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.

Caltrans worker killed in Vacaville hit and run

Vacaville, CA — Caltrans has confirmed that one of their employees was killed Friday morning in a traffic incident in Vacaville. A Solano County Coroner’s Office official identified the victim as Quanda McGadney, 51, of Fairfield. Caltrans officials said the woman, a landscape maintenance worker, had served California residents for more than 18 years, and began her service with Caltrans in 2018. She is survived by her 9-year-old daughter, Nairobi, and two sisters, Priscilla Stevenson and Candice McGadney. “The loss of one of our own public servants in this tragic incident is being felt heavily within the Caltrans family today. Our thoughts and heartfelt support are focused on her family, friends and colleagues at this time,” said Caltrans Acting Director Steven Keck in a press statement. McGadney is the first Caltrans District 4 (Bay Area) employee to die on the job since 2017. She is the 37th in the history of District 4 and the 190th Caltrans worker to lose their life on the job since 1921.

Worker dies at Grand Forks construction site

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (KFGO) – A construction worker died in Grand Forks Friday after he was pinned beneath a piece of heavy equipment while working alone on a site in a residential area on the city’s west side. Police were dispatched to the site for the report of an unattended death before 8am. The worker has been identified as 54-year-old East Grand Forks, Minnesota resident Gerald Schwan. Police say his death appears to be accidental but an investigation is ongoing. The incident occurred about 8:20 a.m. Saturday at a residence on Crescent Street, where a construction company was removing a carport.

Worker dies after building collapses on him in Rockland

ROCKLAND, ME — A worker died Saturday morning after a carport that was being removed collapsed on him in Rockland. Emergency crews arrived within minutes and worked for the next hour to first remove the building from him and then to revive him. But police said that Kendall Ross, 37, of Rockland, later was pronounced dead. A man was critically injured and later died Saturday morning when a carport that was being removed collapsed on him. The incident occurred about 8:20 a.m. at a residence on 52 Crescent St. in Rockland, where a construction company – Veteran Builders – was removing a carport. Corey Conway of Veteran Builders said he had cut the final remaining beam connecting the structure to the house when it collapsed. Emergency crews were called and police, fire and emergency medical services arrived. Calls were put out to local contractors to see if an excavator could be brought to the scene to help lift the building. Rescue workers were able to free the worker with an inflatable device that is used to lift heavy objects, such as cars, to free people.

W.Va. Deputy Killed, Another Wounded During Domestic Call

Nicholas County, WV — A West Virginia sheriff’s deputy was killed and another was wounded during a call Friday. The shooting happened at around 5 p.m. as Nicholas County Deputy Thomas Baker and Cpl. J. Ellison were responding to a domestic disturbance in a camper, WSAZ-TV reports. When they reached the scene, two men in the camper came out to talk with the deputies. At some point, the men became agitated and ran back inside the camper. The deputies pursued, and when they got inside the camper, they deployed a TASER. That’s when the men opened fire, forcing the deputies to back out of camper. Baker was fatally shot in the back, and Ellison was struck in the leg.

Plumber who was killed while on the job in Spanaway is identified

Spanaway, WA — A man who was killed in Spanaway after being called for a plumbing repair job almost two weeks ago has been identified by the Pierce County medical examiner. According to a Tuesday news release, the victim is 40-year-old Thomas Lorezca. According to the police report, Lorezca arrived at a house in the 1000 block of Military Road East in Spanaway on May 23. At some point, the homeowner accused Lorezca of hitting his gate then shot him multiple times while he sat in his vehicle, sheriff’s deputies said. He was declared dead on the scene. A 55-year-old man has been charged with first-degree murder, unlawful possession of firearm and tampering with evidence. He was booked into Pierce County Jail.

Man dies after electrocution while trimming branches

FAIRFAX, Va. (WDVM) — A man died after being electrocuted while trimming tree branches in the 4600 block of Luxberry Dr. in Fairfax Friday morning. Officers were on the scene of the incident around 8:20 a.m., according to Fairfax County Police’s official Twitter account. After the man was electrocuted while trimming branches, he was taken to a hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. Detectives are investigating the incident.

Coroner identifies mail truck driver killed in Pickens County crash

PICKENS COUNTY, S.C. — The driver of a U.S. Postal Service mail truck was killed Friday in a crash involving a dump truck, according to the South Carolina Highway Patrol.
The crash was reported just before 3:30 p.m. on Highway 11 at Little Eastatoe Road, or Roy F. Jones Road, in Pickens County, the Highway Patrol website said. Trooper Brandon Bolt said the driver of the mail truck was pronounced dead at the scene. Bolt said the 1993 Grumman LLV mail truck was heading south on Highway 11 and driving too fast for conditions when the mail truck was struck by a 2000 Peterbilt dump truck heading north. The mail truck went off the left side of the road and hit a ditch, Bolt said. The coroner has identified the victim as Mark Douglas Hunt Jr., 41.

Man dies in workplace accident at Caterpillar’s Mapleton facility

Mapleton, IL – A 39-year-old Peoria man died late Thursday morning after an industrial accident at the Caterpillar plant in Mapleton. Peoria County coroner Jamie Harwood said Steven Dierkes was apparently working near a crucible, accidentally fell inside and died instantly. Harwood said the incident is under investigation by the Peoria County Sheriff’s office and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, but no foul play is suspected. In an emailed statement, Caterpillar spokeswoman Lisa Miller said the company is “deeply saddened” by the man’s death. “Our thoughts are with this employee’s family, friends and colleagues. The safety of our employees, contractors and visitors is our top priority,” the statement read.

Two Workers Die After Massive 80-Foot-High Coal Pile Collapses

Pueblo, Co — Two employees at the Comanche Generating Station in Pueblo, Colorado, Kyle Bussey, 28, of Pueblo and Phillip Roberts, 36, of Canon City, were killed after being buried under an 80-foot-high coal pile Thursday morning, the Associated Press reported. Pueblo Fire Department spokesman Erik Duran said witnesses saw the moment the two workers were trapped under the slide at Colorado’s largest coal-fired electricity generating plant run by Xcel Energy, according to the AP. The rescue team reached the plant 10 minutes after the witnesses saw the accident occur but failed to make contact with the trapped plant workers. The search and rescue crew found the bodies of the two workers who died after being buried under a collapsed coal pile for several hours. The victims worked for Savage, a subcontractor for Xcel Energy, and were seen walking up an 80-foot-high coal pile just after 8:30 a.m.  “There was an eyewitness who saw them there and then saw them disappear,” Duran said. “We don’t know why they were there or what their jobs were.”

1 tribal officer killed, 1 wounded in Arizona shootings

WHITERIVER, Ariz. — A tribal police officer was fatally shot during a traffic stop on a reservation in Arizona and the suspect was killed in a subsequent shootout that left another officer wounded, officials said Friday. Adrian Lopez Sr., 35, was identified as the White Mountain Apache Police officer shot and killed Thursday night in the town of Whiteriver on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation. He had only been with the department since January, according to the Navajo County Sheriff’s Office. Prior to that he served as a federal Bureau of Indian Affairs police officer from March 2021 through December. “There’s no possible way to try to outline the chaotic event that this was,” Chief Deputy Brian Swanty said at a news conference. An altercation broke out after Lopez stopped a car driven by Kevin Dwight Nashio, 25, near the downtown area, authorities said. Nashio, a resident of Whiteriver known to local police, shot Lopez, Swanty said. Nashio took off in Lopez’s marked police vehicle. Several officers pursued him through rugged areas for at least 40 miles (64 kilometers) and a “rolling gun battle” took place, according to authorities.

Construction worker dies after apparent equipment malfunction in Classroom Building

Tulsa, OK — Last week, a construction worker working in the Classroom Building on OSU’s campus died from an apparent equipment malfunction. Age 28, Brady Duncan was a construction worker originally from the Tulsa area, who handled projects all across the state. The accident occurred around 5 p.m. on the first floor of the Classroom Building. An ambulance was called at approximately 5 p.m. where Duncan was taken to Oklahoma Medical Center in Oklahoma City. Duncan was pronounced dead shortly after his arrival to Oklahoma Medical Center.

Tulsa hospital shooting: victims named in latest incident of US gun violence

Tulsa, OK — The victims of the shooting at a hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma, were named on Thursday morning. Dr Preston Phillips, Dr Stephanie J Husen, Amanda Green and William Love died when a man carrying a rifle and a handgun entered their building on a hospital campus on Wednesday to carry out the latest in a series of US mass shootings. The Tulsa police chief, Wendell Franklin, released the names of the victims. Phillips, Husen and Green, a receptionist, worked in the medical complex. Love was a patient. “They stood in the way and [the suspect] gunned them down,” Franklin said.

2 dead after shooting at Ohio hospital

Dayton, Oh — A security guard died June 1 after he was shot by a jail inmate receiving care at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, Ohio. The inmate was being treated in the hospital’s emergency department on the morning of June 1 when he took a security officer’s gun and shot the guard before running out of the ED, according to the Dayton Police Department. The security guard was identified as 78-year-old Darrell Holderman of Franklin, Ohio. The inmate, whose name has not been released, fatally shot himself in the hospital’s parking lot. The security guard was a private guard with firm Merchants Security, according to the Dayton Daily News. The Montgomery County (Ohio) Sheriff’s Office has contracts with Merchants Security and other security firms to guard some inmates admitted to hospitals, according to the report.

MIDDLETOWN, NJ MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEE DIES IN ‘WORKPLACE INCIDENT’

Middletown, NJ — A municipal employee died at the Middletown Sewerage Authority Treatment Facility Tuesday afternoon in a “workplace-related incident.” John Molnar was identified as the deceased worker by the township attorney, who said Molnar was “one of the authority’s most valued employees. We were all saddened to hear about John’s passing in this tragic incident,” Middletown Mayor Tony Perry said in a separate written statement, continuing “John and his family have deep roots in the Middletown community, so we’re all feeling the loss. On behalf of the Township of Middletown, I offer my deepest condolences to his loved ones.” The authority was “working diligently and cooperating with all investigative agencies to determine the cause of this workplace-related incident,” the township attorney also said. The statement did not disclose the circumstances of Molnar’s death. A rescue was attempted Tuesday afternoon at the authority’s facility on Beverly Way in the Belford section after a worker fell into a hole, according to several reports. OSHA told New Jersey 101.5 that because it involved a township employee it was under investigation by the state Public Employees Occupational Safety and Health (PEOSH).

Crews recovering body of worker trapped in machine at east Houston job site

HOUSTON, TX – A construction worker died Tuesday morning at an east Houston worksite after getting trapped in a machine, according to the Houston Fire Department. It happened at about 11 a.m. in the 12700 block of East Freeway and Halsey Street. Officials said construction crews were using a trenching machine to drill a hole into the ground when one worker fell into the machine. They said the hole was approximately 20-feet deep. The machine was reportedly running when the site’s foreman seemingly fell into the hole and became entangled with the machine.

Worker dies after accident at Jeffersonville mining and metal company

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. — A worker has died after being involved in a southern Indiana workplace accident, according to Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore. Around 3 p.m. on Tuesday, the Jeffersonville Fire Department responded to a report of an accident at Delaco Kasle Processing, a mining and metals company on Maritime Road in Jeffersonville. When they got there they found that workers were performing CPR on a co-worker who was severely injured. Emergency medical services then arrived on the scene and took the worker to Clark Memorial Hospital. Moore said that the worker did not survive. Moore gave a statement that he is sad for the family and that any safety concerns will need to be addressed by Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Iowa construction worker killed after being pinned by equipment

MAHASKA COUNTY, Iowa — An investigation is underway after a construction worker was killed while working on a bridge, according to the Mahaska County Sheriff’s Office. Emergency crews were called at 5 p.m. Wednesday to the bridge that’s currently under construction on Highway 92, where it crosses the North Skunk River. According to law enforcement, the caller said a construction worker had been pinned by a piece of construction equipment. When first responders arrived, other workers on scene had already freed the victim. The victim, identified as 46-year-old Pablo Jesus Gomez-Garcia, of Ottumwa, was treated on scene by paramedics. A medical helicopter was called to the scene, but Gomez-Garcia died before medics were able to transport him. The death remains under investigation.

Worker Dies After Falling Through Roof at Fairfield University

Fairfield, CT — Fairfield fire officials said a worker was killed after falling through a roof on the Fairfield University campus. Firefighters were called to the university at about 7:15 a.m. after receiving a report that a private roofing contractor fell through a skylight. The incident happened at the Central Utilities Facility building and the worker fell about 40 feet, according to officials. The worker, identified as a 57-year-old man, was taken to a nearby hospital and later died. Police have not released the victim’s name pending notification of his family. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was called in to investigate.

Truck Driver Killed in Semi-Truck Accident on Hanua Street in Kapolei, HI

Kapolei, HI — May 30, 2022, one person was killed due to an accident where a semi-truck crashed along Hanua Street. Preliminary reports indicated that the accident took place at around 4:30 a.m. near the intersection of Hanua Street and Malakole Street. Officials said that a commercial truck was traveling Hanua when it somehow crashed into an unoccupied truck parked along the roadway. This caused cargo in the back of the driver’s truck to shift forward through the back of the driver’s cab. Due to the collision, the driver of the first truck, identified only as a 57-year-old Waipahu man, sustained fatal injuries. No particular cause for the crash is clear at this time.

Covington man shot and killed by co-worker at General Mills plant

COVINGTON, Georgia  — A General Mills employee was shot and killed by a co-worker Sunday at the cereal plant located at 15200 Industrial Park Blvd. According to the Covington Police, Jalen Brown of Covington shot co-worker Zachery Foster, also of Covington, multiple times at about 11:40 a.m. and then ran from the plant. Police said Brown ran toward the intersection of Alcovy Road and Avenue of Champions, where he allegedly fired at a passing motorist on Alcovy Road. Police were called and were able to apprehend Brown without incident. Foster was taken to Piedmont Newton were he later died.

LAPD officer dies from injuries suffered in training accident

LOS ANGELES, CA — A 32-year-old Los Angeles police officer died Sunday of injuries suffered three days earlier in a training accident. Houston Tipping, a five-year veteran, was hurt in a training accident Thursday at the Elysian Park Academy, according to Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore. Moore called Houston Tipping “a bright and uplifting young man with a full life in front of him.” “Despite the valiant efforts of his classmates” and medical staff, Tipping “could not recover,” the chief said in a tweet. Moore called Tipping “a bright and uplifting young man with a full life in front of him.” According to a statement from the chief, at the time of the accident, Tipping was a bike instructor engaged in a training scenario involving grappling with another officer. During the scenario, Tipping fell to the floor and suffered a catastrophic spinal cord injury. Officers immediately began CPR and summoned emergency aid. Tipping was taken to L.A. County-USC Medical Center in Boyle Heights. The Police Department is investigating the accident to identify additional measures to prevent such incidents in the future, according to Moore’s statement.

Construction Worker Dies in Fall Accident on Fawnwood Ct in Sherman, TX

Sherman, TX — May 24, 2022, a construction worker died after falling from a roof off Fawnwood Court in Sherman. According to reports the incident happened Tuesday at the site of a home being built near the intersection of Fawnwood and Canton Creek Drive. Preliminary investigation suggests the victim was on the roof of the home when he suffered some kind of medical episode and fell off the structure. The man was transported to a local hospital where he died a short time later. Investigators believe the medical issue, not the fall, was the cause of his death. No further information is currently available.

Truck Driver Killed in 18-Wheeler Crash on I-81 near East Pennsboro Twp, PA

Pennsboro Twp, PA — June 1, 2022, a truck driver died in a collision with an illegally-parked 18-wheeler on Interstate 81 near East Pennsboro Township. According to news reports the incident happened around 4:30 a.m. on southbound I-81 near mile marker 64.5. Preliminary investigation suggests the victim was traveling south on the freeway she he approached a curve in the road and allegedly failed to negotiate it. The big rig then hit another truck parked along the roadway. After the impact the striking truck lost control and hit a light pole, then overturned and skidded to a stop in the road. The parked truck slid off the road onto the shoulder. The driver of the southbound truck was taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead. The driver of the parked truck was not hurt.The investigation continues. No further information is currently available.

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