On average, 14 workers are killed every day in the United States due to traumatic injuries suffered at work. That’s almost 100 every week.  Ten times as many die from occupational diseases, many due to exposure to hazardous substances many years before they died, or from COVID-19 acquire at work.  Needless to say, the few narratives below (gathered from almost 100 Google News searches) do not come close to capturing the toll that work takes on the working people of this country even in normal years, much less during the COVID pandemic. Nevertheless the accounts below gave you a taste of the preventable carnage occurring in workplaces across the country every day. 


Worker dies in apparent fall at Valero refinery in Benicia

BENICIA, CA — A man working at the Valero refinery in Benicia died after an apparent fall Friday night, according to media reports and the fuel company. Thirty-five-year-old Luis Gutierrez, a contract worker from Wilmington, died at about 10:30 p.m. at the sprawling facility at 3400 E. Second Street. Valero spokesperson Paul Adler confirmed the death and described the victim as a contractor with the company.

Officer killed in Southwest Virginia; suspect arrested in Tennessee

BIG STONE GAP, Va. (WRIC) — A police officer in the small Southwest Virginia town of Big Stone Gap died on Nov. 13 after being shot in the line of duty. According to WJHL, Officer Michael Chandler was performing a welfare check on an individual in an empty house around 4 a.m. on Saturday, when he encountered “at least one individual” and was shot.

1 dead, 1 injured in ‘flash explosion’ at Lubbock X-FAB facility

Lubbock, TX — One person is dead and another is injured after an apparent explosion Friday morning in north Lubbock’s X-FAB Texas facility, the company confirmed in a statement. At approximately 9 a.m. Friday, there was a “flash explosion” during maintenance on the deionized water system which did not result in a fire onsite, according to a statement from X-FAB. However, one person was killed and one employee was taken to University Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.

27-year-old employee dies on the job at Eldridge concrete plant

Eldridge, IL — On Thursday, Nov. 11 at approximately 2:37 p.m., the Eldridge Police Department along with the Eldridge Fire Department and Medic responded to KE Flatwork for an injured employee. Upon arrival, medical personnel with Medic and Eldridge Fire attempted to perform life-saving measures on the 27-year-old employee, but were unsuccessful. The victim was pronounced deceased on scene at approximately 3 p.m. There is no foul play suspected and the investigation has been turned over to OSHA, according to Eldridge Police. The name of the victim is being held pending notification of family.

Forklift operator killed in crash on Old River Road identified

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A man who died Tuesday when the forklift he was driving collided with another vehicle on Old River Road has been identified. Jesus Adalberto Rosales Peraza, 47, was the operator of the forklift and died at the scene of the crash on northbound Old River Road, east of Valpredo Road, according to coroner’s officials. The collision occurred at about 6:10 p.m.

Tucson sector Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Anibal Perez dies in line of duty

TUCSON, AZ — A Tucson sector border patrol agent reportedly died in the line of duty earlier this month. Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Anibal “Tony” A. Perez reportedly died Nov. 5, according to United States Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz. ABC15 reached out to United States Customs and Border Protection for more information on the incident, but the department said, “At this time no additional information is available.”

Baxter Springs firefighter dies from October on-duty injuries

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) – The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office said on Thursday that a Baxter Springs firefighter died from injuries suffered fighting a fire last month. Lieutenant Malachi Brown had been hospitalized since Oct. 16. According the the Baxter Springs Fire Auxiliary Facebook page, Brown was part of a volunteer crew that battled a structure fire in the early-morning hours. At the time, the page asked for thoughts and prayers for Brown, who was not named in that post. The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page said Brown was survived by his wife and children.

Denny’s employee dies after being shot in parking lot, Wichita police say

WICHITA, Kan.  – A 45-year-old Denny’s employee was shot in the parking lot of the restaurant where he worked early Wednesday morning has died. Wichita Police Department spokesperson Charley Davidson said Monzell Brocks was pronounced dead sometime after arriving at a local hospital. The shooting happened at around 2:30 a.m. at the Denny’s at Harry and Bluffview. The investigation revealed Brooks and several other people were sitting at a table inside the restaurant. As the group began to leave, Officer Davidson said Brooks went outside as well and shots were fired.

Florida firefighter dies while working at crash scene

JACKSONVILLE, FL — A firefighter died while working at the scene of a traffic crash early Thursday in Jacksonville, officials said. The crash scene involved “a difficult and prolonged extrication,” according to a news release from the Jacksonville Fire Rescue Department.

Huerta in Gentry site of deadly shooting, suspect arrested

GENTRY, Ark. — A worker was shot and killed at the La Huerta restaurant in Gentry, Arkansas, Wednesday morning, according to Gentry Police Chief Clay Stewart. Police arrested the suspect, Martin E. Tavarez-Torres, 21, of Bartlesville, Oklahoma. He was taken into custody at his brother’s house in Fayetteville. The 40-year-old victim was an employee of the restaurant and was in the kitchen area when he was shot in the back of the head, Stewart said.

LI Worker Dies From ‘Apparent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning’

FORT SALONGA, NY — A construction worker died while at a residential job site on Tuesday afternoon on Long Island from what police are calling apparent carbon monoxide poisoning. Victor Irizarry, a Suffolk Excavating employee, was working for about 15 minutes to remove silt from the bottom of a drainage pipe about 10-feet into the ground at a home on Fort Salonga Road, when he stopped responding to co-workers at about 2:35 p.m., Suffolk police said. A co-worker tried to go down the pipe to rescue him, but “felt burning in his nose and throat” and it forced him to get out of the pipe, according to police.  The Kings Park Fire Department responded and “found carbon monoxide levels to be dangerously high” but firefighters were able to pull Irizarry from the pipe, police said.

One killed, another injured in construction accident in Orange City

Orange City, FL — A construction worker from Kissimmee died Nov. 8 when a portion of the unfinished roof collapsed at a Dollar General store being built in Orange City. Orange City police said Fredys Montejopolo, 67, was working on the ground level inside the structure at 1550 S. Volusia Ave. about 1:30 p,m., along with his brother, Guillermo Montejo, 57, when the roof suddenly began to fall. Montejopolo was trapped and pinned under the debris. At the moment of the roof’s fall, witnesses said, Montejopolo had been handing pieces of lumber to his younger brother, who was working above him. A construction supervisor, Jimmy Gonzalez, 50, of Orlando, told police Montejopolo attempted to get away from the falling debris, but was crushed by the material that fell on him.

Landscaper killed after being crushed by runaway truck

ROUND HILL, VA — A landscaper was killed Tuesday after police said he was run over by a runaway truck he tried to stop. The worker has been identified by authorities as 37-year-old Nathaniel Lee McCoy of Stephens City. Lt. Warren W. Gosnell, Frederick County Sheriff’s Office spokesman, said the man was part of a crew doing construction and landscaping work on the home. He said the truck, which was carrying cinder blocks, began to roll east. “He caught up with the truck and somehow became entangled with the truck and was, unfortunately, run over by the vehicle,” Gosnell said. “The truck was making a delivery of cinder blocks. The truck started rolling away and the victim tried to get it to stop.”

Truck driver from Columbus killed in Licking County crash

LICKING COUNTY, Ohio (WCMH) — A crash in Licking County has left a semi-truck driver dead.  According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, at about 4:26 p.m., Monday, Abdukadir K. Shill, 29, of Columbus, was driving a 2015 Freightliner Cascadia semi-truck eastbound on I-70 near Bowling Green Township, when the truck traveled off the roadway and struck a bridge abutment.

Coroner identifies tow truck driver killed in hit-and-run on I-95; search continues for suspect vehicle

DILLON COUNTY, S.C. – Troopers continue to search for the driver accused of hitting and killing a tow truck driver along I-95 in Dillon County. The South Carolina Highway Patrol  said a tow truck operator was standing outside of the truck and assisting a disabled vehicle when they were hit and killed by a Volvo VNL. Dillon County Coroner Donnie Grimsley identified the victim as 48-year-old Steven Bullard of Red Springs, N.C.

Tow truck driver killed in I-80 crash identified

LOGANTON, PA — The Pennsylvania Towing Association has identified the tow truck operator who was killed after being struck by a vehicle on Saturday night along Interstate 80 near Loganton. James Corl, owner and operator of   College Township-based Valley Truck and Trailer, was removing a disabled semi-trailer on I-80 near mile marker 184.9 at about 9:30 p.m. At that time, a driver traveling eastbound struck the tow truck from behind, according to state police at Lamar. Corl was outside of the truck at the time and sustained fatal injuries, police said.h

Jackson County deputy dies 3 days after shootout

Jackson County, Georgia — Deputy Lena Nicole Marshall, who joined the sheriff’s office in June 2020, died shortly before 4 p.m. after she was shot Friday night by a suspect, Sheriff Janis Mangum confirmed. The GBI identified the shooter as Jessica Worsham, 43, of Hoschton. Marshall was taken to the hospital in critical condition Friday night after a domestic call in Jackson County, officials said. She died in the hospital Monday afternoon.

Man dies after industrial accident in southeast Oklahoma City, officials say

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK — A man died after an industrial accident Monday morning in southeast Oklahoma City, fire department officials confirmed.  Fire department crews responded around 8:25 a.m. to a reported industrial accident in the 6800 block of South Sunnyland Road, near Southeast 59th Street and Interstate 240. When they arrived, officials said they found a man about 30 feet off the ground in a scissor lift. The victim was wedged between two pipes, and first responders determined that he was dead, according to a news release. The news release says the man was removing overhead piping from the building when the incident happened



One thought on “Weekly Toll: Workers Who Will Never See the Fall Leaves”
  1. Jordan, good morning and thank you for posting the running commentary on OSHA & regrettably the @14 US daily fatals …. the summary is sobering.
    One of the things that occurs to me is the number of fatals from transportation related circumstances. And that OSHA has a hands-off policy since that falls under the DOT.
    A little help from the regulatory side wouldn’t hurt. For example from the State Plan states? Virginia has a Back Up / Reverse Operation rule.
    Another impression I get from reading the list of fatals is the diversity of ways there are to get killed on a job. And also that there is never going to be a way to legislate or regulate a preventive strategy for a lot of these. It’s kind of a scary outcome.
    What’s your take on this? The infinite variety of ways to exit this ‘vale of tears’ is truly daunting.
    Suffice to say you’re doing a phenomenal job keeping us safety nerds up to date on OSHA activity. Thank you for the perseverance. I missed your commentary for the 4 years of the last administration. Glad to be reading your posts again.
    John Meola

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