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Sue Bush
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Trucking Firm Worker Killed At Specialty Minerals

By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Friday, July 28, 2006

Adams - A 25-year-old employee of the Adams Trucking Co. was killed on July 27 while operating a weed-cutting tool at Specialty Minerals, Inc. 260 Columbia St..

Jason M. Houran of 34 Brown St. was part of a trucking company crew working at a Specialty Minerals-owned quarry when the accident occurred, said David Ferris, Specialty Minerals regional manager of human resources. Houran was using the tool when he cut a wire and apparently created a short circuit in a power line. The short circuit is believed to have caused electrocution, Ferris said.

Investigators of the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration were at the accident scene initially but because Specialty Minerals conducts a mining/quarry operation, OSHA does not have investigation jurisdiction. OSHA investigators left the premises during July 28 and investigators of the U.S. Mine Health and Safety Administration are launching an investigation, Ferris said.

Ferris said that five MINHSA officials were at the site during July 28 and are speaking with Specialty Minerals employees and co-workers of Houran who were working with him when the accident occurred.

Investigators are examining all equipment involved in the incident as well, Ferris said.

"They are truly looking at everything," he said.

The investigation is ongoing, Ferris said.

The accident was reported at 11:33 a.m. as a male down in a quarry. Town police officers and Adams Ambulance Service emergency medical technicians responded to the scene. Houran was taken to North Adams Regional Hospital by ambulance just past noontime. Berkshire County Associate Medical Examiner Benjamin Glick pronounced Houran dead.
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