Weekly Toll

Yet another Trench Collapse. Workers dead in industrial incidents, rail crashes, shootings, electrocutions and vehicle incidents. 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.

Renton trench collapse victim identified

Renton, WA — The King County Medical Examiner’s Office has identified a 36-year-old man killed in a trench collapse Wednesday in Renton. Surjit Gill died from compressional asphyxia after falling into the trench and being covered by about 10 feet of dirt. The medical examiner ruled the death an accident. Officials received reports from employees about a man who had fallen into the trench early Wednesday afternoon, Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority Division Chief Pat Pawlak previously said. The Renton Regional Fire Authority was the first of ten area agencies to respond. Firefighters were able to partially uncover Gill, but officials shifted to a body recovery after he showed no signs of life. Authorities secured the trench before recovering Gill’s body hours later, Pawlak said. Officials have not disclosed the name of the construction company or confirmed whether Gill was an employee.

Atlanta man loading a concrete cutting saw when Newton bridge collapsed

COVINGTON, Ga. — A 33-year-old Atlanta man has been identified as the worker who died Tuesday night when the Access Road bridge collapsed as he and two others worked to remove part of it for a replacement project. Demario Battle, an employee of B&D Concrete Cutting Inc., was killed when the 84-year-old bridge fell into the Yellow River Tuesday, Oct. 19, about 5:30 p.m. Two other workers, Robert Mullins of Atlanta and Michael Garrett of Clermont, were injured and were listed in serious condition at area hospitals, said sheriff’s office spokesperson Caitlin Jett. The incident occurred after the three began sawing and demolition activities on the first of four bridge spans as part of a project to remove the bridge and replace it with a new one near I-20’s Exit 88. The victim and two others fell into the Yellow River and were submerged but were quickly rescued, Jett said.

2 workers killed in Union Pacific train crash near Salton Sea

Salton Sea, CA — Two Union Pacific operators were killed early Thursday when their train crashed into parked freight cars near the Salton Sea, officials said. The freight train had been traveling through a desolate stretch of desert next to Highway 111, which runs along the eastern coast of the Salton Sea. Around 3 a.m., the train pulled off the main railroad and onto a siding, said Susan Stevens, a spokesperson for Union Pacific. As the train pulled onto the siding — an alternate railway typically used for trains to pull over to allow oncoming traffic to go by — it hit several parked rail cars, derailing the engine and seven of its cars, Stevens said. Both operators, who had been ejected from the train, were declared dead at the crash scene.

Philadelphia rec center worker dies after being caught in crossfire from gun battle, police say

Philadelphia, PA — A worker at a Philadelphia recreation center has died after she was caught in the crossfire of a nearby gun battle. It happened at the Mill Creek rec center in the 4700 block of Brown Street around 1:30 p.m. Tiffany Fletcher, 41, was rushed to the hospital and placed in critical condition, but died just after 7 p.m. Police say a 14-year old boy is in custody for the shooting, and police say there were at least three gunmen involved. Fletcher, a mother who leaves behind three boys, was simply sitting outside of the center taking a break.

Worker struck, killed in Hillsborough

Hillsborough, CA — A construction worker died after being struck by a rollaway vehicle on Marialinda Court in Hillsborough Friday afternoon, according to police. The incident happened at 1:05 p.m. at a residential construction site and despite life-saving efforts by first responders, the worker was pronounced dead at the scene. Police say it appears to be a tragic accident but is being investigated. Identification is pending notification of family, according to police.

Colorado police officer killed in line of duty

ARVADA, Colo. (KDVR) – A police officer in Colorado was killed early Sunday morning while responding to a disturbance call. According to the Arvada Police Department, the reported disturbance was located on the 6700 block of West 51st Avenue. Arvada is a city northwest of Denver. Officers arrived to a chaotic scene, they said, and when they attempted to calm those present, shots were fired by a male suspect, who hit both a woman and an officer. The officer was identified as 27-year-old Dillon Michael Vakoff. Vakoff was transported to the hospital where he died from his injuries. A procession was held from the hospital to the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office.

2 Cobb County deputies killed in the line of duty were men of ‘character, integrity,’ sheriff says

Marietta, GA — The Cobb County Sheriff’s Office has identified two deputies killed in the line of duty as 38-year-old Marshall Ervin, Jr. and 42-year-old Jonathan Koleski. The sheriff’s office said both men were married and Ervin was the father of two children. The deputies were shot and killed as they attempted to serve a warrant at a Marietta home on Thursday night. VanHoozer said Ervin and Koleski went to the home on Hampton Glen Court around 7:45, where the deputies tried to take a man who lived at the home, Christopher Cook, into custody. “While they were doing that, they were confronted by an individual inside the home with a weapon. Both deputies gave that individual loud, clear, firm commands to drop the weapon,” VanHoozer said. “He did not do that. At that point, there was an exchange of gunfire between the subject and the deputies, and both deputies succumbed to their wounds.”

WORKER KILLED, ANOTHER INJURED IN FATAL COLLISION ON INTERSTATE 5

SACRAMENTO, CA (September 9, 2022) – Wednesday evening, one worker was fatally struck while another was hurt in a collision on Interstate 5. The fatal collision happened around 6:30 p.m., along northbound I-5 near Sutterville Road. According to California Highway Patrol, a minivan swerved and hit a parked truck and two workers setting up cones along the northbound lanes. Due to the extent of injuries sustained, one of the workers died at the scene. Meanwhile, the other worker sustained critical injuries.

Authorities name man who died after vehicle incident in Trempealeau County

TOWNSHIP OF PIGEON, Wis. -Authorities have named a man who died after being pinned under a vehicle in Trempealeau County. The man has been identified as Garthe Duxbury of rural Whitehall. According to a media release from the Trempealeau County Sheriff’s Office, on Sept. 5 around 10:00 a.m. authorities received a call requesting Emergency Medical Services. The caller was reporting a 64-year-old man pinned under a vehicle that he was doing mechanical work on, at W12198 County Road P., in the Township of Pigeon. Upon arrival, Deputies and EMS personnel attempted to get the man removed from under the vehicle, and it was determined that the man had already died due to the injuries suffered from the incident.

Georgia trooper trainee dies after collapsing after training

FORSYTH, Ga. (AP) — A Georgia state trooper cadet has died during training. The state Department of Public Safety said Friday that Trooper Cadet Patrick Dupree died at a hospital after collapsing Thursday at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Forysth. The department said in a statement that Dupree collapsed after the end of a training exercise and that medical staff at the training center tried to save his life before Dupree was taken to a hospital. Dupree was part of a class training to be state troopers.

Truck Driver Killed, 1 Injured in Truck Accident on US 12 in Edmunds County, SD

Edmunds County, SD — September 7, 2022, one person was killed and one was injured following an accident involving a semi-truck on US 12. Details indicated that the crash took place at around 11:30 a.m. along US 12 at 330th Avenue. According to officials, a semi-truck was driving along westbound US 12. At 330th Avenue, police say that a straight truck “failed to stop,” resulting in a crash with the semi-truck. Due to the collision, the semi-truck driver sustained fatal injuries. The driver of the straight truck was said to have minor injuries. At this time, additional details are unavailable.

Died in Industrial Accident

Hinsdale, MA — Todd Wayne Walton, 48, of Hinsdale, MA passed away from an industrial accident on September 4, 2022 at Berkshire Medical Center. He was Born in Pittsfield, MA on March 21, 1974 to Wayne H. Walton and the late Joann R. Mawhinney Walton. Todd was a graduate of Wahconah Regional High School and Bentley University. He married Melinda Peterson on May 4, 2002. Todd was the co-owner of L.P. Adams, Co, Inc., Berkshire Trucking, Berkshire Crane and Logistics, as well as the former Hillbilly Enterprises Landscaping.

Atlanta man loading a concrete cutting saw when Newton bridge collapsed

COVINGTON, Ga. — A 33-year-old Atlanta man has been identified as the worker who died Tuesday night when the Access Road bridge collapsed as he and two others worked to remove part of it for a replacement project. Demario Battle, an employee of B&D Concrete Cutting Inc., was killed when the 84-year-old bridge fell into the Yellow River Tuesday, Oct. 19, about 5:30 p.m. Two other workers, Robert Mullins of Atlanta and Michael Garrett of Clermont, were injured and were listed in serious condition at area hospitals, said sheriff’s office spokesperson Caitlin Jett. The incident occurred after the three began sawing and demolition activities on the first of four bridge spans as part of a project to remove the bridge and replace it with a new one near I-20’s Exit 88. The victim and two others fell into the Yellow River and were submerged but were quickly rescued, Jett said.

2 workers killed in Union Pacific train crash near Salton Sea

Salton Sea, CA — Two Union Pacific operators were killed early Thursday when their train crashed into parked freight cars near the Salton Sea, officials said. The freight train had been traveling through a desolate stretch of desert next to Highway 111, which runs along the eastern coast of the Salton Sea. Around 3 a.m., the train pulled off the main railroad and onto a siding, said Susan Stevens, a spokesperson for Union Pacific. As the train pulled onto the siding — an alternate railway typically used for trains to pull over to allow oncoming traffic to go by — it hit several parked rail cars, derailing the engine and seven of its cars, Stevens said. Both operators, who had been ejected from the train, were declared dead at the crash scene.

Worker electrocuted at Huntsville construction site

Huntsville, AL — Huntsville police said a man died at a construction site Wednesday afternoon. Officers were called to work site in a shopping center at 6125 University Drive at around 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Police say Robert Philyaw, 41, died after he was accidentally electrocuted. Investigators say he was working on the electricity at the construction site when the incident occurred.

Truck Driver Killed in Crash with Van, Overturn on I-10 in Jackson County, FL

Jackson County, FL — September 6, 2022, a semi-truck driver died in a crash and rollover on Interstate 10 near Marianna in Jackson County. Authorities say the incident happened around 2:00 a.m. on I-10 near mile marker 138. Preliminary investigation suggests a van was headed west on the roadway when it crossed through the median into oncoming traffic for unknown reasons. It then collided with an eastbound semi-truck. The impact pushed the van back into the median but the truck ran off the south side of the road into a ditch, where its trailer jackknifed and overturned on top of the cab. The truck driver was pronounced dead at the scene. It’s unknown if there were other injuries.

70-year-old crossing guard dies days after being hit by SUV

YUMA, Ariz. (Gray News) – A 70-year-old crossing guard in Arizona died this w eek after she was hit by an SUV while on duty. The Yuma Police Department reports Maria Cecilia Chavez was working as a school crossing guard near the intersection of 24th Street and 8th Avenue on Sept. 1 when a Toyota RAV4 struck her. Chavez was taken to the hospital, but died from her injuries on Tuesday. According to authorities, a 60-year-old woman was driving the Toyota and hit Chavez while making a left turn. Police said alcohol or speed didn’t appear to be factors in the crash. Yuma police said the 70-year-old crossing guard was wearing a reflective vest. No children were injured.

Construction worker killed in hit-and-run

LUNA COUNTY, N.M. — A 23-year-old Lordsburg man was arrested and charged for allegedly hitting and killing a construction worker and fleeing the scene Thursday morning. According to New Mexico State Police, Raymond Anthony Saucedo was driving a 2012 Ford van west on I-10 around 6:30 a.m. Thursday. That’s when police say Saucedo struck a construction worker who was cleaning debris from the roadway. Saucedo allegedly fled the scene but was pulled over and arrested by a State Police officer at milepost 55. The construction worker was identified as 22-year-old Carl Lee Johnson, of Deming, who was pronounced dead at the scene from his injuries.

Man killed in workplace accident after truck falls on him, Pharr police say

Pharr, TX — A man died after being trapped under a box trailer Tuesday morning, according to Pharr authorities. At about 9:38 a.m., Pharr firefighters responded to the Penske Truck Leasing location at 4001 N. Cage Boulevard regarding a man entrapped under a box trailer, Fire Department Chief Pilar Rodriguez said. The man who died was working on the truck when it fell on him, authorities said. Firefighters were able to extricate the man, but he succumbed to his injuries. “What we know is one of the employees was working on one of the trucks, and somehow fell on top of the employee,” Pharr police Chief Andy Harvey said. “It’s only one employee who was injured fatally, obviously, but nobody else was injured. It’s just a really unfortunate, awful accident, but really, it’s a workplace accident, and we’re investigating the incident.”

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