Michael “Dewayne” Atkins, 41, of Russelville, Alabama, died in an elevator accident that occurred Wednesday, October 30, 2013, around 6:45p.m. at Decatur Morgan Hospital, in Decatur, Alabama. Atkins was a maintenance worker at the hospital and was apparently attempting to repair a freight elevator at the loading dock on the Decatur General campus when the elevator moved down unexpectedly, pinning him between the floor and the bottom of the elevator, fatally crushing him. Early reports did not indicate any factors that might have contributed to the accident. The Alabama Department of Forensic Science will perform an autopsy, and officials with the Alabama Department of Labor are investigating.
Two-way radio communications obtained by ElevatorAccident.net indicated that first responders waited nearly two hours for elevator personnel to arrive to move the cab and extricate the victim, however the coroner had already pronounced the victim dead upon arrival. An official with the Alabama Department of Labor Inspections Division did not provide a comment regarding the circumstances of the incident, but confirmed that a license issued by the Department of Labor is required for personnel that repair or maintain elevators.
It was not clear from any early reports exactly what Mr. Atkins was repairing or why he would have been repairing the elevator in the first place. There was no indication at the time of writing that Mr. Atkins possessed an elevator-related license or had otherwise received training that would qualify him as “elevator personnel” in accordance with the ASME A17.1, “Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators.” An initial investigation by the Alabama Department of Labor indicated that the hoistway door interlock at the level the incident occurred may have been bypassed.
Elevator fatalities involving passengers are exceptionally rare, however, since the victim in this case was apparently attempting to affect a repair on the elevator, he had apparently entered the elevator hoistway, where he was subjected to hazards to which the riding public would normally not be exposed.
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