident,” police Lt. Hank Ward said.


Worker Dead at Falls Sugar Facility

concerned citizen February 27, 2013 at 11:39 AM
Must have been a temporary worker! I feel bad cause you work for nothing and get something like this happen to you just for doing your job. Where was the supuervisiors when this was going on? Why wasnt anyone there to help him clear the pipe? This company does t sound safe to work for!
Paul H. Simons February 27, 2013 at 01:37 PM
I agree. Always, the worst, most dangerous jobs go to the low man on the totem pole, who may have not yet learned how to do them safely.
E. Bello February 27, 2013 at 01:52 PM
You stinkin rich SOB's . Stop treating everything as were in a depression. ..... Open your pockets to pay these people what they are worth.... Stop going to the train stations to get people to work for very very cheap wages.... Get the work back here in America where it belongs. STOP worrying about other countries when we here are starving to death !!! All you supers , managers, directors, and up to the CEO stop breaking the law- follow the regulations, give training and STOp FUDGING paperwork to PASS an AUDIT. All of you should be made accountable for what happened to this poor gentlemen to SAVE A DOLLAR.... I cannot wait to see the millions in to the billion of $$$ you will pay in fine just to save a buck . Shame Shame Shame on you !!!!!!
Joe February 27, 2013 at 02:25 PM
He probably did not follow proper permit and Lock Out Tag Out procedures. Never enter a vessel without a confined space permit. If these rules weren't in place, then the company is liable.
RESQMOM February 27, 2013 at 04:50 PM
From what I understand, this company has been cited with numerous serious violations. Very unfortunate accident that most likely could have been prevented with proper supervision and procedures being followed.
Tom Sofield February 27, 2013 at 05:28 PM
The company's Swedesboro, N.J. facility has several OSHA violations. The Falls facility does not appear in online records.
Pete February 27, 2013 at 07:34 PM
That was my first thought. I work in a powerplant and there is no way around a lock out/tagout when it comes to safety.
Pete February 27, 2013 at 07:37 PM
It comes down to personal safety. It isn`t just the company that is responsible but it must fall on the workers also. I work on equipment all the time and wont touch it unless i make sure it is safe first.
seattlesonic February 28, 2013 at 04:56 PM
Heard the fall was sweet n low and he fell like a domino. He had a splenda life.
MAC February 28, 2013 at 07:55 PM
Really seattlesonic to make a joke, just think if it was your family or friend member
pissed March 02, 2013 at 12:05 AM
None of you know what happened this article is completely wrong it needs to be removed until you get you get your facts straight!!
DJ March 04, 2013 at 04:36 PM
Seriously, considering this is still so Sugar in the Raw.


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