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.
Road rage investigated in fatal shooting of Charlotte bus driver
Charlotte, NC — A Charlotte, North Carolina, city bus driver has died after being shot while at the wheel and on his route with passengers aboard in what police are investigating as a possible road rage incident, authorities said. Ethan Rivera, 41, a driver for the Charlotte Area Transit System, died at a hospital Saturday night, a day after being shot while operating a bus in a busy area of uptown Charlotte, police said. No arrests have been announced as of Sunday as Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police homicide detectives combed through surveillance video and urged witnesses to come forward with information that could help identify the shooter. Rivera was on his route about 9:30 p.m. Friday when he was shot while stopped at a red light, authorities said. Police sources told ABC affiliate WSOC-TV in Charlotte that investigators are looking into whether the shooting is linked to a road-rage altercation with a motorist.
OSHA investigating work-related death in Spartanburg
SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating a work-related death that occurred in Spartanburg on Friday. According to a release from the Spartanburg County Coroner’s Office, 56-year-old William Larry Reynolds, of Orangeburg, was pronounced dead at the hospital around 5:28 p.m. on Friday. The coroner’s office responded to the hospital in reference to a work-related incident on South Church Street Ext. in Spartanburg.
A Florida Agricultural Law Enforcement Officer died in a crash in Nassau County Saturday night.
NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. – A Florida Agricultural Law Enforcement Officer died after a crash on I-95 in Nassau County, the Florida Highway Patrol said Sunday. At around 8:30 p.m., Officer James McWhorter, 31, was attempting to cross the southbound lanes of I-95 at the median in a marked Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services patrol car near mile marker 380. When he pulled out he was struck by a Ford F-150 truck on the passenger side. Both vehicles ended up on the right shoulder of the highway.
The four passengers of the Ford were transported to a local hospital with minor injuries. Officer McWhorter worked in the Law Enforcement Division of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for over two years. He leaves behind a fiancée and four children.
Construction worker dies in apparent accidental fall in Brooklyn
Brooklyn, NY — A construction worker was found lying dead on the second floor of the terrace landing at 124 Columbia Heights, Friday morning. Plainfield resident Angel Pilataxis fell from a building in Brooklyn Heights at about 10:20 a.m. on Friday. He was pronounced dead at the scene after what appears to have been an accidental eight-story fall from the balcony he was working on. Council Member Lincoln Restler tweeted, “Like this tragedy, these avoidable deaths often involve Latino workers at non-union construction sites. Our office will work with @NYCBuildings and @CMPiSanchez to ensure there is a rigorous investigation of what happened. If there was negligence – we will demand accountability.”
Contractor Killed By Co-Worker At Northside Apartment
SAN ANTONIO, TX — San Antonio police said a remodeling contractor was found dead Friday morning. Police reported that the body was discovered around 7: 20 a.m. Friday morning at an apartment complex on Nacogdoches Road near Loop 410. The contractor was reportedly working a job with a co-worker and the two were staying on the job site over the last 24 hours. Police said the victim was killed by their co-worker. The lead contractor discovered the body after coming to the apartment complex to check on his workers because something “seemed kind of fishy.”
Security guard killed in game room shooting in southeast Houston
Houston, TX — A security guard died after a shooting at a game room in southeast Houston early Saturday. Police tweeted at about 1:30 a.m. that they were responding to a shooting at 6333 Long Drive. Officers arrived to find a security guard had been shot. Houston Police spokesman Kese Smith confirmed Saturday that a 33-year-old man was discovered at the scene and transferred to Ben Taub Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Robbery appears to be the motive of the shooting at 6333 Long Drive appeared to be robbery, Smith said in a phone call.
1 Killed, 2 Injured In Milwaukee Downtown Lounge Shooting
MILWAUKEE, WI — One employee was shot and killed and two were injured after denying one person entry from a club in Milwaukee’s downtown. A 31-year-old woman died after being shot multiple times and two 23-year-old men are in stable condition after being shot at 524 N. Water St., the Milwaukee Police Department said in a statement. The shooting happened around 10 p.m. The three people were employees and were shot by a person rejected from downtown’s Brownstone Social Lounge, a representative of the club said in a Facebook post.
Worker dies after ’employee injury’ in Henderson
HENDERSON, NV — A worker died at the hospital after what police called an “employee injury” in Henderson on Thursday, according to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. It happened at approximately 5:11 p.m. on the 100 block of North Water Street, near Lake Mead Parkway, police say. A spokesperson for Henderson Fire Department says the worker had gone into cardiac arrest and was transported to a local hospital where the person was declared deceased. Officials with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration were dispatched to the site to open a preliminary investigation.
Man dies at Sam’s Club loading dock in Normal
Normal, IL — A loading dock accident crushed and killed a man Wednesday morning at Sam’s Club in Normal. Normal Police said they found 51-year-old Allen Liesman of Lincoln in between the dock and the trailer of his semi. The early autopsy shows Liesman suffocated in what’s called compressional asphyxia. Officers said the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will investigate. That’s the arm of the Labor Department that looks into workplace injuries and deaths.
‘Simply working and murdered’: Street sweeper shot, killed while clearing debris in Lowe’s parking lot in NW Harris County, sheriff says
HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – Homicide detectives are investigating after a street sweeper was shot and killed outside a Lowe’s in northwest Harris County early Friday. Authorities have identified the victim as Jose Canales, 56. Harris County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the business in the 19500 block of the Tomball Parkway around 4 a.m. Upon arrival, deputies found Canales lying dead in the parking lot. He had suffered a gunshot wound to the leg. Surveillance video revealed what happened. According to investigators, video shows Canales was operating a street sweeping truck in the parking lot around 1 a.m. While doing his job, he stopped his sweeper in order to pick up several pieces of large debris. As he exited, a silver SUV entered the parking lot and pulled up near the sweeper. Two men exited the SUV. One of them went to the passenger side of the sweeper, getting inside, while the second suspect approached Canales. Video shows Canales appeared to resist and began fighting with one of the suspects, who then shot Canales one time. The suspects then hopped back into the SUV and fled, exiting onto Tomball Parkway in an unknown direction. Canales collapsed in the parking lot, where he died.
Piscataway Man Killed in Industrial Accident in Middlesex Borough
MIDDLESEX, NJ – The owner of a waste disposal company in Middlesex Borough was killed while doing maintenance work on a garbage truck Wednesday morning, police there said. An employee at Bridgewater Disposal called 911 to report the company’s owner, Kenneth Buratti, 67 of Piscataway had been pinned under a piece of machinery while working on the truck, said police. Responding officers found Buratti had been pinned by a hydraulic arm that was attached to the truck and was pronounced dead at the scene, said police.
Accident in BNSF Denver yard leaves one employee dead
Denver, CO — On Wednesday, Feb. 9, an employee died after an accident in BNSF’s Globeville yard, located in downtown Denver. RT&S reached out to BNSF for their statement on the accident and fatality, and we received this from a spokesman: “On February 9, a BNSF employee was fatally injured while working in the Globeville rail yard in Denver, Colorado. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will be leading the investigation. The entire BNSF family is saddened by this incident and we extend our deepest sympathy and thoughts to the family and loved ones of the employee involved.”
Sheriff ID’s Grand Island man killed in work accident
GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) – The Hall County Sheriff Wednesday said Gavin Schwartz, 20, Grand Island, died in a work accident Monday. The accident happened Monday afternoon at Mid-Nebraska Disposal at 7337 Blender Road about three miles west of Grand Island. When deputies arrived on scene, they determined an employee had fallen into a baler machine and became stuck. The man suffered severe injuries. He was transported to CHI Health St. Francis where he died.
Worker Killed in Machine-Related Incident at 3M Plant
Alexandria, MN — Emergency personnel were called to the 3M plant in Alexandria, MN in the early hours of Tuesday morning after a worker was fatally injured in a piece of equipment, local news organizations reported. First responders received notification that a man was caught in a machine around 3:45 a.m., coverage by the Alexandria Echo Press said. No details on the worker’s identity were available. Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) launched an investigation into the death and how the worker became trapped in the machine, the agency told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. 3M halted operations at the facility through Wednesday morning. Reports did not offer details on the type of equipment involved in the fatality. The company said it adhered to emergency protocols during the incident in an account by ABC News affiliate KSTP.
Clarksville trucker dies in I-70 crash in Hancock County
HANCOCK COUNTY, Ind. — A Clarksville man died Wednesday afternoon when is his semi-trailer veered off Interstate 70 and crashed in a ditch in eastern Hancock County. Scott Brandenburg, 54, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash near the 112 mile-marker between the I-70 rest stop and State Road 109, according to State Police. A passenger, who was not identified by ISP, was in the sleeper berth at the time of the crash and was taken to the hospital with minor injuries. Crash investigators said Brandenburg was heading west toward Greenfield shortly after 3:30 p.m. when his semi-tractor trailer drove off the road to the left, went through the median and into the eastbound lanes, then came back across the westbound lanes and into the ditch on the right side of the road.
Instacart donates $50,000 to family of worker killed in shooting at Fred Meyer store
Richland, Washington — Instacart has donated $50,000 to the family of a shopper killed in a shooting at a Fred Meyer store in Richland, Washington. Justin Krumbah, 38, died on Monday after suspected gunman Aaron Christopher Kelly shot him multiple times in an aisle of the supermarket. Police said the Instacart shopper, who was described as a “breath of fresh air” by customers, was seen on surveillance footage having a “10 to 15 second interaction” with the suspect just moments before he opened fire at around 11am local time. The suspect then allegedly shot Fred Meyer employee Mark Hill close to the customer service counter. Mr Hill remains in a critical condition in hospital after undergoing surgery.
Worker dies in fall from roof at DeCrescente Distributing warehouse
MECHANICVILLE, NY – A man working on the DeCrescente Distributing Company warehouse expansion died Wednesday morning in a fall from a roof, State Police said. The 36-year-old man fell 30 to 40 feet. He was a subcontractor performing work on the construction project, police said. DeCrescente and BBL Construction jointly put out a statement announcing the death. A spokesman said they were still investigating the situation and what led to the fall, as well as whether appropriate safety gear was being used.
Truck driver killed in Utah rollover crash
UINTAH COUNTY, Utah — A semi-truck driver is dead after a Monday morning rollover crash on US 191 approximately 20 miles north of Vernal, Utah. The truck was reportedly hauling oilfield pipeline on a flatbed trailer when the accident occurred, according to reports by KTSU. “The truck lost control while going through an area of switchbacks, went off the side of the road, then rolled and landed upside down,” KTSU reported. The driver was reportedly ejected and suffered fatal injuries. The driver has yet to be identified but is reportedly from Texas.
Mississippi utility worker electrocuted while working to restore power
Holly Springs, MS — A Mississippi utility worker was electrocuted Tuesday afternoon while working to restore electrical power. Officials in Marshall County said the worker was killed on Taska Road near Holly Springs, Mississippi. WREG-TV reported that the man who was killed was Henry Watson Sr., a worker for the Holly Springs Utility Department.
Loved ones heartbroken after construction worker hit, killed while on the job
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — “He was a loving, brother, a father, a uncle, cousin and we’re just going to miss him,” Sharlonda Fort said. Her family is grieving. Around 2:30 a.m. Monday, her only brother, 35-year-old Nathaniel Young Jr., was hit and killed at the intersection of Narcoossee Road and Emerson Lake Boulevard in a road construction zone in Orange County. Drivers were supposed to briefly shift from the south lane to the north and then back when they had passed the construction zone. “For some reason a male traveling in a Lexus, south on Narcoossee, failed to negotiate that lane shift, crashed into two work trucks, striking two pedestrians,” Lt. Kim Montes of the Florida Highway Patrol said. Young was thrown over his construction truck and landed in the back of it. He died on the scene. His coworker was rushed to the hospital but is expected to survive. The victim worked for Flash-Rite, a company that sets up construction zones.
Elissa death in Galveston ruled an accident; Coast Guard launches investigation
GALVESTON, TX — The woman who died in a fall from a tall ship’s mast Saturday was a volunteer and part-time employee who had passed tests to climb rigging before the fatal accident, officials said Monday. The Port of Galveston Police Department definitively called Jill Marie Hickman Victor’s death an accident on Monday, while the U.S. Coast Guard said it was starting its own investigation that could take months to complete. Victor, 58, of Nassau Bay, died Saturday after falling 35 feet from a mast aboard the Elissa while it was berthed at Pier 22. Victor was a volunteer and part-time employee at Texas Seaport Museum’s gift shop, Galveston Historical Foundation Executive Director Dwayne Jones said. Victor was a first-year volunteer who had been training since August to sail on the ship.
N.C. Corrections Officer Dies after Medical Emergency
Elizabeth City, NC — A North Carolina corrections officer died after suffering a medical emergency following an inmate incident at the facility she worked at last week. Corrections Officer Helen Mae Smith responded to an incident involving an offender at 11 a.m. Thursday at the Pasquotank Correctional Institution in Elizabeth City, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety stated in a news release. As she was returning to her post, Smith began experiencing medical distress. She was taken to the hospital, where she died several hours later.
L.A. County fire captain dies of cardiac arrest while on duty at fire station
Los Angeles, CA — A 17-year-veteran of the Los Angeles County Fire Department died after suffering a medical emergency while on duty this week, officials said Thursday. Firefighter Steve McCann, 47, died about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday while working at Fire Station 166 in El Monte, officials said. Fox 11 reported that McCann died from cardiac arrest. “We are grieving the loss of our brother, Steve McCann, who passed away unexpectedly while on the job last night,” IAFF Local 1014 President Dave Gillotte said in a statement. “We are grateful for the selfless sacrifice of our members day in and day out, even as they mourn the loss of another brother firefighter.” On Wednesday, McCann did not appear during regular rounds at the station. Firefighters later found him unresponsive and administered emergency medical aid. He was taken to Arcadia Methodist Hospital where he was pronounced dead, Gillotte said.