On April 30, 2017, 60-year-old Lawrence Ray Shiner Jr. was repairing a 145-foot-tall boiler at the Kapstone Paper and Packaging paper mill in North Charleston, SC.
While he was repairing the boiler, he was buried in an "avalanche of salt cake" and died as a result of the industrial accident.
A new wrongful death lawsuit filed by Shiner’s estate is attempting to hold Palmetto Industrial Services and Thompson Industrial Services accountable. Palmetto and Thompson were hired by Kapstone to clean residue out the 13-story boiler. The lawsuit states that both companies were responsible for making sure that the boilers were safe for maintenance operations.
Shiner and the co-workers were underneath the boiler when one employee heard a “loud rumble.”
According to the lawsuit, a massive amount of toxic salt cake fell on Shiner and another coworker. Shiner was buried alive.
The coworker was buried up to his neck, but was pulled from the avalanche by the plant’s in-house rescue staff. The team was on site in minutes and tried to dig Shiner out, but could not rescue him in time.
According to WCSC, the lawsuit accuses Palmetto and Thompson of a "failure to properly remove all salt cake deposits accumulated on the interior tubes and walls.“
According to the lawsuit, Shiner suffocated under the “toxic residual salt cake” and died of mechanical asphyxiation.
OSHA has cited Kapstone, now owned by WestRock, several times for unsafe working conditions.
Shiner left behind a wife, two kids and eight grandchildren. A GoFundMe page set up for his family described him as “a family man, good friend and Union man.”