Worker killed March 20 at FirstEnergy Harrison plant identified - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Worker killed March 20 at FirstEnergy's Harrison plant identified

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UPDATED 10 a.m. March 22 to correct number of children and with additional information about the victim.

 

The contractor who died in an accident March 20 at FirstEnergy's Harrison power station near Clarksburg has been identified.

David Bergman of Friendly, W.Va., age 57, was an employee of Burnham Industrial Contractors of Pittsburgh. Bergman's name was released by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.

Burnham was removing insulation from ductwork in preparation for an upcoming planned maintenance outage when he fell through and into the ductwork, according to a March 20 letter from the power station's director, James Graf, to employees.

"Scaffold planks on the duct structure beams were being used throughout the job to prevent any direct contact with the duct plating," Graf's letter reads. "At this time, it is not clear how the employee was positioned to have any contact with the duct plating."

Utility Workers Union of American attorney Mark Brooks shared a little more information.

"We were told that the company (Burnham) had worked on that particularly duct work and moved on to another part of the plant," Brooks said. "And this worker went back to retrieve some tools and he was later found having fallen through a weak spot in the ductwork."

He said it's his understanding that the temperature inside the ductwork, when operating, approaches 300 degrees, and that Bergman was found by another Burnham employee.

He was unable to say whether it is standard practice to perform work on ductwork while the system is in operation.

It is the second death at Harrison in less than two years. Employee Ned Johnson of Rivesville died at the facility in September 2011 when he was pinned between a machine and a guardrail.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the March 20 incident.

Although Graf's letter said Bergman is survived by a wife and two children, a member of the family called The State Journal to say he had four children and 11 grandchildren.

Bergman was born and raised in Pennsylvania. He will be laid out on Saturday and Sunday at Lawrence T. Miller Funeral Home in Bellevue, Pa. and buried Monday in Washington, Pa. in a military service.