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Worker dies after AC unit falls on her at Johnson Controls

The West York woman, 37, died after being pinned under equipment

A 37-year-old worker at a York County Johnson Controls plant died Wednesday night after she was crushed by a commercial air-conditioning unit she was helping to load onto a trailer, officials said.

It happened at the Johnson Controls East York plant at 1499 E. Philadelphia St., Spring Garden Township police said in a statement.

The incident occurred just before 9:30 p.m., police said.

The York County coroner’s office identified the victim as Jennifer Wright.

Police arriving at the scene were told Wright had been “pinned under a piece of air-handling equipment,” a township police statement said. Several other employees were able to free her, and started CPR, police said.

Wright had been assisting with loading the 3,200-pound unit onto a trailer when the unit fell and landed on her, the coroner’s office said.

Wright was pronounced dead at York Hospital shortly after 10 p.m., the coroner’s office said.

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration said Thursday it is investigating.

A Johnson Controls official released a statement Thursday on the fatality.

“This was an isolated event, and there were no other employees affected. Johnson Controls is deeply saddened by this tragedy, and our sympathies and prayers are with the family,” said the statement from Marta Newhart, Johnson Controls’ vice president of global communications.

“We have initiated an investigation to understand the course of events. We are fully cooperating with the local authorities on an investigation to understand the course of events that occurred. We have reached out to the family, and to protect their privacy, we are not releasing additional information,” her statement continued.

“Johnson Controls is committed to providing employees with a safe work place. We have a strong history of avoiding workplace accidents globally.”

Wright had been employed at Johnson since April 2016 through local staffing agency Master Staffing LLC, OSHA said in a statement.

Master Staffing has no known OSHA history, the statement continued. OSHA has up to six months to complete its investigation. 

Master Staffing was not immediately available for comment.

“Our thoughts are with the family of the deceased worker,” Kevin Kilp, director of OSHA’s Harrisburg area office, said in a statement.

The incident “serves as a stark reminder that temporary staffing agencies and host employers are jointly responsible for the safety and health of temporary employees. These employers must assess the work site to ensure that workers are adequately protected from potential hazards. It is essential that employers protect all workers from job hazards – both temporary and permanent workers.”

An autopsy has been scheduled for Friday at Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, the York County coroner’s office added.

David O'Connor
Dave O'Connor covers York County, manufacturing, higher education, nonprofits, and workforce development. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at doconnor@cpbj.com.

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