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Deputies: Man, 61, killed in industrial accident

Sources: Bulldozer runs over operator contracted with mining company

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – A Williston, Florida, man was killed Monday afternoon in an industrial accident in western Clay County, authorities said.

The Clay County Sheriff's Office identified the victim as James Henderson, 61, who worked as a heavy machine operator for Brown and Root for 18 years, deputies said.

Henderson was being contracted by Chemours Mining, which owns the property on County Road 218 near State Road 301, where he died.

He was trapped in the track of a machine and killed about 4 p.m., according to the Sheriff's Office.

Sources told News4Jax the machine that ran over and killed Henderson was a bulldozer.

"It's not clear how this incident occurred," Chemours spokeswoman Janet Smith said. "No one observed it happening. If something is discovered after the fact, it would, of course, launch an investigation to better understand how it came about."

Smith said such a tragedy has never occurred at the site before.

"This is something that is shocking to us and is not something we've experienced before at this site and something we'd never expect to ever happen," Smith said.

Federal workplace authorities who handle mining accidents will be looking into the incident.

Smith said in the meantime Chemours will continue to stress that the safety of its employees is paramount.

"Safety is critical in everything we do, and I mean everything," Smith said. "We not only stress it at our plant sites but also in our offices at work as well, and we encourage employees to keep that same focus at home."

Smith said the hearts and prayers of Chemours' employees are now with Henderson's family.

"Life is very precious. It can be very fragile," Smith said. "An Incident like this just reminds us how careful you have to be at all times. And that's one of the things that we do emphasize on a daily basis for the workplace."

Mine operations will be shut down overnight, deputies said. 

News4Jax could not find any Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspection reports for either Chemours or Brown and Root in the state of Florida.