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Officials Begin Investigation Into Injury to Grosse Ile Employee (Updated)

A Grosse Ile employee died after being buried alive while attempting to fix a broken water main Thursday.

An investigation into a job site cave-in, which lead to the death of a Grosse Ile public works employee, began Friday after crews filled in a 12-foot deep hole where the man was buried alive.

The 56-year-old islander was not breathing and did not have a pulse when he was pulled from the hole were he was attempting to fix a broken water main Thursday, officials said. Emergency personnel later revived him.

The water main located just a few feet off Meridian Road near Bridge Road was fixed by a private contractor and filled in Friday morning, according to Grosse Ile Police Chief Joseph Porcerelli.

Porcerelli said public works employees were given the day off due to the tragic incident involving their co-worker.

Officials from the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) are conducting an investigation to find out what caused the trench to collapse.

Patty Meyer, director of the construction safety and health division of MIOSHA, said a local inspector was assigned to investigate the incident. The inspector will conduct interviews with township employees who were at the site at the time of the collapse and study police reports to gain information on the incident.

She added it can take up to three weeks for an inspector to complete an investigation.

"The inspector is investigating any violations on the employer providing a safe workplace for the employees," Meyer said. "Employers are responsible for employees."

The inspector will be checking to make sure the proper procedures were followed while digging the hole.

A hole more than 5-foot deep must be cut to the proper angle of repose (based on environmental conditions), needs a shoring system or needs an excavation box, according to Meyer.

*This article was updated at 11:04 p.m. Monday.

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Ron January 26, 2013 at 09:16 PM
I think when this investigation is complete it will put blame on the township. Although they will find plenty of blame to go around. It's such a tragic accident that could very well have been prevented. I just hope the GI worker pulls through.

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