Weekly Toll

This week: Falls, building collapse, vehicle incidents, shootings, drowning. On average, almost 100 workers are killed every week in the United States due to traumatic injuries suffered at work. Over 20 times as many die from occupational diseases, many due to exposure to hazardous substances many years before they died, or from COVID-19 acquired 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.

A construction worker was killed in a partial collapse at a Boston parking garage that was being demolished

Boston, MA — A construction worker died Saturday after suffering a “substantial” fall while apparently inside a crane at a Boston parking garage that partially collapsed while it was being demolished, officials said. The collapse was reported to first responders around 5:40 p.m., Boston Fire Commissioner Jack Dempsey said during a news conference. When rescuers arrived at the garage in the Government Center area of Boston, they saw the body of Peter Monsini, 51, at the bottom of the collapse, Dempsey said. The worker is believed to have been in the crane when it fell about nine stories, Boston Police Capt. Kelley McCormick said during the news conference, noting there was “a tremendous amount of debris.” It’s a building being demolished, so those buildings are always dangerous,” Dempsey said. The worker won’t be recovered until engineers complete an evaluation of the area and determine it is structurally secure, officials said.

Worker, 65, dead after fall from roof of historic Staten Island church

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — A 65-year-old worker fell to his death while attempting to fix a leak atop the roof of the Church of St. Andrew in Richmond Friday morning, police said. The incident occurred just before 9 a.m. at the historic Episcopal church, located at 40 Old Mill Road, according to a spokeswoman for the NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner of Public Information. The victim was transported by ambulance to Staten Island University Hospital in Ocean Breeze, where he was pronounced deceased.

Everett police officer killed in the line of duty identified

EVERETT, Wash. — An Everett police officer was killed in the line of duty during a “significant incident” at a Starbucks in Everett on Friday, according to the Everett Police Department. Officer Dan Rocha, 41, had lived in Everett for over a decade and had served as an Everett police officer since 2017. According to Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Courtney O’Keefe, Rocha approached a 50-year-old man who was acting suspiciously in the parking lot of a Starbucks in the 1000 block of Broadway Avenue in Everett at about 2 p.m. There was an altercation, and Rocha was shot and killed. O’Keefe said the man fled in a car, running over Rocha’s body.

Truck driver killed after slamming into commercial bus on I-10

PORT ALLEN, LA – A fiery crash involving a bus and multiple 18-wheelers closed down I-10 in West Baton Rouge for hours Thursday. The wreck was first reported around 11 a.m. on the eastbound lanes of the interstate just past LA 415. Crash investigators said it appeared the bus was coming to a stop when a semi-truck slammed into it. The bus was pushed into the back of another 18-wheeler before hitting a cable barrier in the median of the interstate. The West Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office said the trucker who rear-ended the bus, identified as Ricky Hagar, was killed in the collision. Hagar worked for Kingdom Trucking, a company based out of Texas. The department added that three people were hurt on board the bus, which is owned by Turimex Internacional and was headed from Mexico to North Carolina. The roughly 40 passengers were taken to a community center to wait for another ride. The stretch of I-10 where the wreck happened is infamous among local law enforcement for its frequent accidents, many of them involving 18-wheelers.

Victims identified in deadly ‘crane accident’ at Boynton Beach construction site

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. — Two construction workers were killed and one was injured during a “crane accident” at a Boynton Beach construction site, fire rescue said. Officials say that West Palm Beach men Jeremias Mendez, 32, and Eduardo Cruz-Moran, 25, were identified as the victims. Boynton Beach Beach Police and Boynton Beach Fire Rescue responded to a report that concrete had collapsed on two construction workers at the site, located on East Woolbright Road east of Federal Highway. Boynton Beach Fire Rescue Assistant Chief Jarvis Prince said the incident is under investigation at this time. The crane operator was interviewed. Prior to arrival everything had already taken place but it does look like something may have dislodged and fell from the crane,” Prince said. Police quickly secured the scene which is located inside the Riverwalk Plaza. Upon arrival, first responders located the men dead under the concrete debris. A construction worker on site told WPBF 25 News that a safety meeting was held on site earlier that morning.

Suspect in crash that killed 2 troopers, civilian appeared to brag about drunk driving on Twitter

PHILADELPHIA, PA – The woman accused of driving under the influence when she struck and killed two Pennsylvania State Troopers and a civilian earlier this week appears to have previously boasted about drunk driving on social media. Jayana Tanae Webb, 21, faces more than a dozen charges, including three counts of third-degree murder, three counts of homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence, and two counts of second-degree manslaughter of a law enforcement officer. Webb was allegedly under the influence behind the wheel of an SUV when she struck and killed state troopers Martin F. Mack, 33, and Branden T. Sisca, 29, as they assisted Reyes Rivera Oliveras, 28, on I-95 in Philadelphia. Mack and Sisca had responded to calls that Oliveras was walking on the southbound side of the highway in the passing lane. The troopers were escorting Oliveras back to their patrol vehicle when they say Webb struck all three men with her vehicle.

Construction worker killed at Metro extension project in Mid-Wilshire

Los Angeles, CA — A construction worker who was working on the L.A. Metro’s Purple Line Extension Project in Mid-Wilshire Wednesday has died. The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority confirmed that the worker was killed while working at the future site of the Wilshire/La Brea metro station at 711 S. La Brea Ave. The Los Angeles City Fire Department responded to the construction site around 5:25 p.m. for a report of a worker who was trapped by a service car in the underground tunnel where work was being done. Battalion Chief Kenneth Miller told KTLA a 32-year-old man was killed when he was trapped underneath a service vehicle that brings equipment and personnel back and forth from the surface to the underground work site. Crews were servicing the tunnel and the train when the accident happened, Miller said.

Maintenance worker at mosque likely killed with shovel, Seminole sheriff says

SANFORD, Fla. – A maintenance worker at Husseini Islamic Center near Sanford was killed, possibly with a shovel, according to Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma. Investigators said the body of the 59-year-old man was found at the center, at 5211 Heser Ave., around 8:45 a.m. Thursday. Lemma said the suspect, later identified as 38-year-old Ahmed Raslan, was found by deputies in Indian River County where he was shot three times but is still alive. Lemma said the maintenance worker is a refugee from Iraq who was getting ready to return home following the death of his father. “He was the heart and soul of this mosque,” said Mahmood Dhalla, president of the Husseini Islamic Center.

One dead in fatal workplace accident

Clarksburg, WV — Officials have released the name of a man who died in an accident at a construction site in downtown Clarksburg Thursday. The victim is Wayne Burchard, a 75-year-old employed by Empire Builders Inc. of Parkersburg, Clarksburg Fire Chief Steve Pulice said. “He was one of their truck drivers. He’s been a friend of the owner’s for over 30 years — he’s known the gentleman for a long time. That’s all he ever wanted to do — just he really enjoyed driving trucks,” Pulice said.  “There was an equipment operator and two truck drivers on scene, and this gentleman was on one side of the machine, and another, different truck driver was on the other,” Pulice said. “They don’t know how he ended up where he did, but he must have gotten too close in proximity to the machine and it went over him.”

Portsmouth firefighter dies in the line of duty

PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WCMH) — A Portsmouth Fire Department firefighter has died while returning from a call. According to a Facebook post on the Portsmouth OH Fire Department page Tuesday, Edward Long was serving as an engineer returning from a call when he became unresponsive. Despite lifesaving measures, he died at 11:30 a.m. at the Southern Ohio Medical Center.

Tow Truck Driver Killed in Prince George’s Road Rage Shooting: Police

Landover, MD — Maryland State Police are looking for the person who shot and killed a tow truck driver in a suspected case of road rage. Delonte Hicks, 29, of Washington, D.C., was killed Saturday about 5:45 p.m. along Route 50 at Veterans Parkway in Landover, police said. Hicks and another driver were arguing while driving along Route 50. Then, the unknown driver pulled out a weapon and fired into Hicks’ vehicle, striking him, police said. The gunman allegedly took off headed east on Route 50. Police believe the suspect was driving a dark-colored sedan.

Commercial truck driver killed on I-10 in Boerne

SAN ANTONIO, TX – A commercial truck driver was killed on Interstate 10 in Boerne on Tuesday morning. The victim was identified by the Boerne Police Department as Jeremy McGee, 48, of Kerrville. “At this time, it is believed McGee was outside of his truck for unknown reasons when he was struck by a passing motorist,” a police spokesperson said. Police said McGee’s truck was pulled over on the right-hand shoulder of the interstate and that the headlights were on, a right-side blinker was flashing, but the emergency flashers were not activated. The driver of the passenger vehicle that struck the victim immediately pulled over and remained at the scene.

Waste Pro employee dies in garbage truck rollover in Manatee County

Manatee County, FL — A Waste Pro employee died Tuesday afternoon when a garbage truck rolled over in Manatee County. The garbage truck was traveling west on State Road 64 toward Lena Road. The truck rolled over after the 24-year-old driver crashed into the concrete curb, traffic box and utility pole when he was attempting to turn left. He suffered serious injuries, according to a Florida Highway Patrol report. The passenger, a 47-year-old man, was pronounced dead at the scene. Neither he nor the driver were wearing seat belts. Waste Pro is cooperating with law enforcement on the investigation regarding the accident, spokesperson Melissa Catalanotto said in a statement.

Fairchild man dies after being pinned under water

HIXTON, WI (WQOW) – A Fairchild man drowned in an industrial accident in Jackson County Tuesday morning. According to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, the incident happened just after 9:30 on Garfield Road in the Town of Curran. Authorities received a call from the Jackson County Public Safety Answering Point reporting that a man, identified as 44-year-old Tony Killian, fell into the water and didn’t resurface. According to the press release, Killian had been doing maintenance on a pump in the pond when the pump rolled, pinning him under the water. First responders on scene used heavy machines to free the man, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

OSHA investigating after falling pipes kills worker at Chester County industrial plant

CHESTER COUNTY, SC — South Carolina workplace officials are investigating after a man died while working at an industrial plant in Chester County. Terry Eugene Adams, 55, of Lancaster was killed Saturday after pipes fell on him, according to the Chester County Coroner’s Office. The coroner and Chester County Sheriff’s Office deputies were called to the Circle S Ranch Feed Mill on Morrison Road near Interstate 77 after Adams was killed, a sheriff’s office incident report stated. Adams was working for a construction subcontractor, according to the sheriff incident report.

Accident kills worker at Evergreen Packaging facility in Pine Bluff

Pine Bluff, AR — A 44-year-old man was killed in an industrial accident Friday at Evergreen Packaging, according to the Jefferson County sheriff’s office. Charles Allen Watt, a maintenance worker, was working on a machine when it engaged, seriously injuring him, according to witnesses who spoke to the sheriff’s office. He was taken to Jefferson Regional Medical Center’s emergency room, where he died a few hours later. Sheriff’s Deputy Deyonta Jones said she was sent to Evergreen at 8:24 a.m. Friday in reference to the incident. When she arrived, she was met by Terry Hughes, the plant’s health and safety manager, who explained that Watt, a maintenance worker, was working on a machine called a “kicker” when the machine “unexpectedly activated” and struck him, “causing severe injury.” Another witness, Ray Purifoy, an electrician, said Watt was on the ground pulling a shuttle cylinder. “Mr. Purifoy’s job was to manually pull the hydraulic cylinder at Mr. Watt’s request, Brunson wrote in his report. “Suddenly the kicker engaged and went up and down [on] Mr. Watt’s upper and lower body. Mr. Watt’s body then dropped to the ground where he began gasping for air.”

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