This week: Explosions, falls, forklift, shootings, machines, vehicle-related incidents. Lots of 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.
18-year-old worker killed in forklift accident at SC distribution center, coroner says
Mauldin, SC — An 18-year-old worker was using a forklift when he was killed on the job in South Carolina, officials said. Leobardo Garcia died of blunt-force trauma after he was hit in the head at a distribution center, the Greenville County Coroner’s Office said in a news release. Officials said Garcia was operating a forklift on Feb. 4 when it hit an overhead door, which then fell onto him. The 18-year-old Fountain Inn resident died at the scene. The incident happened at an ADUSA Distribution center in Mauldin, southeast of Greenville, WYFF reported
Construction worker killed in 4-vehicle Orlando crash, officials say
ORLANDO, Fla. — All northbound lanes were shut down following an early morning crash in Orlando. Officials say four vehicles were involved and a construction worker was killed in the area of Narcoossee Road and Tyson Road. The crash took place around 2:30 a.m. in an active construction zone, according to Florida Highway Patrol. Officials say a driver failed to drive within the traffic shift and struck two vehicles and two pedestrians before jumping from the vehicle and fleeing into a marsh. Two Florida agricultural officers working off-duty for the construction company detained the driver, who was taken to the hospital with serious injuries. A 35-year-old construction worker was pronounced dead at the scene. Officials say he worked for Flash-Rite Inc. A 28-year-old man was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.
Bucket truck driver killed in crash on I-35 near Ardmore
ARDMORE, Okla. (KXII) – The driver of a bucket truck was killed in a crash Thursday afternoon on Interstate 35 near Ardmore. According to Oklahoma troopers, the 2019 Freightliner M2 was northbound at mile marker 27 around 4:30 p.m. when Samuel Jim, 31, of Jacksonville, North Carolina, lost control on the ice covered roadway, went off the highway, and overturned. Jim was partially ejected and pinned underneath the vehicle for over two hours. He was pronounced dead at the scene. A passenger in the truck was taken to the hospital with an arm injury, admitted in stable condition. The trooper’s report stated Jim was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.
Worker’s death under investigation
Iola, KS — Iola police are waiting on a preliminary autopsy report to help them figure out how a construction worker died Monday at the site of a new elementary school. The 33-year-old Haysville resident was found deceased in a portable restroom at the construction site for the new Iola Elementary School, Police Chief Jared Warner said. It was not clear how the man died but there was no indication of anything suspicious, Warner said.
Mich. Police Officer Killed in On-Duty Crash
Flint, MI — Flint Police Capt. Collin Birnie died Friday in a traffic crash while on duty, police wrote in a Facebook post. Birnie was a Flint police officer for 26 years, according to the post.
Drunk Driver Crashes Into Another Crash, Kills Firefighter, Injures 3
Lower Merion, PA — An Egg Harbor, NJ resident driving through Lower Merion, PA, while drinking alcoholic beverages, crashed into emergency responders at the scene of another DUI crash on I-76 in the early morning hours Friday. The collision killed one firefighter, injured two others, and injured a state trooper, all of whom had responded to the first crash at 3:15 a.m., before the 63-year old woman’s car drove into a car that was involved in the first collision. She faces vehicular homicide charges.
Yonkers Bar Worker Shot And Killed Following Dispute, Person Of Interest In Custody
YONKERS, N.Y. — A man was shot and killed at a bar in Yonkers overnight, police said Sunday. A gunman opened fire into Duo Tapas Bar and Lounge on Yonkers Avenue following a dispute around 2 a.m., according to police. The suspect fired several shots, hitting two men who were working at the bar, police said. The employees were rushed to the hospital where one of them died.A person of interest was taken into custody, but they were not immediately charged, police said. Detectives were trying to uncover more information.
Man killed at Bojangles by coworker identified by Lexington County coroner
Lexington County, SC — One employee at a Lexington County fast food restaurant is dead and another is behind bars after a shooting, the Chapin Police Department said Thursday. William McArthur Hicks Jr., was killed, Lexington County Coroner Margaret Fisher said. The 21-year-old Neeses resident was shot multiple times, according to Fisher. At about 4 p.m. Wednesday, officers responded to a shooting at the Bojangles at 566 Columbia Ave., police said in a news release. That’s near Exit 91 on Interstate 26. Officers determined an argument between two employees led to a shooting. Information about what the men were arguing about was not available, but police said the gunfire was an isolated incident.
Volunteer firefighter dies after burning barn explodes in Marion County
Marion County, OR — A volunteer firefighter attempting to extinguish a Marion County barn blaze died Thursday after the fire set off a powerful blast, authorities say. Austin Smith was taking part in “defensive operations” after the agricultural structure on Champoeg Creek Lane Northeast caught fire about 4 a.m., according to St. Paul Rural Fire Protection District Chief Bryan Lee. Something in the barn unexpectedly exploded, critically injuring Smith, 30, officials said. Paramedics who were already at the scene rushed to treat Smith, who was flown to OHSU Hospital, where he died.He’s survived by his wife and extended family members.
Loudon County deputy killed in I-75 crash identified
LOUDON, Tenn. (WATE) — Loudon County officials have identified the deputy that was killed in a crash on northbound I-75 early Thursday morning. A Tennessee Highway Patrol spokesperson said Loudon County Sgt. Chris Jenkins responded to I-75 N near the Tennessee River bridge around mile marker 74 to remove a ladder that had fallen onto the roadway. While attempting to clear the roadway, an oncoming tractor-trailer struck Jenkins, his patrol unit and two other vehicles. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Truck driver killed in crash on I-45 in Dallas
Dallas, TX — A truck driver is dead after a crash in Dallas on Wednesday night, police say. The crash happened just before 10 p.m. on Interstate 45 near Interstate 30, Dallas police said. The driver was ejected from the wreckage and over the guardrail, falling onto the I-30 ramp, police said. He was killed on impact; a dog was also found dead. Winter weather was starting to move into the area by Wednesday night and the pavement was wet from the rain. Police have not said how much of a factor road conditions were in the crash.
Construction worker killed in cave-in at bridge at U.S. Hwy. 27/441
Lady Lake, FL — A construction worker has been killed in a cave-in at the bridge at U.S. Hwy. 27/441 in Lady Lake. John Terranova, 27, was found dead after a cave-in at a construction site Wednesday evening. The accident occurred Wednesday afternoon when the worker, who reportedly was operating a Bobcat-style piece of equipment, ran into an obstruction and climbed down into a hole to investigate. A retaining wall caved in on top of him. He was soon buried in rubble. Numerous firetrucks and emergency personnel were summoned to the scene, and a frantic effort began to try to unearth the trapped worker. The Villages Public Safety Department joined in the effort to rescue the worker. The Florida Urban Search and Rescue team quickly positioned its members on the bridge in the rescue effort. However, by about 6 p.m. the rescue effort officially shifted to the grim task of recovering the body of the construction worker, who was presumed dead.
Worker killed at Cannon Falls fertilizer plant
Cannon Falls, MN — A worker was killed at Sustane Natural Fertilizer in Cannon Falls Tuesday morning. A 37-year-old man was pulled into a machine and was reported to be unresponsive around 6 a.m., according to a news release from the Cannon Falls Police Department. Officers arrived on scene and confirmed the employee was dead. The Cannon Falls Fire Department and the Cannon Falls Ambulance assisted at the scene. Further investigation of how the victim died will be conducted by the Regional Medical Examiner’s Office of Southern Minnesota and the Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
2 officers killed during shooting at Bridgewater College campus, suspect in custody
Bridgewater, VA — A campus police officer and a campus safety officer were killed during a shooting at a Virginia college Tuesday afternoon after responding to reports of a “suspicious” person on campus, officials said. Multiple agencies responded to Bridgewater College in Bridgewater following a report of an active shooter around 1:20 p.m. local time, school officials said. The two officers were responding to a call of a “suspicious male individual” on the grounds of the college’s Memorial Hall, according to Virginia State Police spokesperson Corinne Geller. After a brief interaction, the suspect opened fire, striking both officers, she said. The suspect fled on foot and was apprehended about a half-hour later off-campus, officials said. The two officers died from their injuries, Bridgewater spokesperson Logan Boger confirmed to ABC News. They were identified by the college’s president as Campus Police Officer John Painter and Campus Safety Officer J.J. Jefferson.
Security guard killed in shooting at Downtown Atlanta hookah bar
ATLANTA, GA – A security guard at a Downtown Atlanta hookah bar has been killed after an overnight shooting. Police say around 1 a.m. Wednesday they responded to reports of shots fired at the Encore Hookah Bar and Bistro on the 300 block of Luckie Street. At the scene, officers found a 28-year-old security guard with at least one bullet wound. According to investigators, management at the bar asked a patron to leave. Once outside, that person got into a physical fight with a security guard. The altercation escalated into gunfire and the guard ended up getting shot. Investigators wouldn’t say why the gunman was asked to leave the bar.
Truck driver killed in crash at I-81 work zone
WEYERS CAVE, Va. (AP) — Virginia State Police say the driver of a crash truck accompanying a crew setting up a work zone on Interstate 81 was killed when a tractor-trailer rear-ended the truck. Police say the Ford F-650 truck was stopped in the left lane early Tuesday as a crew set up cones. They say the truck’s arrow board was activated and amber lights were flashing when the tractor-trailer rear-ended the truck, sending it into the median, where it overturned. Police say the truck’s driver, Shawn Dick of Paw Paw, West Virginia, died at the scene. The tractor-trailer driver was taken to a hospital with injuries that weren’t considered life-threatening. Police say charges are pending.
Man falls to his death from 12th floor in Fort Lauderdale
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A yellow tarp covered a man’s body under the shadow of the Playa Del Mar condominiums on Tuesday afternoon in Fort Lauderdale. The man fell to his death from the 12th floor of the oceanfront building, according to the Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue Department. Fire Rescue personnel and police officers responded to 3900 Galt Ocean Dr., where there was a scaffold and ongoing repairs. Yellow crime scene tape surrounded the construction area where the man died while working, police said. Fort Lauderdale detectives and agents with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration were investigating the man’s death.
Worker killed in logging accident in Washington County
WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ala. (WALA) — A logger died on the job while working in Washington County on Tuesday. The sheriff’s office said it happened in the woods off of Davidson Road in the Four Points community. The coroner’s office identified the victim as 56-year-old Armon Dale Reed. Investigators said he suffered blunt force trauma when a hydraulic line on some equipment malfunctioned and pinned him.
Truck driver killed in tractor-trailer crash on 495 in Mansfield
MANSFIELD, MA – A truck driver was killed after his tractor-trailer crashed early Monday morning off Route 495 in Mansfield, according to State Police. State Police found a 2022 Freightliner 150 feet into the woods when they responded to the accident at 3:35 a.m. Jan. 31 on Route 495 South. Preliminary investigation indicates the tractor trailer, while traveling northbound on 495, and for reasons still under investigation, crossed the median and all three southbound lanes and crashed into the woods, according to State Police. No other vehicles were involved. Troopers located the driver, Peter Fennell, 55, of Missouri, removed him from the vehicle, and performed CPR until Foxborough and Mansfield emergency medical personnel arrived on scene, State Police said. Despite the efforts of first responders, Fennell succumbed to his injuries on scene.