Weekly Toll

Another WV mineworker killed, falls, machinery, chemical release, drowning, shootings, vehicular incidents and woman killed when hair drags her into machinery. How workers died last week.  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.

Second W.Va. Coal Miner Dies On The Job In Less Than 2 Weeks

Kanawha County, WV — A coal miner was killed on Thursday in Kanawha County, the second mine fatality in West Virginia in less than two weeks. Kris Ball, 34, of Hart, died at the Coalburg Tunnel Mine in Kanawha County, according to Gov. Jim Justice. The mine is owned by Blackhawk Mining Company. The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) will issue a preliminary report on Ball’s death in the next several days. Ball’s death follows that of William Richards on Aug. 17 at the Tunnel Ridge Mine in Ohio County. Including Ball and Richards, four coal miners have been killed on the job in West Virginia this year, according to MSHA records. Nine have died nationwide. Ten coal miners were killed last year.

Worker crushed, killed by machinery Friday morning at Swansea plant

SWANSEA, IL — A 59-year-old worker in Swansea was killed Friday morning when he was crushed by hydraulic machinery at Century Castings Corp., Swansea police said. The incident happened at around 6 a.m. The business is at 1300 North Illinois Street. Chief Steve Johnson said in a social media post that police responded within one minute of the call and several workers and officers used a large pry to lift the machine off of the man. Emergency workers performed CPR on him and a helicopter was dispatched.

Man charged in deadly game room shooting in southeast Houston that killed security guard, police say

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — A man has been arrested and charged in the death of a security guard, whom police said was fatally shot during a robbery at a southeast Houston game room. Jomar Crawford, 22, is charged with capital murder after he allegedly shot 33-year-old Jesus Rodriguez. On Feb. 12, at about 1 a.m., Houston Police Department officers said they responded to a shooting at a game room on 6333 Long Drive. Rodriguez was found with a gunshot wound and transported to a hospital where he was pronounced dead, police said.

New Orleans International Airport employee killed

KENNER, La. — A Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport employee was killed on Tuesday night following an incident at work. Jermani Thompson, 26, of Reserve, LA., was injured at the airport and was transported to a local hospital around 10 p.m. Thompson was pronounced dead at the hospital. Thompson was an employee of GAT Airline Ground Support. According to reports, her hair got entangled on the belt loader, which led to fatal injuries.

Cirrus Aircraft employee dies in Texas crash after plane took off from Knoxville

Spring, Texas — A Cirrus Aircraft employee died Thursday night in a plane crash near Spring, Texas, a company spokesperson confirmed. The Cirrus SR-22 took off from McGhee Tyson Airport with three people and crashed on the way to David Wayne Hooks Memorial Airport at around 5 p.m. local time, according to officials with the Federal Aviation Administration. “We are deeply saddened,” Cirrus spokeswoman Nadia Haidar said in a prepared statement. “Our immediate thoughts and prayers are with our team member’s family, the aircraft occupants and all those affected.” Haidar declined to comment further, citing the investigation and respect for the families involved. As the plane was trying to land, it lost power and hit a tree, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. An official from the National Transportation Safety Board confirmed the plane crashed on its approach to the airport and said it was sending an investigator. According to the spokesperson, a preliminary report will likely be completed in about three weeks but the full investigation report, including the cause of the crash, can take up to a year.

SC OSHA investigating death at Dorchester Co. plant after worker killed by machinery

DORCHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (WCIV) — The South Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has opened an investigation into the death of a woman at a manufacturing plant earlier this week. A spokesperson for Dorchester County confirmed that Fire and EMS crews responded to the Sundaram Clayton plant in Ridgeville for reports that an employee was killed by a piece of machinery. By the time crews arrived, the spokesperson says the woman had already been removed from the machinery. ABC News 4 reached out to the county coroner’s office, which confirmed that Sonya Strock, 57, of Bamberg, died on Wednesday. On Friday, her body underwent an autopsy. The coroner’s office says Strock died “from traumatic injuries sustained while working with the manufacturing equipment at the factory.”

Body of missing tugboat worker who disappeared on Des Plaines River believed to be found

CHICAGO, IL (WLS) — Search crews believe they have found the body of a tugboat worker who disappeared on the Des Plaines River. Artie Odom, 50, was last seen early Monday afternoon on board the towing vessel “Hamilton” when it refueled in Channahon, according to the Great Lakes division of the U.S. Coast Guard. He was noticed missing after the boat passed through the Dresden Lock and Dam, according to Coast Guard and fire department officials. Tuesday morning, crews from Channahon and Minooka rejoined the U.S. Coast Guard in the search. A body matching Odom’s description was recovered around 11 a.m. A cause of death has not been determined. The Coast Guard is handling the investigation.

Body of Construction Worker, 30, Found After Site Collapse

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. (AP) — State police say the body of a worker was found in the rubble of a collapse at a construction site in Pennsylvania. Trooper Megan Frazer said the body of the 30-year-old man was found at about 9:45 p.m. Tuesday at the site of the Martin’s Famous Potato Rolls plant in Guilford Township, Franklin County. Frazer said the man worked for Wohlsen Construction, the general contractor at the site. His name wasn’t immediately released pending notification of relatives. Franklin County dispatchers said about three 25-by 50-foot sections of concrete came down at about 2 p.m. Tuesday, PennLive.com reported. A storm was hitting the site at the time but officials said it’s unclear whether the collapse was weather-related.

19-year-old security guard killed in northeast Baltimore shooting was an aspiring artist, athlete

BALTIMORE, MD — Friends are mourning a 19-year-old security guard who was killed while working at an apartment complex near Morgan State University. Friends are remembering Julian “Ju Ju” Fruh, who recently graduated from Green Street Academy, a Baltimore charter school, as a good, fun person who was an aspiring artist and athlete. He played on the school’s varsity football team. Fruh worked for Allied Universal Security Services, a Baltimore company that has a contract with Morgan State University to patrol the Marble Hall Garden Apartment complex, which is used by the university for off-campus housing. According to police, Frew died after he was shot in the head after 9 p.m. Wednesday in the 4400 block of Marble Hall Road. City police said investigators have no motive or suspect.

Police ID security guard shot and killed during attempted armed robbery at Fish Arcade and Games in Salisbury

SALISBURY, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – The Salisbury Police Department has identified a security guard who was shot and killed during an attempted armed robbery on Tuesday. The deadly incident happened around 11 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 30, at the Fish Arcade and Games located along Statesville Blvd. As Salisbury officers arrived at the scene, they located William Eugene Mclane, 56, with gunshot wounds. First responders attempted life-saving measures, but Mclane succumbed to his injuries. The initial investigation revealed that Mclane was a security guard hired by the Fish Arcade and Games. He was at work when individuals attempted to enter and rob the business, authorities said.

Beloved pizzeria owner killed in robbery, shootout

Albuquerque, NM — Diners stepping into Giovanni’s Pizzeria were often greeted by the owner’s thick New York /Sicilian accent. Rosario Zito in his pizzeria wearing bows and antlers on his head for Christmas. The pizza shop owner was killed during a robbery on Tuesday. “Hey, how you doin’?” Rosario Zito would ask. Family and friends say Zito was always at his pizza shop on an Pedro SE, near Kathryn. So when his employees were locking up for the night on Tuesday he was there, too. Within minutes 57-year-old Zito exchanged gunfire with a masked robber and was killed. Around 9:20 p.m. officers were alerted to a shooting by ShotSpotter gun shot detection system and by an employee of Giovanni’s Pizzeria who said his boss was in a shootout. When officers arrived at the shopping center, they found Zito dead.

Utility worker killed in accident in Winston-Salem /Forsyth County

FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. — An equipment operator died while driving a sewer wash truck on the way to a service call in Winston-Salem Monday night. 59-year-old Russell L. Cutrell was driving his work truck with his co-worker James L. Glisson Jr. in the passenger seat before it flipped over on Friedberg Church Road near Candlewood Drive, outside the Winston-Salem city limits around 11:34 p.m. Cutrell did not survive. He had been employed with Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Utilities since 2017. North Carolina State Highway Patrol received the report and called city officials about the accident early Tuesday morning. Cutrell and Glisson were on duty and responded to a call to repair a sewer pipe, said Utilities Director Courtney Driver.

Worker killed in construction accident at Martin’s Famous Potato Rolls plant

Chambersburg, Pa — A30-year-old man died Tuesday night after multiple concrete walls collapsed at a building under construction at the Martin’s Famous Potato Rolls and Bread plant in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, State Police said. Steven Garrett Graby, 30, was pulled from the wreckage after a search that lasted hours, authorities said. The incident happened around 2:15 p.m. at the plant off Garber Road in Guilford Township, where the family-run bakery was constructing a new facility. The collapse occurred as a storm system moved through Franklin County, causing the newly erected walls to become unstable.

HPD Identifies Man Killed in Traffic Incident in Hilo

Hilo, HA — Authorities have identified a man killed after reportedly being struck by his own vehicle in Hilo last week. The incident occurred on Wednesday, Aug. 24. Hawai’i Police Department’s South Hilo patrol officers responded to the Puainako Street extension near mile marker 3 at approximately 6:20 a.m. on a report of a male that had reportedly been struck by a vehicle. Responding officers determined the victim, later identified as Allen Y.L. Kealoha, 62, of Pāhoa, had stopped his commercial flatbed delivery truck on the side of the road just above the entrance to the Hilo Hillside subdivision. “It’s believed the vehicle may have experienced mechanical issues, and that the driver was securing his cargo,” HPD stated in a press release. “Investigators believe the delivery driver was subsequently struck by his own vehicle.”

Cherokee County Coroner Releases Name of Victim in Fatal Log Truck Wreck on Highway 9

Centre, AL — The Cherokee County Coroner has released the name of the log truck driver killed in an accident taking place in Centre, at around 11:30 Tuesday morning. Coroner Paul McDonald said Marvin David Patterson, age 59 from the Piedmont area was pronounced dead at the scene, after apparently suffering a fatal cardiac medical event, which led to the vehicle leaving the road – then colliding with two utility poles, before coming to rest on its side.

Family Seeks Answers in Drowning Death of Miami Beach Employee at Scott Rakow Youth Center

Miami Beach, FL – A City of Miami Beach employee died last week after drowning in a public pool on the last day of summer camp, in view of children who gathered for the day’s festivities. After taking him off life support following nine days in the hospital, his family wants answers as to the strange circumstances of his death. Peniel Janvier, 28, was a part-time recreation leader for Miami Beach’s Parks and Recreation Department and a coach for one of the city’s summer camp programs. On August 16, Janvier was playing with kids at the Scott Rakow Youth Center during an end-of-summer-camp celebration at the center’s outdoor pool. Around 2:30 p.m. on August 16, the Miami Beach Police Department (MBPD) was called to the center after Janvier was observed in distress in the pool. According to an MBPD incident report (embedded at the end of this story), “He was observed in distress and after a while several coaches and lifeguards took him out [of] the pool.” Janvier was rushed to Mt. Sinai Hospital, where he was placed on a ventilator. He spent ten days in critical condition until he was taken off the ventilator and died on Friday, August 26.

Worker killed in industrial accident near Lake Worth Beach

LAKE WORTH BEACH, Fla. — One man died after an industrial accident Tuesday near Lake Worth Beach, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. The incident occurred at 3:43 p.m. in the 3000 block of Melaluca Lane. According to the PBSO, a 70,000-pound commercial dump truck was backing up on a private unpaved road that led to a residential parking area. It was being led by a co-worker who was visible to the driver in the passenger side mirror. According to PBSO, the weight of the truck caused it to get stuck on the unpaved road. The driver attempted to dump a portion of its load to lighten the weight but was not aware that another co-worker, identified as Pedro Bolano, was on the driver’s side of the truck. Deputies said the truck became unstable and rolled into its side, trapping Bolano underneath. He was pronounced dead at the scene by Palm Beach County Fire Rescue.

Union Pacific railroad worker dies in train derailment in El Paso’s Lower Valley

El Paso, TX — A Union Pacific railroad employee died and several homes were evacuated after a train derailment Monday night in the Riverside area of the Lower Valley, the El Paso Fire Department said. The employee killed in the wreck was identified as a train conductor, Mario Aurelio Navarro, 49, who died at the scene when he was struck by a train car that flipped on its side, El Paso police officials said. Two train cars derailed and damaged a fence, a backyard shed and a gas meter, leading to the precautionary evacuation of nearby homes at 9:30 p.m. along Barton Street near Franklin Drive, fire officials said. A death investigation by detectives with the Crimes Against Persons Unit determined that work had been done earlier on a portion of track and a derailment device was installed to protect workers from incoming trains, a police statement said. The derailment device had not been removed and still was in place when later that night the train engineer was given clearance to proceed, police said. The conductor was guiding the engineer into the rail yard when the train hit the derailment device.

Ingram Marine Group worker dies in accident on Ohio River

EVANSVILLE, IN — An Ingram Marine Group worker died in an accident on the Ohio River near Evansville, Indiana on Friday. Ingram Barge President and CEO John Roberts confirmed the death in a statement, which read in full:”It is with great sadness that we confirm the accident which took place on the Ohio River near Evansville, IN on Friday, August 26th that resulted in the tragic loss of one of our Ingram associates, Anthony Belt. The details of this incident are still being gathered and we are cooperating fully with the appropriate authorities for a thorough investigation.

Police investigating after Mississippi lawn care worker killed while on the job. Leaf blower was found still running on his back.

Gulfport, MS — Police are investigating the death of a lawn care worker who was shot and killed while on the job. The leaf blower the victim was operating was still running on his back when officers responded to reports of the shooting. Gulfport Police are investigating the death of Kelvin Simmons Jr., 47, of Saucier, who was shot multiple times in the 3000 block of Audubon Drive, according to WXXV in Gulfport.

Officials identify logging truck driver killed Tuesday

OROVILLE, Calif. – Officials have identified an 83-year-old Oroville man who was killed in a crash on Oro Quincy Highway on Tuesday, according to the Butte County Coroner’s Office. Lerroy Vierra of Oroville was identified as the driver of a truck trailer that was carrying logs westbound on Oro Quincy Highway in the area of Deer Park Rd. CHP said Vierra was driving fast around a curve and the trailer began to tip over. As the trailer tipped over, the tractor flipped onto its side.

Employee killed after attempting to disarm gunman in Oregon supermarket

Bend, Ore. (AP) — An employee who was killed in a shooting at a Safeway supermarket in Bend, Oregon, attacked the gunman in the produce section and tried to disarm him, likely preventing more deaths, authorities said Monday. The 66-year-old employee, identified as Donald Ray Surrett Jr., was hailed as a hero by police at a news conference. Surrett and a customer, 84-year-old Glenn Edward Bennett, were killed in the shooting Sunday evening. Two others were injured. Police said Monday the shooter died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound and was found dead “in close proximity” to an AR-15-style weapon and a shotgun. Terrified shoppers and employees fled for safety when the suspect entered the supermarket and began “spraying shots” from the assault rifle.

EMEPA employee dies in Kemper County

KEMPER COUNTY, Miss. (WTOK) – A man was killed Monday morning in a work-related accident in Kemper County. Kemper County Coroner Terry Bostick said it happened on Highway 397 just north of Preston around 8:45 Monday morning. Details are limited, but Bostic said the East Mississippi Electric Power Association employee was in the process of cutting trees when he was killed.

Alexandria construction worker dead after falling down several stories

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Officials say a man is dead after an industrial accident in Alexandria, Virginia. Police responded just after 3 p.m. to the intersection of Mill Road and Dock Lane for a report of a fatal industrial accident. According to police, a construction worker fell off the roof down several stories while working. The man was identified as Rosalio Esquivel Ramirez, 29, of Hyattsville, Maryland.  He was taken to the hospital but died upon arrival, according to officers.

U.S. Ecology worker dies following last week’s chemical release

CANTON TWP, OH ‒ One of five people injured during an Aug. 22 hazardous chemical release at U.S. Ecology has died, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration confirmed on Monday. OSHA’s Cleveland Field Area Office Director Howard Eberts said U.S. Ecology, 2050 Central Avenue SE, notified the agency on Thursday that employee Ray Sullivan, 27, of Waynesburg, had died. U.S. Ecology located in Canton Township. Sullivan’s obituary lists his death as Friday. The investigation into the chemical release was launched immediately, Eberts said, who added OSHA has six months to complete its probe. Canton Township Fire Chief Christopher Smith has said that hydrogen sulfide was released at site, requiring five workers to seek medical treatment.

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