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.
Mayfield Consumer Products Candle Factory, Kentucky: A Mayfield Consumer Products candle factory, occupied by about 110 people, that collapsed with workers inside during a fierce tornado Friday evening in Mayfield, Kentucky, may lead to the most fatalities of the catastrophic storm, according to Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear. “It’s heavy machinery … it’s the building that’s flattened. It’s cars from the parking lot that is on top of it. It’s huge metal drums, even ones with corrosive chemicals that were inside. It’s … pretty awful to witness.” Of the 110 workers who were believed to be at the factory when the tornado hit, as of Sunday, eight are confirmed dead and eight remain unaccounted for. Robert Daniel, a jail deputy who was supervising a group of inmates working at the victory was also killed. Employees killed at the candle factory were Joe Marshall Ward, 36, Devin Corey Burton, 21, Jeff Creason, 57, Janine Denise Johnson-Williams, 50, Kayla Smith, 30, Jill Monroe, 52, Elijah Lewis and Ivan Lopez, 51.
Amazon Warehouse, Edwardsville, Illinois: Part of the roof and one of the building’s large walls collapsed when the cyclone hit, killing six. Police confirmed this morning that six people died in the Amazon warehouse, 45 were rescued, and one was airlifted to the hospital. According to KMOV, crews have no idea how many people are missing, and Amazon has no idea how many people were inside the building at the time. Among the dead were Deandre Morrow, 28; Kevin Dickey, 62; Etheria Hebb, 34; Larry Virden, 46; and Austin McEwen, 26, and Clayton Cope, 29.
June Pennington, 52, was killed while working as an assistant manager at a Dollar General store in Leachville, Arkansas, when it was hit by the tornado. Two of June Pennington’s children said the Manila, Arkansas, resident was devoted to her four children and nine grandchildren and had a particular soft spot for animals.
Window washer dies in high-rise fall from Brooklyn building
Brooklyn, NY — A New Jersey window washer was pronounced dead on Friday, after plummeting from an elevated building under construction in Brooklyn. NY Daily News citing police officers and city officials reported that the victim is a 34-year-old worker from Harrison named Diego Rodriguez Celi. He plunged from the 12th floor of the 21-story condo building, which stands at the corner of York St. and Jay St. in Dumbo, New York. The reason behind Diego’s plummet remains under inspection by the NYPD and the city Department of Buildings. His equipment is also under investigation as his harness is believed to have been broken, New York Post reported. The elevated condominium is being constructed under New Line Structures and Development’s management. Since its groundbreaking in 2017, the city has claimed 115 complaints submitted against the construction project, of which nine cases were recorded last year alone.
Worker dies after being trapped in machinery in Kane County
GENEVA, ILL. — A 61-year-old worker died after becoming trapped in machinery at a suburban Chicago steel polishing factory, authorities said Friday. Raymondo Escobar’s cause of death was due to “asphyxia due to machinery mishap,” Kane County Coroner Rob Russell said. Geneva Fire Department officials said they were called to Bar Technologies just after 7 p.m. Thursday, but the Montgomery man already had been removed from the machinery by co-workers. Escobar was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 8:20 p.m.2 workers installing signs hit, killed next to I-35 frontage road
Worker Dies In Overnight Bike Shop Fire, Roof Collapse: MVFD
MOUNT VERNON, NY — A 3-alarm inferno at a business in Mount Vernon resulted in a partial building collapse. The body of a worker was later recovered. The fire at the retail and residential building was first reported just after 9:30 p.m. Thursday night and took several hours to contain. The body of an employee was later recovered from the Bronx River Bicycle Works site.
2 workers installing signs hit, killed next to I-35 frontage road
AUSTIN, TX — Two road workers were killed Friday after a vehicle hit them on the Interstate 35 northbound frontage road in southeast Austin, Austin-Travis County EMS said. In an update at noon Friday, Austin Police Department public information officers said the driver of a 2015 Porsche went off the road and hit two workers installing road signs. APD said the workers were “actively installing signs” in the grassy area off the road when they were hit, and other workers were in the area when the crash happened. A woman who was taking her kids to school at the time saw the accident happen, and the scene has been replaying in her mind all day long. “This is just not fair. When I saw those bodies not moving, not twitching, not breathing… I immediately knew they were dead,” said a witness. “It’s traumatizing, and it’s very messed up for him to be speeding like that.”
Firefighter dies after being struck by vehicle
LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ark. (KAIT) – A Region 8 firefighter has died while working on the job. According to the Black Rock Volunteer Fire Department, volunteer firefighter Wes Adams of the Sedgwick Fire Department died Tuesday, Dec. 7 after being in critical condition following an incident on Monday, Dec. 6. According to Sedgwick Assistant Fire Chief Heath Ring, volunteer firefighter Wes Adams was struck by another car while working a three-car crash on Highway 67. Adams was then airlifted to St. Bern
Truck driver killed in single-vehicle crash
Muskogee Phoenix, Okla.– An Arkansas man was killed when he drove off Interstate 40 in Muskogee County and crashed the truck he was driving, states an Oklahoma Highway Patrol report. Christopher Williams, 35, of Fort Smith, Arkansas, was pronounced dead at the scene at approximately 10:44 p.m. Tuesday, the report states. According to OHP, the crash happened just east of mile marker 290 eastbound, approximately 3 miles south of Webbers Falls. Williams was driving a 2009 Freightliner truck eastbound when, for an unknown reason, he drove off the right side of the road. He re-entered the roadway, and the truck overturned onto its side, striking a guardrail. Williams was ejected an unknown distance.
Semi-truck driver killed in Greenwood Co. crash
GREENWOOD COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – A semi-truck driver has died after a crash in Greenwood County. The crash happened on US 221 just after midnight, according to SCHP. The 18 wheeler drove off the right side of the road and hit several trees. The coroner’s office has identified the driver killed as 22-year-old Jalen Robertson.
Monterey County employee dies in crash on Laureles Grade Road
MONTEREY COUNTY, Calif. — On Monday a Monterey County employee died in a crash on Laureles Grade Road. Around 11 a.m., a county employee was driving heavy equipment to a public works job site when their vehicle went over an embankment. The CHP is investigating and Cal OSHA was alerted to the crash.
Worker dies after being struck by forklift at Food Lion distribution center
DUNN, N.C. — A Hope Mills man who was struck by a forklift at a Food Lion distribution center in Dunn has died, authorities said Tuesday. The Harnett County Sheriff’s Office said Dereck Carrero was walking down an aisle on Saturday at the distribution center on Arrowhead Road in Dunn, selecting products for an order, when he was struck by a high-reach motorized forklift driven by another employee. Carrero, 22, was hospitalized at WakeMed with a severe head injury but died Monday night, authorities said, adding that the incident appears to be an accident. The facility is operated by ADUSA Distribution, which provides supply-chain services to area Food Lion stores.
Artesia NMDOT employee dies following Monday crash
Roswell, NM — A longtime New Mexico Department of Transportation employee died following a Monday morning accident in Chaves County that remains under investigation. Mittie Runyan, 58, of Artesia passed away in a Lubbock, Texas, hospital due to injuries sustained from a three-vehicle incident that occurred about 10:30 a.m. Monday on U.S. 285. She and other employees with the Transportation Department had been placing reflectors on a newly resurfaced section of the highway near milepost 82, north of Artesia. According to the State Police, the accident occurred when a 2012 commercial truck rear-ended the 2020 NMDOT pickup that Runyan was operating while headed southbound and in the right lane. The impact of that collision caused Runyan’s vehicle to ram into a 2012 NMDOT pickup that was driven by a 46-year-old Transportation Department employee and around which two other employees, ages 57 and 24, were working. Neither the commercial truck driver or the other NMDOT driver were injured.
‘I lost my brother’: Hotel security guard killed after argument leads to shooting near 6th and Vine
MILWAUKEE, WI — Milwaukee police believe an argument is what led to the fatal hotel shooting of Jose Stanton, 28, near 6th and Vine Monday night, Dec. 6. It happened at approximately 11:20 p.m. at the Days Inn and Suites. The suspect remains at large. Erica Hunt, a friend of Stanton who called him by the nickname “Rico” said he was working as a security guard at the hotel. “He did his job too well,” said Hunt. “He did his job too well and he paid the ultimate price for doing his job too well.” Hunt told CBS 58 there was an apparent dispute between a woman and her boyfriend Monday night and Stanton told them they had to leave. She explained that the man returned to the Days Inn and shot Stanton. Milwaukee police said the 28-year-old was shot multiple times and died at the scene.
Police: Truck driver killed in Isle of Wight County hazmat crash
ISLE OF WIGHT COUNTY, Va. — Virginia State Police is investigating a fatal vehicle crash in Isle of Wight County involving a hazmat spill. Officers said they responded to the 14000 block of Tylers Beach Road where a single-vehicle propane truck overturned around 11:26 a.m. The driver of the truck, 63-year-old Carlton Cherry, had died at the scene. A spokesperson for VSP said investigators think Cherry lost control of the International 4400 propane truck and it ran off the road. Then, they say he attempted to get back on the road, and ended up overcorrecting. That’s when the truck hit a tree and turned over. Sgt. Michelle Anaya with the VSP said Cherry died on impact. He wasn’t wearing his seatbelt, and was the only person in the truck. After the vehicle overturned, it started to leak propane, which caused a hazmat situation.
Truck Driver Killed in Crash with Train
Harrisonville, MO — December 7, 2021, one person was killed in a collision between a commercial truck and a train on Brickplant Road in Harrisonville. Authorities say the incident happened around 2:30 p.m. at tracks across Brickplant/Anaconda Road, between South Brookhart Drive and North Clearwater Drive. The circumstances of the accident are not yet clear, but reports indicate a commercial 18-wheeler and a freight train collided on the tracks. Footage taken by an onlooker shows the big rig overturned by the tracks and its cab on fire. The truck driver reportedly suffered fatal injuries in the collision.
Road construction worker hit, killed in crash near Asheville
WOODFIN, N.C. – Police said an arrest has been made after a road construction worker was killed in a crash outside Asheville on Sunday. Dario Caravajal Dominguez, 50, of Candler, was working on Future Interstate 26 west between exit 25 and exit 24 when the crash occurred just after 11:46 p.m., Woodfin police said. Dominguez died at the scene.
One thought on “Weekly Toll: Tornadoes, Falls, Machines, Vehicles, Shootings — Dying in American Workplaces”
Driving is dangerous, is the main thing I notice. Operating a vehicle is too easy, creating a culture of risk taking.