The Santa Cruz County maintenance worker who died after getting caught in a wood chipper on Monday in Watsonville has been identified as 60-year-old Henry Lira, of Santa Cruz, the coroner's office confirmed today.
Lira had been part of a Public Works Department crew doing road maintenance and tree work on Whiting Road near Paulsen Road when the incident occurred, the sheriff's office said.
At around 9:10 a.m., Lira somehow got caught in the chipper while feeding trim wood into a wood chipper at the work site, Cal/OSHA spokeswoman Krisann Chasarik said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Chasarik said Cal/OSHA is investigating how he was pulled into the chipper, but said that a preliminary investigation indicates the death was accidental.
Chasarik had worked for the county since 1969.
The county's mental health crisis team is providing support to employees who were present when the accident happened.