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Workers memorial

Woman who dies in accident remembered

Woman who dies in accident remembered

April 29, 2004|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

HAGERSTOWN - A Martinsburg, W.Va., woman who died in a workplace accident in Williamsport earlier this year was remembered Wednesday during a workers memorial service.

Deanna L. Stottlemyer, 37, died Jan. 21 when she was caught in a conveyor belt roller while working at a machine that dyes leather at GST AutoLeather.

Kelly Miles, 42, of Hagerstown, said he used to work closely with Stottlemyer, sometimes on the same machine at which she was working when the accident occurred. He said going to work brings back memories of her.


"You think about her. It's something you didn't want to see happen," Miles said.

Miles was among about 25 union workers from GST AutoLeather who attended the Workers Memorial Day ceremony at the Central Maryland AFL-CIO Council headquarters on East Franklin Street.

Each year on April 28, AFL-CIO unions remember those killed and injured on the job, and recognize the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the federal office that oversees worker safety, union representatives said Wednesday.

Family members of Stottlemyer's who attended the ceremony declined to comment Wednesday.

After Stottlemyer's accident, Maryland Occupational Safety and Health, the state worker safety agency, fined GST $3,000 and cited the company for not installing guards on the machines.

GST was found not negligent in the accident, according to a MOSH report.

Public officials and other local union representatives said about 6,000 people die in workplace accidents each year.

In addition to deaths, there are preventable injuries and illnesses that occur due to working conditions, speakers said.

The ceremony concluded with a prayer service and the dedication of a dogwood tree in Stottlemyer's name at the union hall.

Stottlemyer's death has been rough on workers, said Bobby Colvin, president of Local 658T of the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees, the union to which Stottlemyer belonged.

GST has installed guards, on orders from MOSH, on the machines to prevent accidents, Colvin said. The company is holding safety meetings before each shift, reminding workers about safety precautions, such as shutting off machines that aren't working properly and deadbolting access to the power to prevent mistaken use of machines.

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