Worker killed in Petaluma silo accident remembered as a ‘talented and great guy’
The Fairfield man killed in an accident last week while working atop an unused silo along the Petaluma River was identified on Monday as Adolfo Sanchez, 31, according to the Sonoma County Coroner’s Office.
Sanchez was a 13-year employee of Lind Marine, a Petaluma-based dredging contractor that owns the industrial property where the accident occurred in the 100 block of East D Street, near Petaluma River drawbridge.
Lind Marine president Christian Lind said Sanchez was a popular employee in the 60-person company.
He worked as a plant manager and oversaw a crew of guys he handpicked for the manufacturing facility on Landing Way in south Petaluma, he said.
“Adolfo was a very loved, cherished, talented and great guy,” Lind said. “He had nothing but friends at the business.”
A conveyor system collapsed Friday onto Sanchez when he and a coworker were dismantling the heavy metal casing with a cutting torch on top of the silo, according to the Petaluma Fire Department. He suffered major chest injuries and died at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital after being airlifted from the site.
Sanchez’s death hit the company “unbelievably hard,” Lind said. On Monday, the business provided employees with access to grief counselors and chaplains, he said, and some have been granted time off before returning to work.
“This is a family business,” Lind said. “We’re grieving as a family right now.”
Lind declined to share additional details about the work being done that morning. He said the company is cooperating with California Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigators, who are searching for any violations of workplace safety.
The East D Street facility where Sanchez suffered his fatal accident had been used in the past for milling oyster shells to produce the calcium carbonate additive found in livestock feed and soil conditioners, Lind said.
But the site was inactive at the time of Sanchez’s death, said Cal-OSHA spokesman Frank Polizzi. The agency’s initial investigation showed Sanchez was likely disassembling the conveyor system for salvaged parts to use at another Lind Marine facility or for disposal, Polizzi said.
Whether Sanchez was properly trained to disassemble the conveyor system, and whether Lind Marine had examined the area to ensure Sanchez could safely carry out such work will be central questions in the investigation, Polizzi said.
“In this case, did the employee receive any specific training on that equipment that they were going to be doing at that specific work site?” Polizzi said.
Cal-OSHA investigators will have six months to investigate Sanchez’s death, order any changes at the company if safety violations are found and issue citations, Polizzi said.
Investigators will be interviewing Lind Marine workers and supervisors, gathering information about Sanchez’s training and other injuries at the company, as well as reviewing the company’s safety plans.
Once the investigation is complete, Lind Marine will have 15 days to file an appeal if any citations are issued, Polizzi said.
At least 10 North Bay businesses have experienced fatal accidents since 2017, resulting in roughly $273,000 in fines, according to OSHA records.