Workers killed

This week: Explosions, falls, fires, suffocation, shootings, electrocution, vehicle-related incidents…and yet another trench collapse. Never short of different ways for workers to die on the job. On average, almost 100 workers are killed every week in the United States due to traumatic injuries suffered at work.   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 killed on the job after being trapped in silo

ELMIRA HEIGHTS, N.Y. — One person was killed on the job at Anchor Glass in Elmira Heights, N.Y. around 6 p.m. Sunday, the Chemung County Sheriff’s Office said. Authorities said in a news release that Guy L. Peck II, 60, of Waverly, N.Y. was killed when he entered a silo and became trapped in the lime powder that it was containing. They said Peck entered the silo when he noticed a problem with it and then became stuck inside. Other employees, along with members of the Elmira Heights, Town and Country and Elmira City fire departments tried to rescue Peck but were not successful. He was pronounced dead at the scene by the Chemung County Medical Examiner’s Office. The Chemung County Sheriff’s Office said it is working with OHSA investigators. They said a preliminary investigation determined that the situation is not a criminal matter.

1 killed, 2 hurt in explosion while trying to thaw door at Korkan Granite in Tallmadge

Tallmadge, OH — One man was killed and two women were injured in an explosion Monday morning in the parking lot of a Tallmadge business. Firefighters were called to Korkan Granite, 4561 Crystal Parkway, in Tallmadge, at 8:39 a.m. for a reported explosion. Authorities said one man was killed and two women were injured in the blast. Tallmadge Deputy Fire Chief Department Ben Stasik identified the man who died as Jacob Williams, 25, of Cuyahoga Falls. He suffered injuries consistent with an explosion. One woman was taken to Summa Akron City Hospital and the other woman was treated at the scene. Officials remove containers at the scene of a storage unit that exploded killing one person and injuring two others at Korkan Granite in Tallmadge Monday morning. The names of those killed or hurt in the explosion and the extent of the women’s injuries were not released. Assistant Fire Chief Ben Stasik said it appears a pair of employees were attempting to thaw a door to gain access to a large storage container across from the main building in the business parking lot when the container blew up. He said he did not know what the employees were using to thaw the door. Temperatures at the time were well below freezing.  Stasik said investigators are still attempting to determine what caused the explosion that sent debris flying some 100 yards from the container that was located near a parking lot of the business.

Firefighter shot, killed while putting out blaze in Stockton; suspect detained

Stockton, CA — A 20-year veteran of the Stockton Fire Department was shot and killed Monday morning while putting out a fire. A suspect and a gun were recovered, according to the Stockton Police Department. Fire Capt. Max Fortuna, 47, was shot while responding with firefighters to a dumpster fire around 5 a.m., Stockton police said. A 67-year-old suspect was arrested and a firearm was found at the scene, according to police. “This is my worst nightmare as a fire chief,” Fire Chief Rick Edwards said during a morning media briefing. Firefighters were putting out a blaze when Fortuna was shot. He died at a hospital, according to police.

Police: West Texas deputy killed in crash with truck

MENTONE, Texas – A 41-year-old West Texas sheriff’s deputy has died after a crash with a truck, officials said Sunday. Loving County Deputy Lorin Readmond was driving to help another deputy with a call Saturday when she collided with a semi-tractor-trailer truck, a Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman said. Readmond was pronounced dead at the scene.

Contract worker dies following trench collapse on Sand Island

HONOLULU, HI – A contract worker has died following a trench collapse on Sand Island Access Road, according to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. Officials said the incident happened around 10 a.m. Saturday at a construction site behind a baseball field. DLNR said the 23-year-old man involved with the Sand Island Sewer Improvement Project. The accident killed a 23-year-old Waianae man. The medical examiner identified the victim as Trevor Alvarado.

Two Indiana police officers killed in single vehicle crash

SEDALIA, IN — A Carroll County Sheriff’s deputy and a jail staffer have died after being involved in an accident Saturday morning on U.S. Route 421 in Sedalia. Clinton County officials say a Rossville Deputy Town Marshal was trying to conduct a traffic stop on State Road 26, but the driver didn’t stop, so the Town Marshal called for backup, according to an Indiana State Police news release. Carroll County Sheriff’s Deputy Noah Rainey was on the way to assist when his vehicle went off the road and hit a utility pole. Jail Deputy Dane Northcutt was also inside the vehicle, but he was not on duty at the time. When other officers arrived to help, they found both men and tried to save their lives

Truck driver killed in collision on Interstate 95 in Sussex early Sunday

STONY CREEK, VA — State police say a Florida man was killed early Sunday morning when his tractor-trailer collided with another big rig on Interstate 95.The wreck happened shortly before 2:30 a.m. on northbound I-95 near the 32-mile marker, about a mile north of the state Route 40 exit. State police said the 45-year-old truck driver, Alcides Garcia Olmes of Orlando, was in the right lane when he came up on another truck driven by someone identified as Jean Balazar, no address given, and struck it. The impact of the crash caused debris to scatter across the road, closing the interstate for several hours and forcing traffic to be diverted onto Route 40. State police said Olmes was killed on impact. Balazar was charged at the scene with having defective brakes on his truck. An investigation is ongoing.

Security Guard Killed, 3 Men Arrested After Assault at Mesquite Fitness Center

Mesquite, TX — One man is dead and three others are in police custody after an assault at a fitness center in Mesquite, police said. According to the Mesquite Police Department, officers were notified of an assault call at the Fitness Connection l at approximately 4:30 p.m. Police said witnesses at the scene informed officers that a security guard had been assaulted by multiple male suspects and he was currently lying on the ground. The man, identified by family as 43-year-old Patrick Prejean, was taken to a hospital and later died. 

Construction company releases statement after deadly CR-210 crash

Jacksonville, FL — Three construction workers died after a crash involving a semi-truck on County Road 210 on Thursday morning, according to a statement from Vallencourt Construction. A fourth person is in stable condition in the hospital, as of Friday afternoon. St. Johns County deputies said the crash happened around 11:30 a.m. near South Hampton Road. Lanes in the area were closed for several hours while officials responded. It appears a large truck rolled in its side and may have come in contact with an SUV. Vallencourt Construction shared a statement mourning the loss of David Barnes II, Darren Mosley and James Wilkinson. Joseph Bryant is recovering in the hospital.

New York truck driver killed in crash on I-81 in Hagerstown

Hagerstown, MD — The identity of the deceased truck driver has been released as 31-year-old Nonamegiven Simrat of Queens, NY from Friday’s early morning crash. The tractor trailer traveled off the roadway and overturned, according to Maryland State Police. Simrat was pronounced dead on the scene. The driver was unrestrained and ejected from the truck. There were no other injuries or vehicles involved, according to MSP.

Cement mixer truck driver killed in Nocatee crash, FHP says

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – The driver of a cement mixer truck was killed late Thursday morning when the vehicle flipped over in the Nocatee area, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. FHP said it happened shortly before 11:45 a.m. on Nocatee Parkway at U.S. Highway 1. For some unknown reason, troopers said, the driver lost control of the cement mixer when it entered a curve on the flyover, striking a concrete barrier wall. Troopers said the vehicle then overturned and traveled down an embankment. The Highway Patrol said the driver, a 36-year-old Jacksonville man, died at the scene.

Window washer dies in fall at Father Joe’s building in San Diego’s East Village

San Diego, CA — According to police and fire authorities, a window cleaner fell from a 14-foot scaffold and died late Wednesday morning while working in a newly opened East Village building run by Father Joe’s Village. Monica Munoz, a spokeswoman for the San Diego Fire Department, said the incident was reported on the corner of 14th Street and the shopping street shortly after 11:50 am. The 14-story building will provide housing for more than 500 homeless and low-income earners, and the first tenant will relocate this month. A San Diego police spokesperson said police officers had notified Cal-OSHA, a state agency investigating labor-related deaths, in response to a fatal fall. Edi Cañedo was cleaning the windows of a multi-story building in San Diego’s East Village when, according to police, the suspended scaffolding he was standing on failed, dropping Cañedo eight stories to his death. He was three days away from his birthday, one month away from marrying his fiancé Alejandra and just three months away from meeting their baby girl.

Man dies in Cassia County industrial accident

BURLEY, ID — Two Mini-Cassia men died from falls in industrial accidents in two days this week. Cassia County Coroner Craig Rinehart said a 58-year-old man died at a Barclay Mechanical job site at 700 S. 350 E., where he was working on a silo. The accident occurred at 2:12 p.m. Tuesday. In the second accident, which has previously been reported, a 62-year-old man died at Cassia Regional Hospital after falling Wednesday at Gem State Processing in Heyburn. “Both men fell about 20 feet,” Rinehart said. “Both men were local and all their family members have been notified.” Rinehart said he could not release the names of the men at this time and that investigations are ongoing, including investigations by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).Cassia County Sheriff George Warrell said the man on the Barclay job site was nonresponsive when medical personnel arrived and it was determined that he had died from his injuries. He was not taken to the hospital. Warrell said it appears that he was doing repairs on a roof when he fell.

Truck driver killed in crash involving sand hauler

Kermit, Texas — A truck driver is dead after crash involving a truck hauling sand. The fatal accident happened on Thursday, January 27th at around 7:30 a.m. in Kermit, Texas. According to San Angelo Live, the collision occurred on Highway 302, five miles outside of the city limits. First responders arrived to find the two involved semi trucks wrecked in the middle of the highway, with the sand hauler’s trailer partially inside of the other truck’s cab. Crews worked to remove the trailer from the truck cab and then extricate the driver. The truck driver was later pronounced dead at the scene.

Worker dies at Eli Lilly in Durham

DURHAM, N.C. — A worker died during an accident at the Eli Lilly pharmaceutic building in Durham on Monday, according to the North Carolina Department of Labor. A witness said that a man fell to his death while working, but officials have not confirmed this detail.

Man dies after fall at Heyburn’s Gem State Processing

HEYBURN, ID — A man fell from a structure at Gem State Processing early Wednesday morning and later died at the hospital. Minidoka County Sheriff Dave Pinther said the call for an ambulance came through dispatch at 3:06 a.m. Pinther said the man had fallen and he had heard the man later died. Pinther said none of his officers were requested at the scene. Officers at the Heyburn Police station said they did not receive a request for officers either. The facility on U.S. Highway 30 processes potatoes.

19-year-old electrocuted at home construction site in Johnston County, officials say

Benson, NC — A 19-year-old man died Tuesday after being electrocuted in Johnston County, officials said. Around 6:30 p.m., Cristian Salazar of Raleigh was working on the construction of a home on Zacks Mill Road in Benson, said Capt. Jeffrey Caldwell of the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office. A boom truck was being used to lift wood to the roof of the home, and Salazar had been pulling a cable to hook the wood, Caldwell said. The cable got close to a power line, causing electricity to arc to it and electrocute Salazar, according to witnesses. First responders were called to the scene, where Salazar was pronounced dead.

Albuquerque massage shop employee killed in violent shoot-out

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque police have named the man they say killed a female employee at a massage shop during an attempted robbery. Officials say surveillance video showed 18-year-old Jorge Rivera-Ramirez walk into Wonderful Massage at 5716 Menaul Boulevard NE just after 8 p.m. Monday. The video shows the man pay a woman later identified as 45-year-old Sihui Fang. Later in the video you see Fang with a gun pointed at her head as she is forced to open the front door to let another man inside. You see Fang attempt to run from the business but is dragged back inside and dragged down a hallway by her hair.
Through investigation, detectives learned that Fang and Rivera-Ramirez got into a shoot-out and shot several rounds at each other. Fang was killed in the shooting and died at the scene.

2nd NYPD Officer Dies After Friday Shooting in Harlem

New York, NY — Two NYPD officers, Jason Rivera and Wilbert Mora, have died after they were shot in Harlem Friday while responding to a domestic violence call. Rivera’s funeral is set for Friday at St. Patrick’s Cathedral; Mora’ funeral will be held Feb. 2. Accused gunman Lashawn McNeil died of his wounds Monday after being shot by a third officer. NYPD Officer Wilbert Mora has died after a days-long struggle, following his shooting in Harlem Friday night. Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell announced Mora’s death Tuesday in a tweet, shortly after he underwent surgery to donate his organs, adding to what she called “incalculable” grief within the department. Sewell called Mora “3 times a hero. For choosing a life of service. For sacrificing his life to protect others. For giving life even in death through organ donation.”  Mora, 27, was taken off life support at a Manhattan hospital four days after a gunman shot him and Officer Jason Rivera, 22, as they responded to a domestic disturbance call. Before dying, Mora’s heart, liver, pancreas and both kidneys were donated to others.

Three firefighters killed, one in critical condition after being trapped in blaze in vacant Baltimore rowhome

Baltimore, MD — A fire in an empty rowhouse in Baltimore left three firefighters dead and one in Shock Trauma. Three Baltimore firefighters were killed and a fourth remains on life support after being trapped in a blaze inside a vacant home Monday that’s one of the deadliest for first responders in the city’s history. The firefighters were inside a rowhouse in the 200 block of S. Stricker St. in the city’s New Southwest/Mount Clare neighborhood when it partially collapsed. Two firefighters were pronounced dead at University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center. Another firefighter was pronounced dead at the scene. They were identified as Lt. Paul Butrim, firefighter/paramedic Kelsey Sadler and EMT/firefighter Kenny Lacayo. EMT/firefighter John McMaster remains in the hospital. The four have served a collective 44 years with the department.

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