As two Niagara County families grieved the deaths of loved ones, the Buffalo office of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration began an investigation into the incident Monday that claimed their lives.
Christopher J. Klosin, 38, of Barker and Roger A. Mangine, 62, of Newfane were pronounced dead at the scene at XPO Logistics in the Town of Lockport Industrial Park after 11 slabs of DuPont Corian, a material used to make countertops, fell on them as they were unloading the material from a trailer about 1:25 a.m.
Each sheet of Corian weighs 800 pounds, meaning more than four tons of the stonelike material fell on Mangine and Klosin.
"We began our on-site investigation (Monday)," said Michael T. Scime, OSHA area director in Buffalo.
Scime said federal law gives OSHA six months to produce a report on the case.
This is the first time there has ever been an OSHA investigation into XPO's Lockport facility, according to James Lally, an agency spokesman.
"We’re saddened by the loss of our two colleagues in this tragic accident. Even one incident is too many," an XPO spokeswoman said. "That’s why we start every shift at every site talking with our people about safety. Every XPO employee also receives role-specific training on the job. Safety is our number one priority, which is why our accident rate is significantly lower than that of the industry."
The OSHA website lists 57 complaints against XPO in the last five years, three of them in New York State. Seventeen of the cases resulted in OSHA charging the company with violations; 11 cases are still open.
XPO has 95,000 employees in 32 countries, according to its website. Earlier this year, Fortune magazine named XPO one of the world's most admired companies, and last year Forbes magazine listed XPO among America's best employers.
Klosin had been working at XPO for a little over a year, according to his sister, Wendy Klosin of Hartland.
"He was down to earth, funny. He loved his family and just enjoyed life," Wendy Klosin said. He married seven years ago on Christmas Eve and had three stepchildren.
Wendy Klosin said she had just see her brother right before he went to work. She said she saw a report of the accident online, but didn't think anything of it because she could not remember the name of her brother's employer.
"I was devastated. I was numb," she said. "I didn't want to believe it."
Dona Chase, one of Mangine's three stepchildren, said he joined XPO after the Pfeiffer Foods plant in Wilson closed in 2009.
"He was very friendly, very generous," Chase said. "He would give you the shirt off his back even if you were a complete stranger."
Mangine also served 21 years in the Army National Guard, retiring as a sergeant. He and his wife, Nancy, were married for 10 years but had been a couple for 20 years, Chase said.