FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) – A 21-year-old man died Wednesday after being injured by falling glass while on the job at Bi-Lo on Sunday evening, according to Florence County Coroner Keith von Lutcken.
Ryan Hoffman, of Lamar, worked at the Bi-Lo on Pamplico Highway in Florence, and was a student at Francis Marion University, von Lutcken confirmed.
Preliminary findings by the coroner's office indicate Hoffman was struck by falling glass from a large window. The cause of the incident is unknown at this time.
Bi-Lo Regional Vice President Gordon Schmidt issued a statement on behalf of the company:
"We are deeply grieving for the loss of our friend and associate. This unfortunate accident has left a void in our community, and in our store, and we are doing all that we can to support and respect the privacy of our associate's family during this difficult time."
Hoffman was a student at Francis Marion University.
Philip Fulmer, a FMU physics professor who served as Hoffman's adviser, said he took his studies seriously and came to class anxious to learn.
"Several of us have taught him," Fulmer said. "From the perspective of our students, the department, across the university and, really, up through the administration, it's a serious loss for us. It's tragic and it really points out just how fragile life is."
The Florence County Coroner's Office and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of South Carolina are investigating the incident, and an autopsy was performed on Hoffman on Thursday, von Lutcken said.
According to OSHA, on average, almost 90 workers a week die on the job, with about 8 percent of them being struck by an object.