Weekly Toll

How workers died last week. Healthcare workers shot and stabbed, cranes, forklifts, drowning, explosions, shootings and traffic 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.

Construction worker killed in paving accident at KCI Airport

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Federal investigators are looking into the death of a construction worker at Kansas City International Airport. The worked died in an accident while working on a runway paving project at the airport on Friday. Investigators say preliminary information shows a machine hit the worker. The worker died of his or her injuries. The victim was employed by Kansas City, Missouri-based Clarkson Construction. The company said the project is on a current runway and the project is not connected to the building of the new KCI Terminal.

Crane company employee killed in incident at Eastman Chemical in Longview

HARRISON COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) – One person was killed in an incident involving a crane at the Eastman Chemical Company in Longview, Monday. Captain Tyler Owen with the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the incident was fatal and said deputies are at the scene. Kristin Parker with the Eastman Chemical Company said the man who was killed was an employee of Joyce Crane, she was not aware of any others being injured.

2 hospital employees shot and killed by suspect out on parole in Dallas

DALLAS, Texas (KTRK) — Methodist Hospital police shot and arrested a suspected gunman accused of killing two employees, officials confirmed on Saturday. Dallas police reported to ABC affiliate WFAA that the suspect, identified as 30-year-old Nestor Hernandez, has been charged with capital murder. At about 11:15 a.m., officers responded to a shooting in the 1400 block of N. Beckley Avenue at Methodist Hospital. Upon arrival, officers found two hospital employees, including one nurse, in the labor and delivery area, had been shot, according to police. The hospital confirmed to WFAA that both employees died from their wounds. The two women, 43-year-old social worker Jacqueline Pokuaa and nurse Katie Flowers, 63, were shot and killed by a man who was there for the birth of his child, according to police and the hospital. (More here.)

WakeMed psychiatric nurse mourned after she’s killed in Durham.

Greensboro, NC — A nurse practitioner at a Durham outpatient clinic is being mourned after she died following a patient’s attack this week. June Onkundi, who was working at a Freedom House Recovery Center clinic in Durham, was fatally stabbed Tuesday by a patient at the clinic, family members confirmed to ABC11, The News & Observer’s news partner. Onkundi was a psychiatric nurse practitioner and registered nurse at WakeMed. (More here.)

Smithfield Foods employee killed in Kentucky in workplace accident

BELL COUNTY, KY. – Local news reports on Oct. 17, about a man working at the Middlesboro Smithfield Foods processing plant dying following an accident at the facility were confirmed by the company. Bell County Deputy Coroner Jason Steele stated that Mark Allen Tapp, 61, was working on a machine when a garment he was wearing got too close and he was pulled into the machine and killed. Officials said his body was sent to Frankfort, Ky., for an autopsy. Jim Monroe, Smithfield’s vice president of corporate affairs noted that the plant was closed yesterday after the accident and will be closed Oct. 18.

Georgia lawn worker, 22, falls into pool and drowns after being trapped by leaf blower,

AUGUSTA, GEORGIA: A lawn care worker, who tragically died, is being remembered by his family and friends after he fell into a pool with his equipment and drowned. Georgia authorities revealed how the man was working on a lawn at a home in the 3800 block of Honors Wayin in West Lake, a gated community in Martinez, situated about 140 miles east of Atlanta, on Wednesday, Oct. 19, when he fell into the pool. He was reportedly wearing a leaf blower on his back when he fell in. Columbia County Coroner Vernon Collins identified the victim as 22-year-old Keontae Alston, of Augusta.

Man killed in workplace accident in Salt Lake City

SALT LAKE CITY, UT — A man died Saturday afternoon after an industrial accident at a Salt Lake City business. Around 12:20 p.m., officers responded to a call about the accident that occurred at 1998 N. Redwood Road. The address is registered to Creative Granite & Design. Police said a large piece of granite fell on an employee, a 54-year-old man. His coworkers reportedly attempted life-saving measures, but he was later pronounced dead. The victim’s name was not released as of Saturday evening.

Port Everglades worker’s death ruled accidental

Port Everglades, FL — A death investigation is underway at Port Everglades in Broward County. Miami Herald File The man fatally injured after being struck by a shipping container while working at Port Everglades Thursday night died from a “blunt head injury,” the Broward County Medical Examiner’s Office said Friday. In an email to the Miami Herald, the medical examiner listed “accident” as the manner of his death. The accident happened near the 2000 block of Southeast 42nd Street in Port Everglades, according to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies and fire rescue responded to the port after receiving a call around 8:36 p.m. about an unresponsive man. The worker died while loading a container on a ship in Southport, according to Herald news partner CBS4 Miami. The Broward County Sheriff’s Office is investigating. Officials haven’t said how the accident occurred, nor have they disclosed the man’s identity.

Chico construction worker killed in cement truck explosion on Friday

CHICO, Calif. — A construction worker was killed at a construction site in Chico on Friday due to a reported cement truck explosion. Police said they received a 911 call at around 3:50 p.m. about an explosion and injury at a construction project off of Boeing Avenue, near Hiller Avenue, in northern Chico. When emergency personnel arrived, the CPD said they found an unresponsive man near a concrete/cement pumping truck. They said the man sustained multiple fatal injuries as a result of an explosion caused by a clogged pipe from the truck. The Butte County Coroner’s Office identified the man as 44-year-old Jesse Goforth of Auburn, California.

Illinois grain worker killed when Trackmobile is struck by train

STONINGTON, Ill. — A 69-year-old worker at a grain elevator was killed and a Norfolk Southern train was derailed after a collision between the train and a Trackmobile on Friday. WAND-TV reports the employee of the Legacy Grain Cooperative was operating the railcar moving equipment when it crossed into the path of the oncoming NS train, which was moving four empty railcars, according to Christian County Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp. The grain worker was pronounced dead at the scene. The victim was identified on Saturday by the Christian County Coroner’s Office as Stephen J. Jordan of Moweaqua, Ill

1 person dead after Lancaster County bulldozer accident

LANCASTER, Pa. — An incident with a bulldozer in West Cocalico Township left one person dead Monday afternoon. The coroner was called to the 600 block of Mount Airy Road and Millpond Drive in Lancaster County around 2 p.m. According to on-scene officers, two men were cutting trees in a nearby ravine when a bulldozer rolled down the hill, crushing and killing one of the men. It is unclear at this time what caused the accident. Additionally, it is unknown what company the worker was with.

Worker dies after forklift flips at North Carolina construction site

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (WNCN) – A worker in Wake Forest died Monday in an industrial incident involving a forklift, the town’s public information officer confirmed. The man died after the forklift he was operating rolled while he was working in the 10000 block of Star Road, according to Public Information Officer Bill Crabtree. It happened just before 6 p.m. The man has not been identified, and authorities have not released information about the scene, which Crabtree said is under construction.

Multi-vehicle wreck kills log truck driver in Rankin County

RANKIN COUNTY, Miss. (WLBT) – A highway wreck involving four vehicles killed a log truck driver in South Rankin County Thursday morning. According to the Mississippi Highway Patrol, at about 9:35 a.m., multiple drivers heading east on Highway 18 near Puckett were in the process of coming to a stop behind a trash hauler. A tractor-trailer log truck crashed into the back of another tractor-trailer that had come to a near stop behind the line of cars. Log truck driver 33-year-old Christopher E. Raynes of Mt. Olive, sustained fatal injuries in the collision. The other tractor-trailer driver, Koron Meeks, 30, of Raymond, was uninjured.

Car hauler’s improper u-turn kills log truck driver

Nacogdoches, Texas — A log truck driver was killed in a wreck involving an improper u-turn in Texas on Wednesday. The accident happened on October 19th in Nacogdoches, Texas on Highway 59, otherwise known as Stallings Dr. According to KETK News, a car hauler was heading south on Highway 59 “when it attempted to make a U-turn from an improper lane.” An oncoming log truck driven by 61-year-old Kenneth Walker then attempted evasive maneuvers to avoid a collision with the car hauler, but collided with the car hauler anyway. A pickup truck “also traveling south bound was struck by logs and the truck tractor.” Walker was pronounced dead at the scene.

Bethlehem man dies after trash truck mishap in Berks

HEREFORD TWP., Pa. — A Bethlehem man picking up trash died on the job in Berks County early Friday morning. Scott L. Fichter stopped his trash truck at the top of the Schultz Road cul-de-sac in Hereford Township around 5:30 a.m. to pick up a customer’s trash, according to the Pennsylvania State Police. PSP investigators said they believe Fichter failed to put the truck in park, and it began to roll forward. As he tried to get back into the truck, he was pulled beneath the vehicle and run over, the police said. The truck continued rolling downhill and across a lawn before coming to rest against a house about a block west of the border between Berks and Montgomery counties. An ambulance rushed Fichter, 55, to Lehigh Valley Hospital near Allentown, where he died of his injuries about 45 minutes later, according to the Lehigh County coroner.

Tanker Truck Driver Killed In Multi-Vehicle Crash On Interstate 75

Findlay, OH — A fatal crash involving multiple semis and a car closed a stretch of Interstate 75 just south of Findlay on Friday morning. The crash happened on northbound I-75 a little north of State Route 235 at approximately 2:44 a.m. The Ohio State Highway Patrol says their preliminary investigation shows that traffic was backing up due to a vehicle fire ahead. The Highway Patrol says traffic was backed up for about four miles when a semi being driven by Jagdeep Singh Chohan, 33, of Brampton, Ontario crashed into the back of a tanker truck being operated by Robert A. Borer Jr., 55, of Toledo, that was stopped due to the backed up traffic. The impact forced the tanker truck forward into a semi and a car. The Highway Patrol says Borer Jr. suffered fatal injuries at the scene.

Semi truck driver killed in secondary crash in traffic backup from 60 vehicle pileup in Oregon

Brownsville, OR — A semi truck driver was killed in a secondary crash following a massive pileup on I-5 in Oregon on Wednesday. Oregon State Police say that California-based semi truck driver Kirpal Singh, 63, died in a chain reaction crash on I-5 on Wednesday afternoon. The initial pileup occurred around 8 a.m on October 19 on southbound I-5 at mile marker 216 near Brownsville, Oregon. The crash occurred amid low visibility conditions caused by fog and wildfire smoke and ultimately involved 45 cars and 15 to 20 trucks. One person was killed in this crash.

Truck driver dies in Tuesday crash on I-85

Blacksburg, SC — Cherokee County Coroner Dennis Fowler has identified a truck driver killed Tuesday afternoon in a single vehicle collision on I-85 near Blacksburg. Joseph Ryan Taylor, 43, of Lake Wylie, S.C. died at Spartanburg Medical Center at 2:32 p.m. following the crash. Fowler said Taylor was the driver and lone occupant of a tractor trailer rig

‘He was a great guy’: Wife IDs customs officer killed at gun range, says he was loving husband

HIALEAH, Fla. – The wife of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer shot and killed at a west Miami-Dade gun range spoke to Local 10 News Thursday, remembering him as a loving husband and stepfather. Sources said Jorge Arias, 40, a firearms instructor for the agency, was accidentally shot in the chest during a training exercise at the county-owned Trail Glades Range just before 10:30 a.m. Wednesday. Miami-Dade police confirmed Thursday that the shooting involved a second officer. Sources told Local 10 News the shooting happened during a “building search training,” and a fellow instructor shot Arias in the chest during a demonstration.

Man killed in Fairmount was the victim of a botched carjacking

PHILADELPHIA, PA (WPVI) — A man who was shot and killed in the Fairmount section of Philadelphia was a pizza delivery driver who was the victim of a botched carjacking, police say. The shooting happened around 8:30 p.m. Thursday in the 2700 block of Swain Street. Investigators say they found a 26-year-old man on the street with at least one gunshot wound to the chest. He was pronounced dead at the scene.According to police, the victim – a driver for nearby Fairmount Pizza – got out of his vehicle to get pizzas from his trunk. Police say that’s when a 15-year-old suspect jumped in the car. The delivery driver tried to get his cell phone before the suspect took off. That’s when the delivery driver, who police say has a permit to carry, shot the suspect in the leg. The suspect then shot the driver in the chest, killing him.

Store clerk killed by gunman in West Ridge

Chicago, IL — Chicago police are searching for the gunman who they say shot and killed a convenience store clerk, Salim Khamo. 66 during an attempted robbery Monday night in Chicago’s West Ridge neighborhood. According to police, the suspect fled the scene after the shooting without any stolen goods — but left a key piece of evidence behind. At about 9:50 p.m. Monday, a male clerk, 66, was working behind the counter at J&K Food and Liquor at 6320 N. Western Ave. when he was approached by an armed suspect who demanded money from the register, Chicago police said. When the clerk refused to comply, the suspect shot the clerk in the chest, a report from the Chicago Sun-Times said.

Truck driver killed in Tuesday night crash in southwest Kansas

RUSH CENTER, Kan. (WIBW) – A truck driver was killed Tuesday night in a crash in Pawnee County in southwest Kansas, authorities said. According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, a 2010 Toyota passenger car was northbound on US-183 and was passing a 2000 International semitrailer in a no-passing zone when a southbound vehicle went into the west ditch to avoid a head-on collision with the Toyota. The semitrailer went partially onto the east shoulder and the driver lost control of the vehicle, which over-corrected, crossed the roadway and entered the west ditch, where it came to rest on its top facing southwest. The driver of the semi, Nathaniel J. Dunlay, 40, of Torrington, Wyo., was pronounced dead at the scene. The patrol said Dunlay wasn’t wearing a seat belt.

Deputies release name of truck driver killed in crash involving school bus

MINGO COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) – The Mingo County Sheriff’s Office has released the identity of the man killed Tuesday morning during a fiery crash involving a school bus. The Chief Deputy says Thomas Francis from Omar, West Virginia died in the crash that happened around 7 a.m. Tuesday along King Coal Highway near Mingo Central. Chief Deputy Allen Mounts said bystanders tried to rescue Francis after his truck caught on fire, but they were unable to get to him. Seven students and the bus driver were onboard the school bus when it collided with the service truck. The impact of the crash sent the school bus on its side and the truck burst into flames, officials say.

Cement Truck Driver Killed in Crash

Russell, KS — A driver was killed in a single vehicle crash involving a cement truck. According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, a 2005 Mack Cement Truck driven by 28-year-old Mason David Roach of Great Bend was headed north on US Highway 281 in Russell County. The truck drove off the left side of the road into the a ditch. The cement truck crashed through a private fence, went airborne, and rolled an unknown amount of times. Roach, who was not buckled up, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Pittsburgh truck driver killed in second fatal crash on Route 77 near Spartansburg

CORRY, PA — A Pittsburgh man was killed Wednesday morning when the truck he was driving crashed on a curve near Spartansburg, according to the Pennsylvania State Police. The driver in Wednesday’s accident, Richard F. Darges, 61, was pronounced dead at the scene following a crash that happened at about 8:15 a.m. on Route 77 in Sparta Township, just west of Spartansburg, state police in Corry reported. According to troopers, Darges was driving a Freightliner that was traveling north on Routes 77/89 when he lost control on a curve where Route 77 continues east at an intersection with Route 89 and Canadohta Lake Road. The truck went into a grassy area and overturned on its driver’s side, state police reported.

Construction worker hit, killed on Indian Head Highway job site in Md.

Fort Washington, MD — A construction worker was hit and killed by a motorist late Tuesday night on Indian Head Highway in Maryland, police officials said. The worker, 56-year-old Huerta Melendez of Montgomery Village, was on a job site in a closed section of the roadway in Fort Washington, Prince George’s County police said. The driver hit several traffic cones and struck Melendez, before crashing into a median and a second vehicle. Melendez died at the scene, police said.

Two road workers killed while setting up construction barrels

BURLINGTON IA – Two road workers were killed in western Illinois on Tuesday while setting up construction barrels near Burlington, IA. They were walking behind their stationary pickup truck and trailer in a work zone on the Great River Bridge of U.S Route 34 westbound as it crosses the Mississippi River. An SUV traveling westbound reportedly struck a barrel and continued on, striking the two. Killed were 20-year-old Pearson J. Franklin of New London, IA and 35-year-old Andrew Whitcomb of Burnside, IL.

Bouncer fatally shot at Uptown Minneapolis bar identified as St. Paul man

Minneapolis, MN — A St. Paul man was shot to death Sunday night at a bar in Minneapolis’ Uptown entertainment district, officials say. Gabriel Victor Mendoza-Cordova, 23, was working security at Fire House Uptown at Lagoon and Fremont avenues about 11:45 p.m. when he was shot, according to a GoFundMe page set up by his sister. Police who responded to the scene found Mendoza-Cordova lying in the back of the bar and administered first aid, but he died before paramedics arrived, a news release issued by the Minneapolis Police Department said. The Hennepin County medical examiner reported Mendoza-Cordova died of a gunshot wound to his neck.

Texas officer killed by passing car while providing backup in DWI investigation

Carrollton, Texas — A police officer in Carrollton, Texas, died Tuesday night after a passing vehicle hit his squad car as he was helping another officer in a DWI investigation. Carrollton police announced early Wednesday, “We lost a beloved officer in the line of duty overnight.” Officer Steve Nothem was “backing up” another officer in a highway DWI investigation in the westbound lanes of the President George Bush Turnpike “when he was hit by a passing driver,” just before 10:30 p.m., police said. Nothem was in his vehicle when it was struck, police said.

Potato truck driver killed in multi-vehicle crash that closed highway near Jerome for 9 hours

Jerome, ID — On Monday, at approximately 6:23 a.m., the Idaho State Police is investigating a multi-vehicle crash on U.S. 93 at milepost 66 north of Jerome. A 2011 Honda Pilot driven by a 41-year-old female from Hansen was traveling south on US 93 and attempted a left turn at the intersection of 750 N. Road. A 2010 Honda CRV driven by an 18-year-old male from Shoshone crashed into the rear of the Honda Pilot. The Honda CRV became disabled in the intersection of the travel lanes. A short time after, a 2011 Peterbilt straight truck hauling potatoes, driven by a 76-year-old male from Jerome, collided into the right side of the Honda CRV. The driver of the Peterbilt succumbed to his injuries on scene.

Man stabbed to death at Valero station on Airline Highway, Baton Rouge police say

Baton Rouge, LA Amid an uptick in Baton Rouge homicides that comes after a summer far less violent than last year, a man was stabbed to death at a Valero gas station on Airline Highway — a killing an employee said stemmed from a late-night argument that escalated into violence in the store’s parking lot. Police and EMS responded to the station at the intersection of Airline Highway and North Foster Drive just after midnight Monday, where they found Anibal Antonio Galeas Mancia, 39, suffering from stab wounds, BRPD spokesman Lt. Don Coppola said.

One thought on “Weekly Toll: Killed At Work”
  1. Jordan,
    Can’t make this shit up… I never heard of a cement truck explosion. I know lines get clogged though so maybe the pressure built up in the tank.

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