Contract Worker Dies in Fall at Ill. Refinery Site

July 7, 2011

Federal workplace-safety officials are investigating the death of a contractor who fell nearly 50 feet while doing welding on an above-ground tank at a southwestern Illinois oil refinery.

Madison County Coroner Stephen Nonn said Bradley Edmund, 38, of Taylorville died at the scene of the accident Tuesday afternoon at the ConocoPhillips site in Hartford, just northeast of St. Louis.

An autopsy Wednesday showed that Edmund suffered head and chest trauma, Nonn said in a news release. A specific ruling on what caused his death is pending the outcome of toxicology tests.

Nonn said Edmund was working for Tulsa, Okla.-based Matrix Service Co., which provides construction, repair and maintenance services largely to energy companies in the United States and Canada.

Hartford police and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration are investigating.

Kevin Cavanah, Matrix Service’s chief financial officer, said 22-year-old Matrix was cooperating with investigators and doing its own inquiry into the accident he called “a tough time for our company.”

“We’re saddened over this unfortunate accident,” Cavanah said, noting that Matrix Services is “a very employee-centric company, and safety is our highest priority.”

Cavanah cited the unfolding investigations in declining to offer any details about the accident, including whether Edmund was using safety equipment such as harnesses or tethers to the tank at the time of his fall.

“We’re going to do everything we can to work with authorities to get to the bottom of this and figure out what happened,” he said.

Edmund’s funeral arrangements are pending with Zieren-Day Funeral Home in Carlyle.

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