Torres-Gomez Family
  • Death in the Workplace

    Eleazar Torres Gomez, 46, worked at the Cintas industrial laundry in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He died inside a massive dryer at the facility after he fell from a conveyor belt while trying to unstick a jammed load of laundry. Cintas, the nation's biggest industrial launderer, issued a statement after the accident saying the company was saddened by the loss of a "dedicated employee-partner," but also pointed out that Torres Gomez had violated safety procedures. Other Cintas employees, however, have told ABC News that what Torres Gomez was doing when he died was a common practice at the plant. Video shows other employees at the plant walking on the conveyor belt while trying to clear jammed laundry.
    Torres-Gomez Family
  • Death in the Workplace

    Laundry at the Cintas facility moved from washer to dryer along a conveyor belt also known as a "robotic shuttle." In this still from a videotape made on March 6, 2007, Torres Gomez can be seen approaching the conveyor belt to Dryer 2 at about 9 a.m.
    ABC News
  • Death in the Workplace

    When a nearly 400-pound load of blue jeans began to clog up near the opening of the dryer, Torres Gomez hopped onto the conveyor belt to get it moving again. Cintas had prohibited the practice, but laundry workers told ABC News it was a regular occurrence.
    ABC News
  • Death in the Workplace

    Torres Gomez can be seen falling into the 300-degree dryer. The door closed automatically after Torres Gomez fell iin. He tumbled in the dryer for 20 minutes before someone noticed the machine was making an unusual sound.
    ABC News
  • Death in the Workplace

    Jim Williams, a senior maintenance engineer, heard a thudding coming from dryer number two. He shut off the dryer and got on a ladder to look inside.
    ABC News
  • Death in the Workplace

    Cintas warned employees that climbing onto a jammed shuttle was dangerous and prohibited the practice, but workers told ABC News that it was a common way for them to get a clogged conveyor belt moving again. Here another worker at the Tulsa plant is seen on a conveyor belt prior to the day Torres Gomez died. Almost four years before the Torres Gomez incident, another Cintas employee fell into a dryer while trying to clear a jammed shuttle at a different facility. He was rescued by a coworker who happened to be nearby. A Cintas executive sent a memo in April 2004 to all regional managers and many other company officials saying that "under no circumstances" should employees work on a machine that has not been shut off first.
    ABC News
  • The Man Who Died in the Dryer

    Here, in more footage taken prior to the day Torres Gomez died, another worker at the Tulsa Cintas laundry climbs on the robotic shuttle.
    ABC News
  • The Man Who Died in the Dryer

    Two managers at Smurfit-Stone Container Corp. in Salinas, California pleaded guilty earlier this year to conspiring to deny workers' compensation to injured employees. An investigation by the Monterey County District Attorney and state insurance regulators found that David Polk and Douglas Tateoka allegedly steered more than two dozen workers away from worker's compensation between 1999 and 2007. The men are scheduled to be sentenced on May 20.
    ABC News
  • The Man Who Died in the Dryer

    Francisco Pulido, a worker at Smurfit-Stone Container Corp. in Salinas, California, says he sliced off part of a finger in a machine at the packaging company.
    ABC News
  • The Man Who Died in the Dryer

    Pulido claims that rather than miss work because of his accident he was told to return to work on "light duty," meaning he was told to sit in a conference room on a metal chair and watch safety videos for 8 hours a day. Pulido also alleges that supervisors hid OSHA paperwork from him.
    ABC News
  • The Man Who Died in the Dryer

    Smurfit-Stone employee Chris Arruda told ABC News that he felt something pop in his back while pushing a stack of pallets on rollers. He says that instead of being taken to an ER in an ambulance, he was driven in a private car to a clinic. The doctor at the clinic was actually a physician's assistant. Smurfit-Stone has not responded to ABC News requests for comment.
    ABC News
  • The Man Who Died in the Dryer

    According to Chris Arruda, his bosses at Smurfit-Stone suspended him for three days for being injured.
    ABC News
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
See It, Share It
PHOTO: Salvager Eric Schmitt was combing through the wreckage of a convoy of Spanish ships that sank off the coast of Florida in 1715 when he discovered a missing piece from a gold Pyx.
Courtesy 1715 Fleet - Queens Jewels, LLC
Lisa Kudrow
Seth Poppel/Yearbook Library | Getty Images
PHOTO: In this April 26, 2013 photo, a large home intended for the family of Warren Jeffs is seen in Hildale, Utah.
Trent Nelson/The Salt Lake Tribune/AP
PHOTO: Zac Efron seen at BBC Radio One, April 24, 2014, in London.
Neil P. Mockford/GC Images/Getty Images