Weekly Toll

How workers died last week. Electrocutions, tow trucks, railroad, crushed by materials, gas leaks, shootings, vehicles ….. 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.

Tragic farm accident claims life of 34-year-old Grand Ledge man

Grand Ledge, MI — A GoFundMe page has been started for the family of a 34-year-old Grand Ledge farmer who died Nov. 13 following a tragic farm accident. Michigan State Police report that Karson Catey was harvesting corn when the accident occurred, saying it appeared he was attempting to dislodge blockage from the head of the combine. He was discovered by a family member early Sunday morning. According to family friend Kelly Russell who started the GoFundMe page for the family, Catey was a seventh-generation farmer passionate about producing row crops and raising cattle.

Man Killed in Crash While Working on Maryland Route 210

Fort Washington. MD — A roadway worker is dead after a fatal crash involving two cars on Maryland Route 210, authorities say. The victim has been identified as Huerta Melendez, 56, of Montgomery Village, Maryland. He was working on a highway construction site at the time of the incident, according to police. Officers were called to Route 210, also known as Indian Head Highway, at Kerby Hill Road in the Fort Washington area for a crash involving a pedestrian at 11 p.m. on Tuesday. The crash occurred when a driver struck several traffic cones before striking Melendez who was standing in a closed section of the roadway. The driver then struck the roads median and a second car, the Prince George’s County Police said in a statement. When police arrived at the crash site, they found Melendez in the roadway. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

1 person killed as gas leak spurs evacuation of James Brown Arena

AUGUSTA, Ga. – An employee at the James Brown Arena died after discovering a gas leak Friday night that led to the evacuation of the building and cancellation of a concert. The management of the arena issued a statement Friday night that “It is with deep sadness that we report the death of one of our employees due to an accident occurring at James Brown Arena just prior to tonight’s Charlie Wilson & Friends show.” Richmond County Coroner Mark Bowen has identified the victim as 66 year old, Rex Broadwater, of Hephizbah. He was an employee at the arena. An employee told us Broadwater was a maintenance worker, and he discovered the leak. According to Coroner Bowen, he was pronounced dead at 8:15 p.m., and an autopsy will be scheduled. The leak was believed to be freon, but the matter is pending an investigation. According to authorities, the concert was canceled and the identity of the employee is being withheld pending family notification.

Second worker dies on Port Tampa Bay project

Tampa Bay, FL –A construction worker at the Port Tampa Bay project in Florida was crushed by building material and died Wednesday, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. The incident marks the second worker death at the project in the last three months. On Wednesday morning, a worker was clearing the way for a forklift that was transferring two bundles of lumber weighing 3,000 pounds each. When the operator hit the brakes, the bundles rolled forward. The first bundle clipped the worker, and the second rolled over and crushed him, the sheriff’s office said. The sheriff’s office and Port Security responded to the incident. The worker was pronounced dead at Tampa General Hospital. Another worker died earlier this fall during a construction mishap on the site. Early on Sept. 16, a concrete slab estimated to weigh 3,000 pounds broke off the seawall, fell and struck 27-year-old Brennen Wagoner, killing him.

LAX worker dies weeks after carbon dioxide exposure, family says

Los Angeles, CA — A Lomita man has died weeks after he was hospitalized and put in a medically induced coma for being exposed to carbon dioxide fumes at Los Angeles International Airport, his family said. Cris Abraham, 36, was one of four workers sickened in the Terminal 8 baggage area of the airport on Oct. 31. He was hospitalized and eventually placed in a coma because of repeated seizures that were making it difficult for his brain to heal, his family had told KTLA. Abraham was a pipefitter who leaves behind a wife and two children. He was part of a four-person crew doing repairs in an electrical vault in Terminal 8 the day of the hazmat incident. While he was on a ladder, repairing a leaky pipe, the fire suppression malfunctioned and flooded the room with carbon dioxide, the Los Angeles Fire Department said. Carbon dioxide displaces oxygen in a person’s bloodstream, which is what caused Abraham to go into cardiac arrest, officials said.

Deadly accident at Toyota plant

Georgetown, KY — GEORGETOWN, Ky. (LEX 18) — A man has died after an incident that took place at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky in Georgetown on Tuesday. Coroner Mark Sutton told LEX 18 that 39-year-old Diego Garcia was killed after a heavy object fell from a forklift at TMMK. Toyota officials say an “incident” at around 11:00 a.m. Tuesday resulted in the team member’s death.

Body of landscape worker found in Palm Beach County canal days after empty equipment located

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — The body of a landscape worker who had been reported missing Wednesday was found one day later in a Palm Beach County canal. Deputies said a John Deere Gator was found in a canal Tuesday and when workers pulled it out, the employee could not be located. They were reported missing Wednesday. A body believed to be the employee was found floating in the area Thursday, deputies said. The Gator may have rolled back over the employee before the other workers arrived, according to deputies.

One Killed, One Injured In Accident At Oil Company Facility Near Century

Century, FL — One person was killed and another suffered a non-life threatening injury in a reported explosion Friday afternoon near Century. Escambia County Public Safety Director Eric Gilmore told NorthEscambia.com that it happened at an oil company facility in an isolated area about a mile off Fannie Road south of the Florida-Alabama state line. Gilmore confirmed that one person suffered a fatal injury, and one person was being transported to an area hospital by Escambia County EMS.

DOTD worker killed in attack on Interstate 10, suspected attacker fatally shot by WBR deputies

Baton Rouge, LA — A state department of transportation motorist assistance patrol unit employee is dead and so is the man who authorities say attacked him during a bizarre incident on Interstate 10 in Port Allen just before noon on Sunday. State Police Trooper Christian Reed says West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Deputies were the first to respond. “Upon arrival, deputies encountered the suspect actively attacking the MAP unit employee. Responding deputies engaged the suspect with gunfire, ultimately stopping the threat,” said Reed. A witness told a Baton Rouge TV station the DOTD worker was stabbed. Reed says responding deputies shot the suspect as the attack was ongoing. “The MAP unit employee and suspect were both transported to a local hospital, where they were pronounced deceased shortly after their arrival,” said Reed. The MAP roadside assistance worker has been identified in media reports as Darrell Guillory, a retired Baton Rouge police officer. Reed says State Police is the lead investigating agency.

Family grieving loss of Omaha man electrocuted on the job

OMAHA, Neb. — A family is grieving the loss of 31-year-old Raymond Sexton Jr. after he was electrocuted on the job. According to a police report, witnesses told police Sexton accidentally touched a power line on Nov. 1. He was on the job for the company Autographix — they were working on the Open Door Mission property. Sexton was rushed to the hospital in critical condition, but later died from his injuries. Federal regulators with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration said they’re investigating.

Worker crushed by trains in South Bay

SOUTH BAY, Fla. (CBS12) — A railroad worker was killed after being crushed between two train cars in South Bay on Thursday morning. Palm Beach County Fire Rescue said the incident happened on Miami Canal Road near Rogers Road around 6:55 a.m. The worker was crushed between two train cars during train hook up, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. The victim’s name has not been released.

New York truck driver killed in I-95 crash in Baltimore County

WHITE MARSH, Md. — A New York man was struck and killed Saturday morning on Interstate 95 in Baltimore County, according to Maryland State Police. State police said troopers were called around 7:20 a.m. to I-95 south in the White Marsh area, where there was a tractor-trailer parked on the right shoulder. Police said Joseph Russell Thomas II, 52, of New York, was wearing a fluorescent vest and was trying to help another truck driver connect his tractor-trailer to his truck. Police said a car crossed the solid white line, struck the tractor-trailer and Thomas. Thomas was taken to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, where he died.

Community mourning death of RV store employee killed in Cochise County shooting

COCHISE COUNTY, Ariz. (KVOA) — The small Cochise County community of Whetstone, just outside Huachuca City, is mourning the tragic shooting of two employees at the Desert RV store off Highway 90. The shooting happened just after 5 p.m. on Monday. The Cochise County Sheriff’s Office said a disabled veteran named Bruce Alvin Hansberry was armed with an AR-15 and opened fire on a group of employees. An employee named Robert Lizarraga, 47, was killed and an 18-year-old employee Jordan Barajas was injured, and air lifted to a Tucson hospital. Barajas’ current condition is unknown.

Man dies in accident at grain facility

PETTISVILLE, OH — A man died here Wednesday in an accident at Pettisville Grain Co., 18251 Fulton County Road DE. Attempts Wednesday to obtain his name were unsuccessful. The Wauseon Fire Department was called to the scene along with the Archbold-German Township Fire Department and Ridgeville Township Fire Department. According to Ridgeville Township Fire Chief Dan Benecke, the main died during an accident in a grain bin. His department was called to the scene because it has grain rescue equipment, but this turned into a recovery effort as the man is believed to have died in the accident much earlier.

Pa. sanitation worker shot and killed on the job identified

Philadelphia, PA –A sanitation worker, who was shot several times and killed while on the job Friday morning, has been identified. The 35-year-old worker revealed to be Ikeem Johnson was shot and killed outside of the Lincoln High School campus in Philadelphia, according to 6ABC. Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw confirmed the suspect in a COVID-19 mask and a “blue Dickie’s-style outfit” approached the passenger side of the sanitation truck and shot the victim after he got out of the vehicle, 6ABC reported. “Almost immediately upon exiting the truck the offender shot the victim multiple times,” Outlaw recently said at a news conference that happened near the scene of the crime.

Florida motel worker shot, killed by guest who tried to shoot another but gun jammed

Orlando, FL — A Florida motel employee was shot and killed by a guest who later turned the gun on himself when confronted by officers, police said. Officers responded to a shooting at the Siesta Motel in Titusville around 11 a.m. Wednesday, FOX 35 Orlando reports. When they arrived, they found a man who was shot sitting in a courtyard with another employee. Officers say that man died a short time later. The suspect allegedly attempted to shoot the other employee when his gun jammed, and she was able to run away.

Tow truck driver killed in rollover crash on I-44

Joplin, MO — Joplin police have released the name of a tow truck driver who was killed in a rollover crash Tuesday morning on Interstate 44 east of Range Line Road. Bradley E. Skaggs, 18, of Lanagan, was pronounced dead at the scene of the 9:20 a.m. accident by the Newton County coroner. Police said Skaggs was thrown from the tow truck he was driving when the vehicle left the road and rolled onto its top in a ditch.

Grand Prairie officer killed in line of duty after losing control in chase, police say

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas — A North Texas police officer was killed Monday night after pursuing a vehicle with a fake paper license plate, according to the Grand Prairie Police Department (GPPD). According to GPPD, at around 10:45 p.m. Monday, officer Brandon Paul Tsai was near the intersection of SW 3rd Street and Pioneer Parkway when he saw a vehicle with a fake paper license plate. Tsai attempted to stop the vehicle when the suspect immediately fled, police said. During the pursuit, Tsai lost control of his squad car, GPPD said in a news release. Tsai rear-ended a squad car during the pursuit, losing control and hitting a light pole. The 32-year-old was taken to Methodist Dallas Medical Center, where he died from his injuries.

Twin Falls man killed in workplace accident

TWIN FALLS, Idaho — A 31-year-old Twin Falls man died after a load of supplies fell on him at a Twin Falls County landscaping supply business, the coroner said Monday afternoon. Brett Eldon Daley, 31, was an employee at The Rock Yard on E. 3900 N Road. Twin Falls County Coroner Gene Turley said he died at the scene of the accident, which occurred at about 10:45 a.m. Monday.

Orange County Sheriff’s Office releases name of tugboat worker found dead

Orange County, TX — An autopsy is scheduled for this week to determine the cause of death of a tugboat worker whose body was found this week in Orange County. Crewmembers aboard the vessel alerted law enforcement of the death at approximately 5 p.m. Monday in the 19000 block of Mansfield Ferry Road. The deceased was initially only identified as a white male by law enforcement, pending notification of next of kin. On Tuesday afternoon, police released his name: Glenn Edward Dupree, 46, of Beaumont. Orange County Sheriff’s Captain Joey Jacobs said the man did not die of natural causes.

Suspect detained after deadly shootout at Ariz. business

TUCSON, Ariz. – Arizona sheriff’s deputies took a suspect into custody after what they called an “unprovoked” shooting at a store selling recreational vehicles. Cochise County Sheriff’s deputies responded to reports of a shooting around 5:15 p.m. Monday at Desert RV in Whetstone. They say the suspect, a military veteran, came into the business with two AR-15 rifles and opened fire, prompting the store owners to fire back. The suspect shot two employees before he fled into the desert. One was killed, while the other was seriously injured, KOLD reports. The deceased was identified as 47-year-old Robert Lizarraga, of Sierra Vista.

Employee dies at Peco Foods in Pocahontas

POCAHONTAS, Ark.  – The Randolph County sheriff’s office is investigating the death of Peco Foods employee Travis Redwine, 35, at the company’s truck shop in Pocahontas. Chief deputy Tim McComas said officers were dispatched to the scene around 4:10 a.m. Monday. He said Redwine was working on a forklift and “got caught under it.” “It apparently got on him, he was under it, and it moved – he was the only one around it,” McComas said.

Man hit, killed by car while on the job in Tulsa County

TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) — A man died in a car accident in Tulsa County early Monday morning, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. Troopers say the incident happened near South 209th West Avenue and U.S. 412 near Sand Springs just before 6 a.m. this morning. Forty-four-year-old pedestrian Clarence Bond Jr. was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver in the car was uninjured. Bond was an employee of American Waste Control and was said to be working his shift when he was hit.

Chicago shooting: Tow truck driver shot, killed on Near West Side ID’d, officials say

CHICAGO, IL — A tow truck driver was killed after getting caught in crossfire on the Near West Side Sunday night, Chicago police said. Police said as a 49-year-old man was driving a tow truck heading westbound, two vehicles began shooting at each other in the 1900-block of West Fulton Street around 10:45 p.m. The medical examiner later identified him as Hector Negron. Caught in between them, Negron was hit in the left armpit and crashed into a bus stop pole at the intersection of Fulton and Damen. Colleague Edwin Rivera told ABC7 he’s known Negron for 20 years, but he had only been working at ASAP Towing for two weeks. “This guy is almost 50 years old and one of the most tremendous guys, stand up guys,” Rivera said.

Security guard killed in Chicago-area shopping mall shooting

Deleted: CALUMET CITY, Ill. — A security guard was fatally shot inside a Chicago-area shopping mall on Wednesday, police said. Two men tried to rob a jewelry store at the mall but were met by the security guard, police said. The robbers then pulled out weapons and fire several rounds. The shooting occurred just after noon at River Oaks Center in Calumet City. The guard was transported to a hospital, where he later died. About 20 people were inside the mall at the time of the shooting and police were working to interview them, Calumet City spokesman Sean Howard said. Family identified the man killed as 57-year-old Norman Thomas, a father and grandfather they described as “full of life.”


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