Second Fatality at Work

By: Laura Gibbs
By: Laura Gibbs

Gary Helfvogt died from a fall at a Farm Supply Center in Belvidere. This is rare to see two workplace accidents in less than a month.

On January 13 a concrete wall collapsed killing 50-year-old Craig Bicker of Freeport.

Thursday, 25-year-old Gary Helfvogt stepped on a wooden plank and fell 35 feet. Helfvogt was employed by Growmark Farm Service. At a fertilizer warehouse in Belvidere, his job is to pick up and deliver fertilizer. Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA was on scene Thursday and Friday investigating.

A manager at Growmark tells 23 News that it's not uncommon for workers to be so high up. This is the time of year that they have to stock the fertilizer for the year. OSHA says it's very easy for a plank to not be secured, especially at a building that is well over 30 years old.

One of the ingredients in the fertilizer corrodes metal. OSHA says the next stage is going over the company’s safety manual. They'll be looking for how often workers are required to check the catwalk. If anything is found, the company can be fined up to $7,000.

Belvidere police were also investigating and found nothing suspicious.


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