OSHA investigating workplace fatality at Urbana manufacturer

The Rittal company in Urbana. BILL LACKEY/STAFF
Caption
The Rittal company in Urbana. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

A 26-year-old man from New Carlisle was killed in a workplace incident at the Rittal manufacturing facility in Urbana.

Jacob Becht was pronounced dead Thursday morning after being transported to Mercy Health Urbana Hospital following an incident involving heavy machinery.

First responders received a report at 10:38 a.m., Thursday that an employee was caught in a piece of machinery at the Urbana Rittal facility, located at 1 Rittal Place.

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Urbana fire responded to the scene and transported Becht to the hospital were he was pronounced dead at 11:16 a.m. His body was taken to the Montgomery County Coroner Office for an autopsy report.

Becht’s name was released to the News-Sun Friday afternoon by the Champaign County Coroner Joshua Richards, who said preliminary autopsy reports show death by blunt force trauma to the head.

However, he added that the full autopsy report is still being conducted.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is currently conducting an investigation, which is being aided by the Urbana Police Division.

Urbana Police Chief Matt Lingrell said his department cannot release much information at this time regarding the incident at Rittal due to the active investigation by OSHA.

He did say that no other injuries have been reported and that an incident report by his division would most likely be completed by next week.

An OSHA spokesperson said that during their investigation, members of Rittal and potential witnesses will be interviewed to make sure that no OSHA standards were violated.

“(OSHA) will work to complete the investigation as quickly and thoroughly as possible. By law, we have up to 6 months to complete the investigation following the date it was opened,” the spokesperson told the News-Sun on Friday.

Representatives of Rittal did not respond as of Friday afternoon to a request for comment from the News-Sun.

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A search of OSHA’s online database showed no citations issued against Rittal between 2015 and 2020.

The News-Sun reported on another area workplace fatality that took place earlier this year at Enon Sand and Gravel in Clark County.

A 56-year-old man was pronounced dead in May after getting trapped in a hopper. He had climbed into it in order to dislodge a blockage that had occurred.

The man later identified as Rodger A. Zimmerman was engulfed in material and was trapped inside. He was later pronounced dead at the scene after his body was recovered.