OSHA Investigates Fatality at Phenix City Lumberyard

PHENIX CITY, AL (WXTX) – Linda Williams is dealing with the loss of her brother, 57-year-old Charles Mercer. He passed away at the Columbus Medical Center Monday morning.

"From the get-go they told us he was not going to make it. He was not going to make it," said Williams.

For ten years, Mercer had been an on and off employee at Phenix Lumber Yard off Opelika Road and Cutrate Road in Phenix City. The owner, John Dudley, declined an on camera interview with WXTX but says Mercer started back to work a week ago. The very next day, Dudley says the laborer was installing a motor in a piece of machinery when it somehow slipped and hit him on the head.

Dudley says after it happened, Mercer was speaking to coworkers so they didn't think his injuries were too severe. He was taken to the hospital where his condition turned out to be much worse than they thought.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) confirms they now have an open case into Mercer's death- what they're officially calling a fatality inspection.

The lumber yard's owner says this is the first death he's dealt with in 50 years.

Charles Mercer's family members say they're left with unanswered questions.

"What actually happened to my brother? Why did he have to lose his life when on July 21st he would have turned 58 years old. This is somebody's life that just ended. He will be dearly missed," Linda Williams added.

OSHA officials say their cases generally can take up to six months to complete.

Charles Mercer's family in the meantime is planning his funeral services and John Dudley, the owner of Phenix Lumber Yard, says he is encouraging workers to use extra caution on the job.