Weekly Toll

Last week: Three more trench deaths and two workers killed in separate Oklahoma oil drilling incidents. Another worker missing for a month found to be ground up in a plastic shredding machine.  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.

Delivery worker dies after being pinned between 2 trucks in Johnson County

JOHNSON COUNTY, Ind. — One person is dead and three others were taken to the hospital after a pickup truck crashed into a delivery vehicle while a delivery was being made in Johnson County, per the sheriff’s office. At about 9:10 a.m. Monday, Johnson County Sheriff’s deputies were called to a crash in the 3000 block of West Olive Branch Road, west of State Road 135. Deputies arrived to find a delivery truck contracted for Home Depot in the eastbound lanes, where it appeared a delivery was being made at a home. The sheriff’s office said a pickup truck headed eastbound crashed into the back of the delivery truck, pinning one of the workers between the two trucks. Alexander Colmenares Fernandez, 22, was pronounced dead at the scene. His identity will be released once next of kin is notified. The other two delivery workers were injured and taken to Eskenazi and Methodist hospitals, as well as the driver of the pickup truck, said JCSO. Authorities did not comment on their conditions. The driver of the pickup truck told deputies he was unable to see the delivery truck stopped in the road, likely because of the rising sun blinding him. Fernandez had only been in the United States for a month before he died.

Utah Woman Dies After Being Sucked Into Purple Mattress Factory Machine

Grantsville, UT — An employee at a Purple Mattress plant in Grantsville, Utah, died Thursday after her arm got caught in a piece of equipment and she was pulled inside, police said. The 51-year-old victim was identified by Salt Lake City NBC affiliate KSL-TV as Anita Irene Coester. According to the outlet, emergency crews arrived at the factory and extricated Coester from the machine, but were unable to resuscitate her. It was the second recent workplace accident at the factory, a Utah Labor Commission spokesman told KUTV, declining to provide further details.

Construction Worker Killed In Accident In Eugene

Eugene, OR — A worker is dead following an accident at a yconstruction site on a highway in Eugene. The Oregon Department of Transportation says the contractor’s employee died in a hospital after being injured Saturday on Beltline Highway. It’s not yet clear what led to the worker’s injury. An investigation is ongoing.

Man faces murder charge after woman working at Star convenience store killed during robbery

STAR, N.C. (WGHP) — A man is in custody after a woman working at a gas station in Star was killed during a robbery. On Sunday, the State Bureau of Investigation arrested James William Ward, 57, on charges of first-degree murder in the death of 53-year-old Laura Whitman and robbery. He received no bond. Star police say investigators believe Ward was the driver. They are still looking for the shooter. On June 25, Whitman was working her first shift at Quick Chek in Star. She previously worked at a Quick Chek in Candor but was transferred to the Star location recently. That night Whitman never made it home from her shift.

‘He just loved working,’ says nephew of security guard killed in El Rey shooting

MILWAUKEE, WI —A popular grocery store on Milwaukee’s South Side was back open Sunday following a shooting Saturday that left two people dead. Just after 10 a.m., a man went into El Rey grocery store on Cesar Chazez Drive and created a disturbance, police said. Two security guards chased him into the parking lot. That’s where police said the man shot at the guards. Two men died during the shootout: the man the security guards were chasing and a 59-year-old security guard identified by family as Anthony Nolden. “My family is hurt. My mom is hurt. Her sisters is hurt, just trying to get through it, just trying,” said Taine Nolden, Anthony’s nephew. Nolden said his uncle had been working as security guard for more than 25 years.”He loved his job. He stayed on his job. Most of the time we couldn’t catch him. If he not at home, he was working. He stayed working. That was his number one priority, working,” Nolden said.

Facebook Employee Dies in Apparent Suicide at Menlo Park Headquarters

Menlo Park, CA — A Facebook employee died in an apparent suicide at one of the company’s office buildings on Thursday, Business Insider reports. According to Menlo Park Police Department, an emergency call came at around 11:30 a.m. about an adult male who had jumped from the 4th floor of a building on the 100 block of Jefferson Drive. Business Insider reports the building was a Facebook building known as MPK 27 located at 162 Jefferson Drive. Police say officials found the unidentified man unresponsive upon arrival, and efforts to revive him were unsuccessful. He was pronounced dead at the scene, and a preliminary investigation by police indicates there was no foul play involved

Emotional vigil held for delivery worker killed by hit-and-run driver in the Bronx

SOUNDVIEW, The Bronx  — An emotional gathering was held Thursday night for a 21-year-old delivery worker killed by a hit-and-run driver in the Bronx. Christian Catalan’s family members are pleading for the driver who killed the 21-year-old delivery worker to turn herself in. On Sunday, a woman driving a stolen Jeep, was, according to witnesses, leaving a barber shop, when she sped away after an argument with someone and then struck Catalan at East 172nd Street and Metcalf Avenue. She then fled the scene in another car after calmly removing a baby in a car seat from the stolen vehicle and placing the child in the other car. The crash at the intersection that killed Catalan, happened in an especially deadly week for young delivery men on bikes. The NYC Food Delivery Movement says three more were killed by cars around the city and one is in critical condition after being beaten and robbed of his bike. “People order food, and someone’s gotta deliver it. And this is a tough job,” said Roberto Martinez of NYC Food Delivery Movement.

Landscaper dies in riding lawn mower accident, Jacksonville police say

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Investigators with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office responded Thursday afternoon to an accident involving a riding lawn mower in the Greenland neighborhood. According to Sgt. Steve Rudlaff, with the Sheriff’s Office, police responded in the afternoon to Greenland Chase Boulevard in reference to a landscaper who flipped a riding lawnmower into a pond. The man, who was said to be in his 40s, died at the scene, Rudlaff said. He asked for anyone living in the area who saw what happened, or who might have surveillance footage of the incident to contact the Sheriff’s Office. There were no signs of foul play, Rudlaff said, verifying that the incident was being investigated as an accident. Rudlaff said the company the landscaper was working for is based out of South Carolina and that the man was subcontracted. Two other landscaping contractors at the scene told police they only knew the man by his first name, and JSO was working to notify family members.

Firefighter killed while battling blaze in Southern California

VENTURA, Calif. — A firefighter from San Diego was killed while battling the Thomas Fire, Cal Fire officials said on Thursday. The firefighter was identified as Cal Fire San Diego Unit Fire Apparatus Engineer Cory Iverson, according to Cal Fire Director Chief Ken Pimlott. Dozens of fellow firefighters lined up in Fillmore to honor Iverson in a procession.

Dump truck driver killed in interstate crash is from Fairview Heights, coroner says

Belleville, IL — The 65-year-old dump truck driver who died in an accident on Interstate 255 Monday was a Fairview Heights resident. Darnell Belt lived in the 6200 block of Old Collinsville Road, St. Clair County Coroner Calvin Dye Sr. said Friday. Belt was pronounced dead at the scene at 11:38 a.m., Dye said. According to preliminary information from the Illinois State Police, Belt was driving a dump truck south on I-255 when his truck struck a guardrail at milepost 19 about 10:55 a.m. Belt was alone in the dump truck when it crashed.

Truck Driver Dies After Being Rear-Ended By Second Truck

NORTH HILLS, NY — A truck driver was killed after being rear-ended by a tractor-trailer on the Long Island Expressway early Friday, authorities said. It happened at Exit 36, in the North Hills area, around 3:15 a.m. Nassau County police say a 2013 Mack Truck was traveling eastbound along the LIE when it rear-ended a 1996 dump truck, causing it to overturn. The driver of the dump truck, only identified as a 59-year-old man, was rushed to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead. The 43-year-old man operating the Mack Truck, who remained at the scene, was not injured, according to authorities.

OSHA opening investigation into worker death at State College demolition site

State College, PA — The federal agency that monitors workplace safety is launching an investigation after a worker died on Thursday at a State College demolition site, a spokesperson wrote in an email on Friday. A worker at the Days Inn Penn State demolition site sustained fatal injuries following a five-story fall from an open window, an Occupational Safety and Health Administration spokesperson wrote. Around 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, State College police, alongside Centre LifeLink EMS and the Centre County Coroner’s Office, arrived at the scene, where the worker was pronounced dead. A preliminary investigation into Thursday’s fatal fall suggested it was accidental in nature, police wrote. On Friday, Centre County Coroner Scott Sayers identified the worker as 42-year-old Joshua Farkas. Sayers’ office conducted an autopsy and concluded Farkas died as a result of blunt force head trauma. An OSHA spokesperson said the worker was employed by ISI Demolition Inc. out of White Marsh, Maryland.

Oilfield worker killed in Oklahoma oil rig accident

FAIRVIEW, Okla. (AP) — An oilfield worker was killed Thursday in an accident at a northwestern Oklahoma oil rig, officials said. In a statement, the Major County Sheriff’s Office says the accident was reported shortly before 9 a.m. about six miles (10 kilometers) northeast of Fairview or about 130 miles (210 kilometers) northwest of Oklahoma City. Emergency personnel arrived to find Jerry Pollard of El Reno, Oklahoma, pulled into a cable winch drum. Pollard worked for Orco Service LLC at the rig owned by Stride Energy LLC. Rig operations have been suspended while the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Oklahoma Medical Examiner’s office investigate.

Worker dies at Gerber baby food factory in Fremont

FREMONT, Mich. — A factory worker was killed Thursday in an industrial incident at Gerber Products. The Fremont Police Department responded to the factory Thursday where police found the worker dead. Police did not identify the victim or release any other details on how the worker died. Fremont Police, the Newaygo County Medical Examiner’s Office, and Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration are expected to conduct an investigation into the deadly workplace death.

County worker found dead inside compactor at Virginia trash and recycling center

SPOTSYLVANIA COUNTY, Va. — A Mineral man was killed on the job Thursday morning at the Chancellor Convenience Center on Harrison Road in Spotsylvania County. Brandon Michael Nutter, 28, worked as a heavy equipment mechanic for the Solid Waste Collections Division. He’d been on the job for less than a month. “Deputies and Fire/Rescue personnel arrived on scene within minutes to find a deceased county employee who was trapped inside an industrialized stationary compactor,” an email from Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office Major Troy Skebo wrote in an email

Worker killed after car falls on him at Orlando repair shop

ORLANDO, Fla — A worker is dead after a car fell on him Wednesday at an Orlando car repair shop, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. Deputies said the incident occurred around 1 p.m. at J & J Automotive, located near Landstreet Road and State Highway 528. The victim was reported to be in his 60s and died at the hospital. The man’s death is considered an active investigation, the sheriff’s office said.

Alabama Forestry Commission employee killed in tragic accident

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) – Officials with the Alabama Forestry Commission say they are investigating after an employee was killed in an accident on July 6 in Washington County. Officials say 36-year-old Brett Savage was with a crew removing a communications tower, when the tower fell and killed him. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and loved ones of Brett. “All of us at the Alabama Forestry Commission are terribly saddened by his loss,” said State Forester Rick Oates. Savage had been with the agency for three months.

Man charged with first-degree murder in shooting outside Springfield tactical supply store

Springfield, MO — A Springfield man has been charged with first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of 25-year-old employee Colin Loderhose outside of Anchor Tactical Supply on Wednesday morning. Zachary Cano, 20, was charged with murder and several other felonies in connection with the shooting and a robbery at another gun store earlier that morning. Jonathan Peace, who was arrested with Cano, was charged with stealing a gun from Anchor Tactical Supply on Tuesday (the day before the shooting). Court documents say Cano and Peace went to Anchor Tactical Supply at about 9 a.m. on Thursday, but employees recognized the pair from the stealing incident the day before. According to court documents, Loderhose confronted the pair, took their pictures and kicked them out of the store, pushing them a couple of times as seen on surveillance video footage from the store. After being kicked out, court documents say Cano can be seen on camera pulling a gun out of his waistband out of the view of the victim before turning around and shooting Loderhose three times at close range. Loderhose fell to the ground, attempted to pull out his gun from a concealed holster but fell unconscious before he could return fire, investigators say.

Man Identified In Grady County Oilfield Death

GRADY COUNTY, Oklahoma – Matthew Kopf, an oil worker, died Thursday after an accident at an oilfield, the Grady County Sheriff’s Office confirmed. County undersheriff Gary Boggess told News 9 that the 44-year-old from Newcastle was on a tractor on location at the oilfield. Authorities said the tractor chain broke and hit the employee in the head and shoulder. The injury impact killed the man. His body was found on the bank of the Washita River.

Kentucky man killed in logging accident in Adair County

ADAIR COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – Kentucky State Police say 53-year-old Tony Burton of Columbia died Wednesday in a logging accident on Tower Road in Adair County. According to State Police, Burton was on a farm tractor moving timber, when it overturned into a deep ravine, trapping Burton underneath the tractor. State Police say Burton died on the scene.

Family remembers security guard killed in Oildale robbery, suspect arrested

OILDALE, Calif. (KGET) — What seems to have been a robbery-gone-wrong at Gravity Tobacco in Oildale on Sunday has left a man dead and his family reeling. Odulio “Jesse” Rodriguez, 36, was shot and killed while working a shift as a security guard at the tobacco shop. Kern County sheriff’s officials said he was pronounced dead at the scene. Sheriff’s officials said a gunman entered the shop on Roberts Lane and Locust Street at about 4:50 p.m. and fired as he attempted to rob the business. Rodriguez was hit at least once. Rodriguez’s family told 17 News that Rodriguez always went by the nickname Jesse. They added that he worked as a security guard for many years and enjoyed it very much.

Dump truck driver dies after veering off 183-A tollway overpass in Cedar Park

Cedar Park, TX — A dump truck driver died on Wednesday after veering over the side of the 183-A tollway overpass at Brushy Creek in Cedar Park, police said. The identity of the driver has not yet been released. Police were notified about the incident at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to a Police Department news release. It said the driver struck another semi-truck on the 183-A tollway before veering off the overpass. Firefighters who arrived at the scene found the dump truck on fire under the overpass, police said. The driver died at the scene.

Northbound 101 lanes reopen after semi-truck driver killed in crash with tree

GAVIOTA, Calif. – The California Highway Patrol re-opened the northbound Highway 101 lanes around at Winchester Canyon Road late Thursday morning after a deadly single-vehicle accident caused an hours-long closure in the early hours. The reopening of the northbound lanes come after several hours of a full closure when a semi-truck traveling northbound around 4:50 a.m. veered off the roadway and hit a large tree, according to the CHP. The highway was closed shortly after, at 5:15 a.m. The driver, a 41-year-old Compton resident, was not wearing a seatbelt and was ejected from the vehicle. He died at the scene. The driver has since been identified as 41-year-old Jesus Tamayo of Compton, California.

1 dead following workplace accident in Bradenton

BRADENTON, Fla. (WWSB) – One person has died following a workplace accident in Manatee County. The incident occurred Tuesday evening at WastePro in Bradenton. According to investigators, Leroy Firestone, an employee of Waste Pro, was standing on a ladder performing maintenance on the hydraulics of a garbage truck. While this work was being performed, the hydraulic blade/door on the side of the truck activated, causing it to close on the victim’s head. Firestone was pronounced dead on scene. Detectives interviewed co-workers, who were very distraught. It appears there was miscommunication between the victim and another employee during the repair.

Worker dies after fall from Coral Gables building

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – A worker fell from a Coral Gables building and died Wednesday, police said. The incident happened in the afternoon hours near the intersection of Alhambra Circle and Salzedo Street in the city’s downtown area.  The worker has been identified as Elmer Solis, the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed on Monday. Police had a portion of Salzedo Street blocked off with crime scene tape as the victim’s body lay in the street. Officer Kelly Denham, a spokesperson for Coral Gables police, said Miami-Dade police would be taking over the death investigation. People who were in the building at the time told Local 10 News that window washers were working on the building Wednesday, and police later confirmed that the man there to clean windows. Jose Sampron told Local 10 News he saw the man moments before the tragic fall. Sampron says the victim was young and was using a pressure washer, working alongside a crew.

AAA worker killed in Prince George’s Co. crash

Bowie, MD — A worker with AAA helping a driver on a road in Bowie, Maryland, was hit and killed Tuesday night, the Maryland State Police said. In a statement, police said Anthony Okozi, 69, of Upper Marlboro, was providing fuel to the driver of a van on westbound Route 50 near Collington Road at around 11:15 p.m. The van was partially on the left shoulder, according to a preliminary investigation; Okozi parked behind the vehicle. When Okozi began fueling, police said, Joseph Anderson 21, of Rockville, swerved to avoid the AAA vehicle and hit Okozi. Anthony Okozi, 69, of Upper Marlboro, was providing fuel to a driver when he was hit. Officers said Okozi’s hazard lights were on and he was wearing a reflective vest while he was fueling the van.

Washington trench collapse in Shoreline, WA, kills 2 workers

Shoreline, WA — Two workers were killed after a trench collapsed in Shoreline and the slope was too unstable to recover their bodies Monday so efforts will resume Tuesday. “It was on a very steep slope. It’s just an unstable surface for us to continue,” Michelle Pidduck with the Shoreline Fire Department said Monday night. Washington State Labor and Industries officials were dispatched to the scene. Pidduck said the men were private employees but she did not know who hired them. Recent permitting records with the city show that a resident was replacing part of a collapsed side sewer on private property. The King County Medical Examiner identified the men as 66-year-old David Ameh and 32-year-old Demetrius Sellers. Both men died of suffocation.

Worker killed in trench collapse at housing development near Albemarle

STANLY COUNTY, N.C. — A construction worker at a housing development near Albemarle is dead after a trench collapsed Tuesday morning, according to authorities in Stanly County. The incident happened a little after 8:30 a.m. at a construction area near Hatley Farm Road, which is northeast of Charlotte. Stanly County Emergency Services Director Michael Roark told Channel 9 that the crew member was working in the trench when it collapsed. Stanly Emergency Services Director Michael Roark identified the worker as Joshua Brindle, 30, an employee of Brindle Site Services of Midland.  The worker was trapped, but died from their injuries.

DoorDash driver killed in Detroit during first day on the job

DETROIT, MI — A man on his first day as a DoorDash driver was shot and killed Saturday while delivering an order in Detroit. According to Fox 2 Detroit, Dajour Russ got out of his car to deliver an order in the 1700 block of Bagley around 8 p.m. when someone driving by opened fire at him. Russ was struck in the foot, but the driver circled back around and shot at Russ again, fatally striking him. A family member was with Russ for his first day on the job, but was not injured in the shooting. Police are working to create a description of the suspect and the vehicle they were in, but have not released any specifics.
recycling in the state’s northern city of Greer.

Missing South Carolina Man Died After Falling Into Shredding Machine at Work, Coroner Says

Spartanburg County, SC — A 20-year-old South Carolina man reported missing in May was killed when he fell into a shredding machine, a coroner ruled Wednesday. Duncan Alexander Burrell Gordon vanished in early May from his job at Industrial Recovery and Recycling in the state’s northern city of Greer. Spartanburg County Coroner Rusty Clevenger said small pieces of a human body were found around the machine, and that DNA testing matched Gordon’s parents. The coroner’s office was called into the investigation in June, a moth after Gordon disappeared. The machine Gordon had been operating when he was last seen had been inspected three times before the small pieces of remains were found on a conveyor belt, authorities said. The machine Gordon had been operating when he was last seen had been inspected three times before the small pieces of remains were found on a conveyor belt, authorities said.  It was first checked by Gordon’s father, Mike Gordon, a supervisor at the plant, then by sheriff’s deputies and a K-9 team, and then a third time after bloody traces were discovered under the conveyor belt, investigators said. I can confirm the material is consistent with human fat, microscopically minute particles of skin and small pieces of bone,” the coroner said in a statement.

Detroit Police Officer Loren Courts fatally shot

Detroit, MI — Details about two men — a veteran Detroit police officer and a suspect wielding an assault-style weapon who were both fatally shot Wednesday evening — were emerging Thursday. At about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, the officer identified by officials on social media as Loren Courts, responded with his partner to a call of a man firing a weapon, Detroit police said. When the officers arrived, they were met by the suspect, who was armed with an assault-style weapon and fired in their direction. White said one officer was struck and his partner returned fire, fatally striking the man.

 

 

Cover photo: Billy Hefton | Enid News & Eagle

One thought on “Weekly Toll: Killed at Work Last Week”
  1. Concerning the excavation fatality in NC, this is the deceased at the link below. It mentions his father, Kevin Brindle. A Kevin Brindle is listed as the agent for the company. So, it would appear this is his son who perished.www.gofundme.com/f/kerry-brindle
    It would be interesting to know how many of these trenching/excavation fatalities involve similar circumstances, ie the company owners/relatives/close friends are the deceased.

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