Hospital worker killed in elevator accident

Published: Oct. 31, 2013 at 1:38 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 31, 2013 at 10:29 PM CDT
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Hospital officials confirmed an employee death Wednesday.
Hospital officials confirmed an employee death Wednesday.

DECATUR, AL (WAFF) - Officials at Decatur-Morgan Hospital confirmed that a hospital employee was killed Wednesday night after an incident involving an elevator. The incident happened around 6:45 p.m. at the Decatur General campus.

Police identified the victim as 41-year-old Michael "Dewayne" Atkins. Authorities said it appeared Atkins was killed when the elevator he was making repairs on came down on him.

Two other maintenance workers were in the same spot with Atkins moments before the elevator came down on him.

"Those two team members went to another area of the hospital. So when this happened, he was by himself, therefore there is not an eyewitness account of what happened. That's why it's going to take an extensive investigation," said hospital spokesperson Leigh Hayes.

Officials with the hospital said the elevator was a freight elevator and was not used for patients and was not accessible to the public, only to employees.

"Right now we want to keep our thoughts and prayers with the family as they are contacted regarding this tragic event. We ask that the community pray with Decatur-Morgan Hospital as we go through these trying times," said Hospital President Nathaniel Richardson.

Because hospitals are exempt from OSHA investigations, officials with the Alabama Department of Public Labor and Decatur Police will continue investigating the incident. The state inspections office said the inspection status on the elevator was up-to-date and there were no reports of serious issues with the elevator in the past.

The state hires certified inspectors with private companies to do the inspections and report back to them. The company that does inspections for Decatur Morgan Hospital is local. Investigators don't know if the elevator malfunctioned, but they said the elevator was hydraulic, so no cable fault will be involved.

Investigators are trying to figure out if there were equipment issues, human error, or any other factor contributed to what happened.

Atkins' body was transported to Huntsville Alabama Department of Forensic Science for an autopsy. He leaves behind a wife and three children.

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