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Workplace fatality is investigated

January 23, 2004|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

Williamsport - GST AutoLeather near Williamsport was running on a limited production schedule Thursday as Maryland Occupational Safety and Health personnel investigated the death of a woman who was killed Wednesday while operating a spraying machine at the plant.

Deanna L. Stottlemyer, 37, of Martinsburg, W.Va., died Wednesday afternoon when she got caught in one of the rollers on spraying machine No. 3 at the Clear Spring Road plant, Dr. Edward Ditto III, the deputy medical examiner for Washington County, said after the accident.

Mark Lecher, president of GST AutoLeather, said the plant resumed limited production Thursday afternoon on the second shift and would remain on a limited schedule today.

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He said operations likely would return to normal next week.

Spraying machine No. 3, the machine at which Stottlemyer was working when she was killed, will be closed for the rest of the week, Lecher said.

The company is working with authorities to determine what led to Stottlemyer's death, he said.

On-site counseling will be made available to company employees grappling with Stottlemyer's death, Lecher said.

Stottlemyer worked at the plant for 15 years.

Ditto said Wednesday that Stottlemyer was working at the back part of the spraying machine when she got caught under a roller.

Spraying machine No. 3 puts a base coat of color into hides used for leather, officials said.

Generally, MOSH goes into the workplace where an accident has occurred and re-creates the accident in an effort to determine how it happened, said Ralph Berry, spokesman for GST AutoLeather.

He said MOSH will issue a report when the investigation is completed.

GST AutoLeather is an automotive leather manufacturer formerly known as Garden State Tanning.

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