Isidro Mendoza Cabrera earlier this year was working the night shift at a Baytown industrial facility when tragedy struck.
A large piece of metal equipment weighing more than 21,500 pounds fell from a crane, and Cabrera pushed a co-worker out of the way before he was crushed. He and another worker, Eric Rojas, were killed in the accident, authorities have said.
Attorneys on Monday filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the company that operates the facility, Spitzer Industries, along with its Curtis Kelly division. The company Cabrera worked for, G&C Steel Fabricators, were also named as defendants.
“Isidro’s last act before his body was crushed was to push his co-worker to safety,” according to a statement from Houston-based attorney Mo Aziz. “His death could have been avoided by following long established rigging and load securing safety practices.”
Spitzer and its attorneys did not respond to multiple calls and messages requesting comment. G&C also did not respond to a request for comment.
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The suit, filed in Cameron County, asks for more than $1 million in monetary relief on behalf of Cabrera’s family.
The petition details the moments that reportedly led up to the workers’ deaths at the facility in the 13800 block of Industrial Road.
Around 9 p.m. Thursday, April 4, workers had been trying to fit the piece of equipment — described as a large metal base weighing about 21,559 pounds — to a vessel that would end up measuring about 53 feet long, the lawsuit said.
The workers had rigged the base to an overhead crane, but when it was lowered in place, they realized it needed to be reset, the lawsuit states.
The crane backed the base away from the vessel, and workers began taking measurements. While it remained suspended about 3 to 4 feet above the ground, the “center of gravity shifted” and the base fell from the crane, according to the lawsuit.
The impact severed Cabrera’s left arm and leg. He also sustained blunt force trauma to his torso. The other man who died, Rojas, was a welder who was working on a vessel next to the base.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration investigated the incident and issued two citations for failing to ensure the load was properly secured before it was lifted and failing to keep workers clear of suspended loads, the lawsuit said.
“These tragic incidents should never occur at a worksite,” according to a statement from Jeff McCarthy, another Houston attorney representing the plaintiff. “Workers’ lives and safety should be the number one concern for companies, such as Spitzer Industries, Curtis Kelly, Inc. and G&C Steel Fabricators.”