PALMDALE : Mechanic's Death Ruled Accidental

The death of a mechanic crushed under a collapsing work platform at a Rockwell-North American aircraft plant in Palmdale last month has been ruled accidental by state investigators.

Richard Hess, 62, was killed Feb. 24 after he raised the scissors-style platform but failed to set a locking device, according to a report released Tuesday by Cal-OSHA officials in Van Nuys.

When Hess failed to appear for lunch, a fellow worker went looking for him and found him pinned at the base of the platform.

Cal-OSHA said the incident "appears to be an independent act on the part of the employee" and that no citations will be issued against Rockwell-North American. The aircraft maker employs 1,900 people at its Palmdale plant.

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