Tragedy at CERN
Oct 27, 2005
A technician has died in an accident at CERN. José Pereira Lages, who worked for the company DBS, died on Tuesday when a piece of electrical equipment weighing 1200 kg fell on him at the laboratory in Geneva.
Mr Pereira Lages and co-workers were positioning a cabinet containing electrical switchgear in the LHC tunnel at the lab when the accident happened. "For reasons as yet unknown, the cabinet slipped on its support and fell on him," said Robert Aymar, Director-General of CERN, in a statement. "CERN's emergency services were on the scene immediately, but were unfortunately unable to help." The statement added that "the operation being undertaken was a common one."
All work of a similar nature at CERN has been stopped until further notice and separate enquiries into the accident have been launched by CERN's security commission, the Geneva works inspectorate and the Geneva police.
Mr Pereira Lages, who was leader of the LHC general services team at points 1 and 8 in the LHC tunnel, had a reputation of being one of the best forklift truck drivers at CERN. The latest issue of the CERN Bulletin contains an article that describes how he won the individual unloading event at the recent French Forklift Championships. A team led by Mr Pereira Lages, who was one of 200 DBS employees working at CERN, also finished second in the team event.
Transport and handling work at the lab was suspended for 24 hours as a mark of respect and the lab has sent its condolences to Mr Pereira Lages' family.