A Luzerne County man is dead after what investigators are calling an industrial accident Saturday afternoon at the Procter & Gamble plant in Wyoming County.
Officials with Procter & Gamble said the man was a 14-year employee and that the plant has gone decades without a deadly incident like this.
More than 2,000 employees work at the Procter & Gamble plant in the Mehoopany area just outside Tunkhannock.
Saturday afternoon, the company lost a long-time employee, Jason Slavish, 36, of Wilkes-Barre, in what investigators are calling an industrial accident.
“Jason was a 14-year employee of P&G and manufacturing process coach, and will be deeply missed. Our hearts go out to Jason`s family, friends and co-workers,” said Louay Mishu, P&G Mehoopany Family Care plant manager.
A P&G spokesperson said the incident happened when production was down for regularly scheduled maintenance.
The Wyoming County coroner said Slavish was injured during repair work on a paper machine and was taken to nearby Tyler Memorial hospital, where he died.
“I think it’s terrible. It`s tragic, it really is. It’s hard to hear when somebody dies that young. It’s really sad,” said Karla Kovaleski.
Kovaleski works at the Dandy Mini Mart near the plant. Her stepson works at P&G and her husband used to as well.
She said P&G employees stop in many times a day.
“Say a prayer. Hopefully everybody will get through it,” Kovaleski added. “Hopefully everybody will remain safe and try not to have this happen again.”
Bill Allen said he cannot remember the last time a deadly accident happened at the plant.
“It’s not a very common event in my experience. I’ve known people who have worked there for 40 years, and if it was an unsafe place, they probably wouldn’t,” said Bill Allen of Forkston.
Procter & Gamble is one of the largest employers in Wyoming County. Some people who have worked for the company, or know someone who does, said the plant is normally a safe place.
“It was always safe. They’re big on safety. Steel-toe boots, safety glasses and like I said, they always had a board that said so many days safe and it was always a high number. I’ve never seen it down,” said Matt Boice of Mehoopany.
He did work around the plant for about five years.
He said he feels for Slavish’s family and others who knew him.
“I couldn’t imagine going to work and not coming home to see your family,” added Boice.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, has been called in to investigate.
A P&G spokesperson said in his 25 years with the company, there has never been an accident like the one Saturday, but officials are still looking into how the incident happened.
Grief counselors will be at the plant this week.