BARTOW, Fla. (WFLA) — An employee with Polk County’s North Central Landfill died Friday evening after he was crushed by a bulldozer while inside of a porta-potty, according to a Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
A county spokeswoman told 8 On Your Side deputies were called to the landfill Friday shortly after 5 p.m. as the workers were getting ready to shut down the facility.
The county said the victim was 40-year-old traffic control contract employee Aaron Henderson.
Deputies said Henderson was assigned as a “spotter,” meaning his task was to provide traffic control to incoming and outgoing dump trucks dumping trash within the landfill.
At the time, the bulldozer driver was operating his rig up an embankment to park for the end of the day. Deputies said the front blade of the bulldozer was elevated three to four feet off the ground, blocking the front view of the rig.
Once the driver was on level ground, he began to turn the bulldozer and heard a loud crumble. As he moved forward, he noticed he went over a porta-potty which he was unaware was near the staging area, the sheriff’s office said.
“He immediately exited the bulldozer and ran towards the porta-potty to see if anyone was inside of it. At that time, he observed Henderson unresponsive inside the porta-potty,” the press release stated.
OSHA was immediately contacted. An autopsy will be scheduled at a later date. Authorities said the incident appeared to be a “tragic, industrial accident.”
“Last night’s incident was a tragic accident,” Board Chair Martha Santiago said. “Our Board asks that you keep the family and friends of the deceased in your thoughts and prayers.”
So far, this is the first fatality reported in the history of the landfill, according to the release.
“The Landfill is a dynamic, industrial environment with movement of hundreds of trucks coming to unload and heavy equipment at the Landfill all day long,” said County Manager Bill Beasley. “We have never experienced anything like this here.”
According to the county, Henderson was employed by Cert-Temp.