Weekly Toll

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.

Worker Dies After Falling from West Palm Beach Luxury Condo

West Palm Beach, FL — A woman is dead after falling from the 13th floor of a West Palm Beach luxury condominium that is under construction Saturday. West Palm Beach police responded to the scene at La Clara Palm Beach at 1515 S. Flagler Drive around 9 a.m. about a worker that had fallen to her death. According to the police, officers discovered the body of Yamileth Martinez-Ponce, 23, on the second floor landing. Detectives say she was installing flooring in one of the units when she fell from the balcony.

Truck driver killed, another driver hurt in Interstate 78 crash

Hunterdon County, NJ — A 51-year-old truck driver was killed and another driver injured in a crash Thursday night on Interstate 78 in Hunterdon County, officials said. The tractor-trailer was pushed into the center median, striking a guard rail and overturning after colliding with a sports car on the eastbound side of the highway at 8:10 p.m., State Police said. Adan Loya-Rodriguez, 51, of Waynesboro, Virginia was pronounced dead at the scene following the crash near milepost 12.8 in Union Township.

4 Farm Workers Dead After Vehicle Crashes Into Tree In Yolo County

ZAMORA, CA — Four farm workers were killed after a vehicle veered off the road and crashed into a tree in Yolo County, authorities said Thursday afternoon. The crash happened at around 3 p.m. where County Roads 13 and 14 meet. The area is northwest of Woodland and near the small community of Zamora, which is located along Interstate 5.
Officers say the driver was one of the people who died.

Atkinson man dies on construction site

BASSETT, NE  — An accident at a construction site claimed the life of a 43-year-old Atkinson man on Monday. Ryan Keogh was killed in an explosion east of Bassett that also destroyed a new home under construction. Bassett Fire Chief Jim Stout told the Holt County Independent in O’Neill that, at 8:33 a.m. Monday, firefighters were dispatched to the report of an explosion and smoke coming from the site of a new house under construction about 6 miles east and 2 miles south of Bassett. Stout said when firefighters arrived on scene, the home had been blown to pieces and was on fire. Firefighters extinguished the flames and initiated a search for survivors. Stout said Keogh was working on the house when the explosion occurred. He was believed to be the only person at the site at the time.

Contractor died from ‘mechanical asphyxia’ at central Pa. country club

Lancaster, PA — A contractor working at the Lancaster Country Club died from “mechanical asphyxia” while on the job, the Lancaster County Coroner’s office has determined. Christopher Chizauskie’s death was ruled accidental, Lancaster County Coroner Dr. Stephen Diamantoni told LancasterOnline. Mechanical asphyxia was described by Diamontoni as “pressure on his chest wall that prevented him from being able to breathe.” Manheim Township Police Department, the investigating agency, has not released information on how the death occurred.

Cromwell firefighter dies on the job

CROMWELL, Ind. (WANE)– It was a regular Monday evening when 64-year-old firefighter Terry Cassidy responded to a medical call. He never made it back to the station. Along with other members of the Sparta Township Fire department, firefighter Cassidy was assisting patient suffering from a heart attack when Cassidy began to experience similar symptoms. After being rushed to a nearby hospital, Cassidy died two days after being admitted, according to the Sparta Township Fire Department. Affectionately known as Terry “Goat” Cassidy, he has been a firefighter for the Sparta Township Fire department from the early-1970s until the mid-1980s. He returned as a volunteer firefighter for 8 months before his passing.

New York truck driver killed in crash near Salladasburg

SALLADASBURG, NY  – A New York State truck driver was killed Tuesday night when his water tanker truck crashed head-on into an embankment at Route 287 and Dam Run Road, according to the Lycoming County Coroner’s Office. Gary Perfetto, 63, of West Babylon, a community on Long Island, was pronounced dead at the scene of blunt force injuries that he suffered in the 8:10 p.m crash, Jerold Ross, the county’s chief deputy coroner said Wednesday afternoon. The accident occurred in Mifflin Township, about three miles north of here, and was investigated by the Tiadaghton Valley Regional police and state police. Hauling an estimated 6,000 gallons of brine, Perfetto was traveling east on Dam Run Road and failed to stop for a stop sign at Route 287, where the road ends, Ross said. It was believed that Perfetto was going to turn south onto Route 287 when he lost control of the rig. The issue of possible mechanical brake failure was being investigated, officials said.

For five years, they were co-teachers. Then they were gunned down.

Uvalde, TX — For five years, Irma Garcia and Eva Mireles were a teaching team at Robb Elementary School. On Tuesday, they died together in their fourth-grade classroom — slain while probably doing their utmost, relatives said, to protect their students from a rampaging gunman. Garcia, 48, and Mireles, 44, were killed in the shooting in Uvalde, Tex., that authorities say also took the lives of at least 19 children. A nephew of Garcia said authorities told the family that the teacher had sought to shield children from the gunfire. “I want her to be remembered as someone who sacrificed her life and put her life on the line for her kids,” John Martinez, the nephew, said Wednesday. “They weren’t just her students. Those were her kids, and she put her life on the line, she lost her life to protect them. That’s the type of person she was.”

Worker killed as storm sweeps through Lebanon construction site

LEBANON, Ind. – A construction worker died as a storm swept through Lebanon Wednesday night. According to the Lebanon Fire Department, 911 dispatchers received a call around 6:15 p.m. that a person had fallen at a worksite in the 900 block of Edwards Drive. The Lebanon Police Department, Lebanon Fire Department and Boone County EMS responded to the scene. While first responders attempted to save the man’s life, he died at the scene, according to the Boone County Coroner’s Office. The preliminary investigation determined the man was on an elevated platform while working on an industrial warehouse that was under construction. He and other workers were in the process of stopping due to approaching thunderstorms. While the platform was being lowered, strong winds knocked it over, leading to the man’s death. The Boone County Coroner’s Office identified the man as 29-year-old Sebastian Bartolome-Gaspar, a resident of Guatemala. The coroner ruled his death an accident and said he died as a result of blunt force trauma to his body. “It was a standard construction lift,” said Captain Matt Young of the Lebanon Fire Department. “The subject was harnessed with fall protection onto the lift and when the lift fell, he fell along with it.”

Police release video of suspect sought in fatal robbery at N. Charleston business

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) – Investigators with the North Charleston Police Department have released a video and pictures of a suspect who they say robbed a North Charleston business where an employee was killed. It happened at Mattress Deals on 5900 Rivers Ave. at 9:52 a.m. Coroner Bobbi Jo O’Neal says Richard Rios Rivera, a 45-year-old male from Puerto Rico, died from a gunshot wound. According to authorities, during the robbery, the employee was shot and succumbed to his injuries.

National Grid worker electrocuted, killed on job in Medford

MEDFORD, MA – A National Grid worker was electrocuted and died early Thursday morning while on the job in Medford. According to the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office, the 35-year-old man was working alone in an electrical box in a parking lot at an apartment complex on Salem Street around 12:30 a.m. when something went wrong. A Medford Police officer who was working a detail at the site called for help. “Medford fire and EMS performed life saving measures on scene before the man was transported to Massachusetts General Hospital where he was later pronounced dead,” the D.A.’s office said in a statement. His name has not been made public. Three Medford police officers were also taken to MGH where they were treated for smoke inhalation and released.

Tanker truck driver killed in crash near Salladasburg

SALLADASBURG, PA – The driver of a water tanker truck was killed Tuesday night when his rig crashed into an embankment at Route 287 and Dam Run Road in Mifflin Township, Tiadaghton Valley Regional police confirmed. It was believed the tanker truck was eastbound on Dam Run Road and failed to negotiate the turn on to Route 287, plowing right into the embankment just after 8 p.m., police said. Emergency personal pronounced the driver dead while he was still trapped in the wreckage, police said.

Man killed by falling tree near Lake Hodges in apparent work accident

NORTH COUNTY, CA — A man was killed by a falling tree, possibly while it was being trimmed or cut down, on Friday afternoon near Lake Hodges, authorities said.
The deadly incident occurred about 4:20 p.m. on Thorn Lane, a short residential street between Lake Drive and Del Dios Road along the western shoreline of Lake Hodges, San Diego sheriff’s Lt. Ryan Wisniewski said. Authorities believe workers were trimming or cutting down a tree when the tree, or a part of it, fell on a man, Wisniewski said. Deputies and paramedics responded, but the man died at the scene. Wisniewski said the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health — Cal/OSHA — would be handling the investigation along with the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Wheeling truck driver killed in Metra crash at crossing with no gates or lights

Hainesville, IL — A 41-year-old Wheeling man, Jesus “Ivan” Castrejon, was killed Monday when a Metra train hit the dump truck he was driving at the Hainesville Road crossing in Lake County at about 7 a.m., authorities said. The lead car on the Milwaukee District North train derailed but did not overturn after the crash in Hainesville. A female passenger suffered minor injuries and was taken to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville. The crossing is a private one with a sign but no lights, gates or bells, Metra spokesman Michael Gillis said. The man was the only person in the truck, and officials had not released his name as of Monday. The dump truck was split in half by the impact and thrown onto a grassy area near the tracks.

Tree Worker Recovered By Firefighters In Closter Pronounced Dead At Scene

Closter, NJ — Authorities were trying to determine how long a tree worker who died on the job in Closter had been suspended in the air. The worker was tethered in a harness nearly 40 feet up, supported by climbing ropes attached to several parts of the tree, when he apparently suffered a medical emergency outside a home on Anderson Avenue on Saturday, Police Lt. Vincent Aiello said. The homeowner, who’d dialed 911 around noon, didn’t know how long he’d been up there, Aiello said. Responding police officers shouted but couldn’t revive the worker from the ground, the lieutenant said.

Tow truck driver killed by hit and run driver on I-91 in North Haven identified

NORTH HAVEN, Conn. — A tow truck driver who was assisting a disabled driver has died after being struck by a hit and run driver Saturday on Interstate 91 in North Haven, fire officials said. Officials said the incident started when a disabled driver pulled over to the side of the highway. A tow truck driver, 38-year-old Christopher Russell of Ellington, was driving by at the time, according to state police. He reportedly pulled over to help the driver. A passing vehicle then struck Russell who was pronounced dead from his injuries. Police said the driver of the second vehicle then continued driving north on I-91 and collided with the wire-rope guide rail along the median near exit 14 in Wallingford.

Texas landscape worker dies in bee attack while suspended from tree: ‘It was horrible’

AUSTIN, TX — A landscape lighting technician died after he was swarmed by bees at a home in Austin on Thursday, according to a family spokesperson. Franco Galvan Martinez, 53, was suspended by a harness in one of the home’s trees when he inadvertently disturbed a hive and the bees swarmed, a family spokesperson said. “I guess in [a] panic trying to swat away the bees from himself, he kicked away the ladder,” said Joe Maldonado, a family friend and pastor. Galvan Martinez remained suspended in the air by the harness as the insects attacked. “The hive was so ginormous that it literally covered Franco instantly,” Maldonado told KXAN.

Forklift driver killed in northeast Las Vegas

Las Vegas, NV — Las Vegas police said a forklift driver was killed in a workplace accident late Thursday. Police Lt. Greg Everett said police were called at 11:23 p.m. to a warehouse in the 3000 block of North Lamb Boulevard, near East Cheyenne Avenue. “Forklift driver accidentally tipped vehicle over causing the driver to die,” Everett wrote in a text. “Coroner advised.” The name of the driver was not immediately released. Teri Williams, spokeswoman for the Nevada Occupational Safety & Health Administration, said the agency is investigating.

Truck Driver Killed in 18-Wheeler Accident on FM 1660 in Taylor, TX

Taylor, TX — May 18, 2022, a truck driver was killed in a collision with another 18-wheeler on Farm to Market Road 1660 in Williamson County. Authorities say the incident happened shortly before 2:00 a.m. on FM 1660 at FM 973. Preliminary investigation suggests an 18-wheeler with a flatbed trailer was hauling steel pipes east on FM 1660 as a second big rig was northbound on FM 973. The two trucks collided at the roads’ intersection under unknown circumstances. One truck driver was reported dead at the scene. The other’s condition is unknown.

Montana truck driver killed in crash on I-840 in Williamson Co.

FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WSMV) – A truck driver from Montana died after his truck crashed on Interstate 840 near Lewisburg Pike in Williamson County on Wednesday morning. The Tennessee Highway Patrol said Edwin Garfield Keeland Sr., 61, of Milltown, Montana, died in the crash reported at 9:10 a.m. Troopers said he was traveling east on I-840 at the 30 mile marker when he ran off the roadside on the left side, crossed over the median and the westbound lanes before striking an embankment and overturned.

Construction worker fatally struck by suspected drunken driver in Davidsonville

DAVIDSONVILLE, Md. — A construction flagger was struck and killed by a suspected drunken driver Tuesday night in Davidsonville, police said. Anne Arundel County police said officers were called around 10:09 p.m. to a crash at the intersection of Davidsonville Road and Kings Retreat Drive. Police said a 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee was traveling south on Davidsonville Road, approaching Palomino Court, where the road is undergoing construction and repaving and traffic is limited to one lane. Police said the Jeep initially struck a 2022 Honda Accord that was stopped at the construction zone flagger’s stop sign. Then, the Jeep’s driver tried to leave the scene by continuing down Davidsonville Road toward the intersection of Kings Retreat Drive.

Fairfield County employee killed in mowing accident Monday in Greenfield Township

LANCASTER, OH — A Fairfield County employee was killed Monday in a mowing accident near Dolson Court in Greenfield Township, Sheriff Alex Lape said. He identified the victim as John Russ, 59. Russ had worked in the utilities department for three years. Utilities director Tony Vogel said Russ was mowing on a bank when the mower overturned on him. “It’s just a tragic, tragic accident,” Vogel said. “For his wife, our prayers are with her, as well as all the utility employees. We’re going through a tough time right now.”

Calloway County deputy killed in shooting

Benton, KY — A Calloway County sheriff’s deputy and a suspect were killed in an officer-involved shooting Monday afternoon in Benton. It happened about 2:10 in the area of the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office and Kentucky State Police say the deputy was taken to a local hospital, where he was later pronounced deceased. The subject involved was also taken to a hospital and pronounced dead. Kentucky State Police have identified the Calloway County Deputy shot and killed at the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office as Chief Deputy Jody Cash.

Coroner identifies dump truck driver killed in Anderson County crash

Piedmont, SC — A dump truck driver killed Monday after his truck was found overturned in a ditch has been identified. The Anderson County Coroner’s Office said Thomas Travis Foster, of Piedmont, in Greenville County, died in the crash. Foster had just turned 50 years old on May 8, the coroner said. Officials said someone called 911 about a dump truck in a ditch on Highway 88 near Sharon Church Road. The crash happened around 12:15 p.m., according to Master Trooper Mitchell Ridgeway from the South Carolina Highway Patrol. The dump truck was heading west on Highway 88 when it veered off the right side of the road hitting a guardrail then a tree, Ridgeway said. It took crews almost four hours to remove Foster’s body from the wreckage, according to the coroner.

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