06/08/2010 // WPB, FL, USA // Nicole Howley // Nicole Howley

Santa Cruz, CA—A long-time employee with Santa Cruz County was tragically killed when he was pulled into a wood chipper. The worker was reportedly clearing brush outside Watsonville, when the accident took place at around 9:09 a.m., on Paulsen Road, off of Green Valley Road, as reported by KSBW.

Police officials reported, Henry Lira Sr., 61, was working alongside a Public Works crew, which were clearing brush on Monday morning, June 7, 2010. Lira, who worked for the county since 1969, was pronounced dead at the scene by responding emergency medical crews, after he was pulled into the wood chipper.

Officials say it’s too early to determine whether the accident was caused by a mechanical problem with the chipper, or because of human error.

The county public works and sheriff departments and the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) are investigating fatal workplace accident.

The Department of Public Works issued the a statement following the workers untimely death, “We are deeply saddened by this incident, and our hearts and condolences go out to (the victim’s) family and friends.”

The crew who was working alongside Lira, who witnessed the accident, is being offered counseling to help deal with the tragic accident.

Legal News Reporter: Nicole Howley-Legal news for California workplace accident lawyers.

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