Through a public records request, the Utah Labor Commission confirmed the four incidents, three of which remain under investigation.
The latest one led to the death of Anita Irene Coester, a 51-year-old maintenance worker. Initial reports from Grantsville police said Coester had been “pulled in” to a machine and caught in moving parts.
But a Purple spokesperson, Misty Bond, told 2News that is not the case.
We can confirm a maintenance worker was injured and succumbed to her injuries while performing a repair and the employee was not pulled into a machine,” Bond wrote in an email. “We reiterate, we would like to respect the wishes of the family and not provide any other additional details at this time.”
Bond said safety is the company’s “number one priority,” and that the company has “never experienced a life-threatening incident until now.”
“There was an unrelated, less severe incident at the same facility a few weeks ago,” Bond said. “The employee involved was never in a coma and is expected to make a full recovery.”
No other details were offered, however. The Utah Labor Commission also did not make any information available about that incident or a third reported safety incident as both are still under investigation.
According to a Labor Commission report, the fourth reported incident happened February 4. It involved a 70-year-old production worker who slipped, hit a table, and broke a rib, according to the report.
As for Thursday’s fatal accident, Bond said Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officials cleared Purple to resume operations after production was suspended following the accident.
However, we are conducting an internal assessment and will not resume full production until we are satisfied this type of event will never occur again,” Bond said. “We are also in the process of engaging an outside firm to assist us in reviewing, and where appropriate, improving our safety and training procedures.”
She said the company is also offering grief counselors for employees and slowly transitioning them back to work.