Amazon resumes operations at Fort Wayne warehouse after worker death from head injury
A man died Monday after a head injury at an Amazon warehouse in northeast Indiana.
Caes David Gruesbeck died in an "industrial accident" at the Fort Wayne Amazon fulfillment center, according to a Wednesday release from the Allen County Coroner’s Office. The cause of death was a “blunt force injury” following an “industrial accident.” Gruesbeck was pronounced dead shortly after being taken to a local hospital by EMS.
The warehouse was closed Monday, and resumed operations Thursday morning.
An Allen County Sheriff's spokesperson said Wednesday the department’s investigation is ongoing but “foul play” isn’t suspected. The spokesperson said Gruesbeck was operating some kind of heavy machinery when he sustained the head injury. No further details are available at this time.
According to Amazon, the machine is called a "one-man lift" and Gruesbeck was trained to operate it. The company said in an email the injury came while he was trying to resolve a jam on a conveyer and hit his head on an overhead conveyance system.
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The Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration initiated a “safety compliance inspection” at the Amazon fulfillment center, a state spokesperson said Wednesday. Information from the inspection may not be publicly available until several weeks after, the spokesperson added.
In the emailed statement, Amazon said the facility’s closure was due to ongoing investigations and the company was still paying workers during that time.
It's unclear what the reopening might mean for the status of the police investigation or state inspection.
“We’re saddened by Monday’s tragic incident, and our thoughts and prayers are with our employee’s loved ones and our team at the facility," said Amazon spokesperson Andre Woodson in the statement. "We’re conducting a thorough investigation of the incident and working closely with authorities as they conduct their own investigations as well. We’re also supporting our teams with anything they need, including counseling services, and we’ll continue assisting in the days and weeks ahead.”
The company said a group of employees gathered at the site Tuesday to honor their coworker.
This story has been updated.
Adam is our labor and employment reporter. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @arayesIPB.