public employee

This week: Confined space, machinery deaths,  shootings, stabbings, forklifts, electrocution, vehicle incidents.

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.  The few narratives below (gathered from almost 100 Google News searches) do not come close to capturing the full 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. 

Employee stabbed to death at Lake Avenue store in Rochester

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A convenience store employee was stabbed to death Monday morning on the city’s northwest side, Rochester police officials say. According to Rochester Police Capt. Frank Umbrino, officers were called the convenience store, located in the 400 block of Lake Avenue, for the report of an altercation around 9:30 a.m. Upon arrival, officers found the victim, a man in his 50s who was an employee of the store, dead from apparent stab wounds, Umbrino said.

Laurinburg police search for juvenile after store employee shot dead

LAURINBURG, N.C. (WBTW) — Laurinburg police are searching for a 16-year-old juvenile after a store employee was shot dead Saturday night, according to the Laurinburg Police Department. Police were called to Ahlams Convenience store on Caldeonia Road for reports of a shooting. Officers found Nabil Ali Mohammed Alrabaly, 32, of Laurinburg, unresponsive with a gunshot wound in the parking lot, according to police. He was pronounced dead on scene.

City worker dies after getting trapped in tank at wastewater treatment plant

HONOLULU, HI – A city worker died Friday after getting trapped in a tank at the Honouliuli Wastewater Treatment Plant in Ewa Beach. The facility treats wastewater for use on things like irrigation and in cooling towers. The Honolulu Fire Department said they were called to the scene about 10 a.m. Firefighters were able to retrieve the city employee. The Office of the Medical Examiner was subsequently called to the scene. In a statement, Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi expressed his condolences to the family and said the city “mourns the loss of our dedicated city employee.”

Paynesville man dies 6 months after being electrocuted in tree-cutting accident

Clarkfield, MN — A central Minnesota man who made headlines when he was electrocuted in a work accident this past spring has succumbed to his injuries. Brad Kneisl, who owned his own tree trimming service, suffered severe burns on May 24 while working in the town of Clarkfield in Yellow Medicine County. According to local authorities, Kneisl was in a bucket lift that came into contact with a “live high line wire,” resulting in his electrocution. He was flown to Hennepin County Healthcare and faced “a very long road to recovery.” He died of complications from his injuries on Tuesday, November 23, near Baldwin, Wisconsin.

Security guard protecting San Francisco news crew dies after being shot in attempted robbery

OAKLAND, Calif — A security guard has died after he was shot while he protected a San Francisco Bay Area television news crew covering a smash-and-grab theft, part of a rash of organized retail crime in the region. “We are devastated by the loss of security guard and our friend, Kevin Nishita. Our deepest sympathy goes to Kevin’s wife, his children, his family, and to all his friends and colleagues,” KRON-TV’s vice president and general manager, Jim Rose, said in a statement issued Saturday. Nishita was an armed guard for Star Protection Agency and provided security for television news crews in the region, who are often targeted by robbers for their equipment. He was shot in the abdomen during an attempted robbery of KRON-TV’s camera equipment near downtown Oakland on Wednesday, police said. The news crew was covering a recent robbery where a group of thieves broke in and stole from a clothing store.

Former X-Factor Star Dies In Freak Conveyor Belt Accident

Idabel, OK — Thomas Wells, who also appeared in America’s Got Talent and The Voice, died while working at a tyre manufacturing plant in Oklahoma earlier this month. He was 46 years old. Thomas’ wife of 17 years, Jessica Wells, told TMZ Thomas became trapped in an automatic conveyer machine that did not stop. The talented singer and entertainer was rushed to a nearby hospital, and was later airlifted to a larger hospital in Tyler, Texas, where it was hoped specialists would be able to save him. Sadly, Thomas died in hospital from his injuries on November 13.

Employee killed in forklift accident at Home Depot

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. (WSET) – Fairfax County police say a man is dead after a workplace incident at a Home Depot early Tuesday morning. According to police, officers responded to a Home Depot at 2815 Merrilee Drive where they say a man was fatally injured by a forklift he was operating. Paul Gato, 43, of Woodbridge, was pronounced dead on the scene. Detectives determined Gato was unloading supplies from a delivery truck when the forklift fell, trapping him.

Metal construction frames topple, killing man at N.J. work site, authorities say

Millburn Township, NJ — A 40-year-old worker died Tuesday at a construction site in Essex County when metal frames fell over, killing him instantly, authorities said. The victim, who was not immediately identified, was injured shortly after 3 p.m. at the site, which is located at 90 Farley Road in the Short Hills section of Millburn Township.  The victim, of Spring Valley, New York, was pronounced dead at the scene and his body was taken to the New Jersey Regional Medical Examiner’s Office. Millburn police said the man worked for Uzeiri Construction of Mahwah.

Man killed in industrial accident in Kentwood

KENTWOOD, Mich.    A worker was killed in an industrial accident at a Kentwood plant Wednesday morning. It happened around 6:25 a.m. at Ventra Grand Rapids in the area of 32nd Street SE near Breton Road. Kentwood police say Moses Kur, 37, of Kentwood, was injured while working on a machine. He died as a result of his injuries. The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating.

80-year-old security guard killed, another injured in west Jefferson County shooting

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ala (WBMA) — An 80-year-old man was killed and a 44-year-old man was injured after a shooting early Wednesday morning on Blue Creek Road in west Jefferson County. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said both men worked at the Blue Creek Road location as security guards at an active strip mine.

MO truck driver killed when big-rig crashed through a Lufkin store

Lufkin, TX — A tragic story coming out of Lufkin on Thanksgiving Eve where a driver died when his big-rig crashed completely through an auto parts store. KTRE 9 News in Lufkin is reporting that it happened at about 4:25 Wednesday morning on Timberland Drive. Lufkin Police say the 18-wheeler was traveling southbound on Timberland when, for an unknown reason, the semi went off the street and traveled several hundred yards, crashed through utility poles, and then went completely through an Auto Zone. The truck finally stopped in a Kiwanis Park behind an office building. Lufkin Police later identified the driver as 62-year-old Brian Golliday, of St Louis, Missouri.

Deceased identified in Colorado Timber Resources fatality

Grand County, CO — The Grand County Coroner’s Office identified the man who died in an industrial accident Monday at Colorado Timber Resources as Pierce Hopkins, 24, of Kremmling. The cause or manner of death was not provided, and officials with the coroner’s office said they could not release any other information at this time. Hopkins’ death is under investigation.

Ark. deputy killed in single-vehicle crash

INDEPENDENCE COUNTY, Ark. — The Independence County Sheriff’s Office is mourning Deputy Frank Ramirez, who was killed in the line of duty last week. Ramirez was involved in a single-vehicle crash on November 18, the sheriff’s office said in a Facebook post. According to KATV, the deputy lost control while navigating a turn just before 1 a.m. Ramirez, 29, was married with two young children.

One Killed in Industrial Accident off FM 1484 in Cut and Shoot, TX

Cut and Shoot, TX — November 22, 2021, a man was killed in an alleged industrial accident at a machine shop along Farm to Market Road 1484 in Cut and Shoot. Authorities say the incident happened Monday morning at the shop off FM 1484. The circumstances of the accident aren’t yet known, but reports indicate the victim, a man in his 60’s, was pulled into a machine at that location and suffered traumatic injuries. He was pronounced dead when Montgomery County officials arrived at the scene.

Security concerns at Denver Rescue Mission after murder of employee

DENVER, CO — Security concerns have arisen at a Denver Rescue Mission shelter where a worker was killed over the weekend. The Denver Rescue Mission worker was stabbed to death as he left for the evening Saturday night. It happened outside the facility in northwest Denver on East 48th Avenue. We are told the murdered worker, Fabian Olguin was well-liked. “He was cleaning, sanitizing always making sure that everybody was healthy in here. Every time you said hello to him, he’d say good morning. He really stayed to himself and he worked very hard,” resident Robert Searcy said. 22-year-old man arrested in Denver Rescue Mission employee stabbing death, Christopher Christian, has been charged with the stabbing. Christian, the affidavit said, had been kicked out of the facility Friday night for fighting.

Southwest Airlines Worker Fatally Shot at El Paso Airport Parking Lot

El Paso, TX — Police on Sunday, Nov. 21 continued investigating the death of a Southwest Airlines worker who was shot near an employee parking lot at the airport in El Paso. Police say they were dispatched to the airport the night of Nov. 19 on an aggravated robbery call and when officers arrived, they found the body of the worker. In a statement, Southwest Airlines said the unidentified employee, who worked at the airport’s ground operations, had been fatally shot while leaving work. Juan R. Anzaldo, 49, is survived by four sons and two daughters.

One thought on “Weekly Toll: Workers Lose Their Lives as Holidays Approach”
  1. Thank you, Jordan, for such a great public service; I read Confined Space every day. The death in a sewage tank reminded me, not for the first time, that the fatalities you report have all happened before. Without stronger enforcement and tougher penalties these entirely preventable tragedies will repeat themselves over and over again.
    Rena Steinzor

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