Kia worker, crushed to death, died of asphyxiation

John Edd Dunnivant, who died Tuesday at the Kia Motors auto factory in West Point, was asphyxiated due to a massive load of steel falling on him, according to Troup County Coroner Jeffrey Cook

Dunnivant, who was 57 and lived in nearby Lanett, Ala., worked in the stamping department and was crushed by the steel he was maneuvering via hand-controlled crane, a coworker told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

West Point police responded at 11:10 am. Dunnivant was dead by the time officers arrived.

The state medical examiner’s office in Atlanta performed an autopsy Wednesday. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the death. A report won’t be available for months, though.

Kia, which makes Sorentos, Optimas and Sante Fes (for Hyundai) at the massive factory along the Georgia-Alabama line, halted second and third shift production Tuesday. Work resumed Wednesday.

Dunnivant is the first employee to die at the Kia plant which currently employs 3,000 and runs full-out to keep up with demand for the popular cars and crossovers. A contract worker was killed during construction in January 2008.

OSHA has cited Kia for three workplace safety violations since opening in 2009.