The Weekly Toll: In Memoriam

Since I restarted this blog last month, I’ve mostly focused on policy and political issues, because, well….we’ve been overwhelmed by daily attacks by Congress and the Trump administration that undermine workplace safety standards and OSHA’s budget.

But ultimately, we’re only fighting the policy and political issues because working people are getting hurt and killed every day in the workplace, and more has to be done to stop the carnage.  Today I resume a necessary —  if depressing — task that I conducted every couple of weeks in the last version of Confined Space: The Weekly Toll, a list of every worker I could find that was killed in the workplace over the previous week or two. The main reason I started the original version of Confined Space in 2003 was that I realized that while a few workers killed in  workplace incidents sometimes receive enormous media attention, most workers die alone and unnoticed by anyone except their immediate families and friends. Something had to be done to ensure that these thousands aren’t dying in vain. And in 2004 I noted that

You will only need a few moments on Google to find the names, pictures, hometowns and dates of death of every American killed in Afghanistan and Iraq over the past three years. But you can search long and hard, and ultimately in vain for the names of the more than 5,000 American killed in the workplace last year. You’ll find the few that I can locate on Confined Space. But otherwise, they don’t exist, except in statistics.

The names below are the reason we’re all fighting to realize the promise of the Occupational Safety and Health Act — to assure that every American worker gets to come home safe and healthy at the end of every work day.  The task of assembling this information is not easy and I want to thank Tammy Miser, director of USMWF for continuing to carry on all these years with this list, and I’ve drawn upon her efforts at USWMF’s Twitter feed which is updated frequently.

I will attempt to keep this up to date, but realize that all of these come out of the news. Many fatalities that never get reported and will continue to be missed here. And you will also notice that some of the articles don’t even have a worker’s name because it’s being withheld until next-of-kin are notified. And often, by the time their notified, the press has lost interest, and we never learn the names.

So read on about the falls, explosions, crushing, road accidents, shootings, electrocutions and more.

They’re all in a day’s work.

 

W. Mich. truck driver killed in head-on crash in Saranac

SARANAC, Mich.- A family is in mourning and a teen and his mother are fighting for their lives today after a deadly head-on crash. It happened around 10:30 Wednesday morning outside the Sunoco gas station, on M-21 and South Hawley Highway, in Saranac. Right now, the Ionia County Sheriff’s Office says it looks like one of the semi drivers swerved into the other lane to avoid hitting a woman who pulled out in front of him. The driver then slammed head-on into a semi coming the other way, killing 47-year-old Anthony Nunez, of Hudsonville.

Construction worker dies after falling at film studio

FAYETTEVILLE, Ga. (AP) – A construction worker [Javier Padraza-Perez, 44, of Roswell, GA]  has died after falling at a film studio outside Atlanta. News outlets report that the unidentified 41-year-old contract worker fell while working on a new warehouse at Pinewood Atlanta Studios on Tuesday morning [April 4].

Worker killed in crash at I-20 construction site; driver believed to be impaired

Carrol County, GA — A construction worker was killed and three others were injured in the crash, which shut down westbound lanes of I-20 in Carroll County for more than two hours. About 3:10 a.m., a westbound Honda Civic drove onto the north emergency lane and hit the construction crew members, who were working between the interstate and the exit ramp for Ga. 61, according to the GSP. One of the construction workers was pronounced dead on the scene. Two others were taken to a hospital in Atlanta, one by air and the other by ambulance. A fourth construction worker was treated and released from Tanner Medical Center in Villa Rica.

 Clinton man dies in workplace accident

CLINTON, IL – A workplace accident killed a man (Kerry S. Daniels, 57) in Clinton on Thursday. DeWitt County Coroner Randy Rice says the 57-year old man died after a pallet of sheet metal fell on him at the McElroy Metal Service Center on Route 10 at about 9:50 Thursday morning. The McElroy employee was pronounced dead at the scene.

Investigation underway after H-Power worker killed in facility accident

KAPOLEI, OAHU, Hawaii – Honolulu police are investigating the death of a 41-year-old man at the H-POWER plant Thursday, [April 6]. According to police, the man suffered critical injuries to his lower extremities after an industrial accident around 12:20 p.m. Emergency Medical Services was notified, police said, and the victim was pronounced dead. [His name was Gulston “Gus” Spragling and there is more on his life here.]

CPSO releases new details, name of contractor who died in accident at Sasol

WESTLAKE, LA —A contractor died while working at Sasol Wednesday morning [April 5], said Kim Cusimano, manager of public affairs with Sasol North American Operations. Tyler J. Truett, 24, of Sulphur, fell an estimated 55 feet from scaffolding, said Kim Myers, Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman. The death appears to be accidental.

4th Person Dies After Boiler Explosion at St. Louis Business

ST. LOUIS, MO — A fourth person has died from injuries suffered when a boiler exploded at a St. Louis business April 3 and crashed through the roof of a nearby business, the St. Louis medical examiner’s office said Thursday. Clifford Lee, 53, of St. Louis, died Wednesday at St. Louis University Hospital, the medical examiner said. Lee was with two friends Monday filling out new employee paperwork at Faultless Linen Co. when the boiler that weighed about 2,000 pounds (907.19 kilograms) exploded at nearby Loy-Lange Box Co., flew through the air and crashed through the linen company’s roof, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. His friends, Christopher Watkins, 46, and Tonya Suarez-Gonzalez, 43, a married couple from St. Ann, Missouri, died at the scene. A Loy-Lange engineer, Kenneth Trentham, 59, also died in the blast.

Steel worker in Gilbert dies after large steel beam falls on him

Gilbert, AZ — Police have identified the worker who died in an industrial accident in Gilbert on Monday, April 3. Matthew Ellsworth, 34, was working at S & H Steel, at 620 W. Commerce Ave., when a steel beam fell on him at around 7:45 a.m., according to a Gilbert police spokesman.

Images released in attempted robbery at KFC in which manager was killed

SPARTANBURG, S.C. — Deputies released images Monday that they hope will help them solve an armed robbery attempt at a KFC that left the manager dead. Officers responded to a shooting at the Kentucky Fried Chicken on Cedar Springs Road around 10:30 p.m. Friday, according to officials. Officers found Anthony Duane Tiffany suffering from a fatal gunshot wound.

Pest Control Worker Killed in Apparent Fall on the Job Identified

Escondido, CA — The pest control worker killed in an apparent fall at an Escondido home Thursday has been identified as 66-year-old Jack Rafael Ruiz of Guatay, the Medical Examiner confirmed Friday. Ruiz apparently fell from the side of the house, according to Escondido Police Sergeant Fred Cheatham. Dewey Pest Control workers were working at the home at the time of the fatal fall. Ruiz’ co-worker believes his partner must have fallen over 10 feet.

Utility worker in bucket truck electrocuted in Crownsville

Crownsville, MD — A utility worker was electrocuted while working Thursday morning Crownsville, county fire department officials said. Firefighters found a man dead on the scene when they arrived, Davies said. Investigators determined he had been electrocuted by power lines while he was working in a bucket truck, he said.

Police: Miami Gardens Chili’s Employee Shot To Death By Co-Worker’s Boyfriend

MIAMI, FL  – Miami Gardens police are investigating a fatal shooting inside a Chili’s restaurant Monday afternoon. According to police, Lester Reid and a co-worker got into a verbal argument. Police said the second employee called her boyfriend, Arturo Exum, who subsequently came to Chili’s and shot Reid.

Road worker dies after crash on I-80

NEW WINDSOR, IL — A road worker is dead after a vehicle was struck by a semi Monday night [April 3]  on Interstate 80. Emergency crews were called at 10:40 p.m. to eastbound I-80, just east of the Interstate 74 overpass, for a multi-vehicle accident. Initial investigation indicates that a pickup driven by Jacklyn Ferguson, 54, of New Windsor, Illinois, an employee of Hawkeye Paving, which was doing maintenance work on the roadway, backed into the traveled portion of eastbound I-80 and was struck by the semi.

Father of 3, Husband, Identified as Worker Crushed in Concrete Wall Collapse

El Cajon, CA — A 51-year-old husband and father of three children has been identified as the construction worker crushed by a six-foot concrete wall in El Cajon Monday. Fernando Martinez, 51, was digging a trench with another worker at the site of a new car dealership when, shortly after 12 p.m., the wall – estimated to weigh between 5,000 and 6,000 pounds – collapsed onto the pair.  Martinez was a 30-year employee of Southland Paving Company, his family said in a statement.

Man killed while working at Georgia Power’s Plant Scherer

Juliette, GA — An Alabama man was killed over the weekend while working at Georgia Power Co.’s Plant Scherer in Juliette, according to officials with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Trevor Bryan, 20, died at the Medical Center, Navicent Health, about 11 p.m. Saturday, April 1, following the 4:30 p.m. accident, Monroe County Coroner Joey Proctor said. Bryan was a contractor and not an employee of Georgia Power.

Man dies after being struck by paving equipment

LAKE ZURICH, Ill.  — Authorities say a man [Jack Eiler] has died after being struck by a piece of paving equipment at a business in suburban Chicago. Lake Zurich police say they responded Wednesday to Chicagoland Paving and a 58-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene.

New Jersey Man Dies in Jessup Industrial Accident

BALTIMORE, MD  A New Jersey man died after large aluminum poles fell on him Friday morning, according to the Howard County Police Department. Police say around 8:15 a.m., Carlos Urena-Valverde, 54, was unloading aluminum poles at a Jessup business when the poles shifted weight and fell on him. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Urena-Valverde was working for a company called AD Freight Logistics in New Jersey and was making a delivery to Sunair Awnings in Jessu

Worker killed at construction site in Delaware County identified

Columbus, Ohio — A worker was killed Thursday, [March 30] at a construction site in Delaware County. The incident happened just after 12 p.m on Wrenbury Drive in Berkshire Township. According to the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office, a man was working in the basement of an unfinished home when a 2,500-pound beam fell on him. He was pronounced dead at the scene. He was identified as 34-year-old Luis Pillcorema.

Electrocution Kills Man in Canutillo

EL PASO, Texas — A spokesperson for the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office says the victim has been identified as 36-year-old Alberto Morales De La Torre. A spokesperson for the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office says a 36-year-old man died after he was electrocuted. Crews were reportedly called to the scene for an “industrial accident” at 2:18 p.m, [March 29].

Kentucky officer dies in fiery crash after high-speed chase

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A Louisville police officer died Wednesday[March 29] from injuries he suffered in a crash during a high-speed chase, city officials said.Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Police Chief Steve Conrad announced the death of Officer Nick Rodman at a news conference outside University Hospital, where lines of officers and others waited as his flag-draped body left the hospital.

Twin Falls Man Dies in Industrial Accident

TWIN FALLS, Idaho – A Twin Falls man died Wednesday afternoon after being caught in a truck’s compactor while unloading trash from the vehicle at the Twin Falls Transfer Station.The man has been identified as 53-year-old Delfino “Pep” Martinez.  Twin Falls County Coroner Gene Turley said the truck’s compactor caught Martinez unaware. “There were no malfunctions at all, just a miscalculation,” Turley said. “I think he just got caught between the blade and the front of the truck and didn’t realize it.”

OSHA investigating worksite death in Grand Forks

GRAND FORKS, ND — Scott Overson, assistant area director for the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, confirmed to the Herald that OSHA is looking into the March 29 death of 30-year-old Jared Jay Castoreno. Castoreno was working on a home renovation in Grand Forks at the time of his death, Overson said. He was working for Reynolds, N.D.-based Civil Contracting Services at the time of the accident.

Miner killed at surface mine is Kentucky’s 2nd coal death

ROCKHOLDS, KY  – An accident at a southeastern Kentucky surface coal mine killed a 33-year-old miner, the state’s second mining death this year. Joseph W. Partin died early Thursday morning [March 30] when a section of exposed rock fell on him at Green Hill Mining’s No. 51 mine in Whitley County. Partin, of Williamsburg, was doing maintenance work on an auger when the 15-foot-tall rock section fell.
Kentucky’s second mining death matched the state’s total from last year.

Wisconsin Rapids man dies at construction site

RIB MOUNTAIN, WI – An incident at a Rib Mountain construction site is under investigation after a worker died Thursday. Marathon County Sheriff’s Capt. Dale Wisnewski identified the worker as Shane Cash, 45, of Wisconsin Rapids. Cash died at about 4 p.m. Thursday [March 30] while doing working at the Hilton Garden Inn construction site in Rib Mountain. Cash was working as a subcontractor for Ghidorzi Construction.  Preliminary findings indicate Cash fell off a ladder

Man Killed After Being Trapped Underneath Forklift

TINICUM TOWNSHIP, Pa. — A man was killed after becoming trapped underneath a forklift in Delaware County Tuesday afternoon [March 30]. Officials say the industrial accident happened around 1:40 p.m. at 10 Industrial Highway at the Airport Business Complex in Tinicum Township.

Road worker dies after accident while patching potholes in Taylor

Wayne County, MI — One man is dead and several injured Thursday [March 23] after a road crew dump truck crashed into the rest of its convoy. Two Wayne County road crews were patching up potholes around 10:30 a.m [March 23]. in Taylor when they were hit by one of their own work trucks. Garden City resident David Wolf, 47,  was killed in the accident. A 61-year-old man from Belleville, 48-year-old man from Lincoln Park and 46-year-old man from Detroit were injured.

Landscaper Hit, Killed in Crash Along Del Paso Road

SACRAMENTO, CA — A landscaping worker [Jose Hernandez, 51] was killed in a crash along Del Paso Road late Thursday morning in Sacramento, according to police. Police say officers responded to reports that a truck hit a pole around 11 a.m. When they arrived, police say they found the truck had hit a person, a tree and then a pole.

 

Blog Fatalities Jordan Barab Weekly Toll

8 Comments

  1. My heart breaks for the families of these victims. I know the path they will walk. These deaths should not be happening! I fear how many families will grieve because of the regulations and policies that the current President and his administration have revoked. To those who are grieving: know that there are families who have been where you are, and we are here to support you when you need it.

  2. Thanks for doing this Jordan. I check the OSHA FatCat reports for incidents that help us investigate similar deaths in CA.

  3. Jordan: Thank you for this important public service. Please continue gathering this vital information for us in the months to come. Dave Kotelchuck

  4. Nice post. I was checking constantly this weblog and I am impressed! Very useful info specially the ultimate part 🙂 I handle such info much. I was looking for this certain info for a long time. Thanks and good luck.

  5. Matthew in Gilbert was my husband and the father of my 13 year old son. It is all so devastating. The fact that it was barely even mentioned or covered in the news appalled me. It’s like he didn’t exist. Thank you for the post. These companies don’t even care how their negligence affects others!

    1. Thanks for your note Mellisa. I’m very sorry for your loss and I understand your anger. Most of the readers of the publication have spent their lives trying to make sure tragedies like this don’t happen. I can put you in touch with USMWF, a support (and action) group for families who have lost loved ones in the workplace. Also, hopefully Arizona OSHA has been in touch with you and will conduct a thorough investigation of your husband’s death. Let me know if you have any problems with them.

      I wish the best for you and your son. You’re in my thoughts and prayers.

      — Jordan

  6. I have read through your article and i was satisfied of the good information that you have contributed in your article! Thanks a lot for that beneficial article!

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