Weekly Toll

How workers died last week. Falls, shootings, forklifts, snow removal, hit-and-runs  ….. 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.

NIPSCO worker dies while working on substation in Cedar Lake, Indiana

Cedar Lake, IN — Police in northwest Indiana are investigating a death at a NIPSCO electric substation. A contractor working for Ryan Construction was killed at the Hanover Station in Cedar Lake on Friday morning. Police are investigating what led to the worker’s death. Ryan J. Semla was a 36-year-old LaPorte resident, according to an obituary posted by family and a GoFundMe page started by a family friend.

Loudoun Co. man dies in workplace accident after fall from moving truck

Leesburg, VA — A workplace accident in Leesburg, Virginia, ended with a man dead on Saturday, authorities said. A statement from the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office said Heidy Ricardo Lopez Rivas — 40, of Manassas — fell off the back of a moving truck. The sheriff’s office said Rivas died at the scene.

Worker dead in Brooklyn forklift incident: NYPD

RED HOOK, Brooklyn, NY — A 31-year-old man died while working in Brooklyn on Thursday, police said. He was standing on a forklift while removing a pallet of doors near Columbia and Creamer streets, an NYPD spokeswoman said. The pallet of doors fell onto him. Another man was operating the forklift at the time of the deadly incident. Police and medical workers responded to the scene around 5:35 p.m. after a 911 call. The man was unconscious and unresponsive when officers arrived. EMS pronounced the man dead at the scene.

Mobile, Ala., police officer killed in line of duty

Mobile, AL — A Mobile, Ala., police officer was shot and killed in the line of duty Tuesday night (Feb. 20), AL.com reported. The officer has been identified as Justin Billa, who was killed while investigating a homicide at a home in the Toulminville neighborhood. The shooting stemmed from an incident earlier Tuesday when police found a woman dead and quickly identified her ex-husband, Robert Hollie, as a person of interest in her killing, the website reported. When officers arrived at his home, Mobile Police Chief Lawrence Battiste said they told Hollie to come out. Instead, Hollie began shooting and struck Billa.

Spartanburg County employee killed at recycling center, coroner says

SPARTANBURG, S.C. — An Upstate man was killed while working at a recycling center Wednesday in Spartanburg County, according to Coroner Rusty Clevenger with Spartanburg County coroner’s Office. It happened just before 3:30 p.m. at the Valley Falls Recycling Collection Center on Valley Falls Road, Clevenger said. According to Clevenger, Michael Harrison Cooper, 65, of Spartanburg died after being trapped between a large trash container and a cement wall. Cooper is a Spartanburg County employee, Clevenger said. According to Clevenger, OSHA has been notified.

Buffalo city worker killed while assisting with snow removal

Buffalo, New York — A public works employee was killed on Wednesday while assisting the ongoing snow removal efforts in Buffalo, New York, in an accident that local officials called “heartbreaking” as they confirmed that an investigation into the death is underway. The employee, who has not been identified, worked for the city for decades, said Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown at a news conference where he was joined by police commissioner Joseph Gramaglia. The city worker who was killed during snow removal on Wednesday has been identified as 67-year-old Michael Muscarella. Based on a preliminary investigation, at around 11:15 a.m., the employee was fatally struck by a high lift vehicle that was shoveling snow and hit him while driving in reverse, according to Gramaglia. The worker was dead at the scene, the police commissioner said. Authorities are conducting an accident investigation to determine exactly what occurred leading up to the employee’s death, which will include an inspection of the vehicles involved, the police commissioner said. In Buffalo, ongoing snow removal operations have enlisted help from nearly 200 “pieces of heavy equipment” to clear away snow in south Buffalo and move it elsewhere, Gramaglia explained.

Kansas company under OSHA investigation after worker died in Spring Hill

Spring HIll, KS — The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the death of a construction worker Monday in Spring Hill, officials said. Officials believe the worker, who was employed by Geotechnology Inc., was hit by equipment while conducting soil bearings around 3:30 p.m. at a work site near West 201st Terrace and Baker Street, according to Rhonda Burke, a spokesperson for OSHA.

Chevron gas station employee killed during attempted robbery in Antioch

ANTIOCH, Calif. (KRON) – A Chevron gas station employee was killed during an attempted robbery early Saturday morning, according to Antioch Police Department. At around 2:05 a.m., APD received a call from an employee at the Chevron gas station convenience store that reported a person had been shot. Antioch police officers arrived on scene and found a male lying on the convenience store floor suffering from a gunshot wound to the head, according to police. Officers administered first-aid while waiting for paramedics, however the victim ultimately succumbed to his injuries at the scene. Officers later determined the victim was a gas station employee-clerk and was held at gunpoint during what appeared to be a ‘botched robbery’, police said.

Worker, 27, dies in fall from Staten Island ShopRite building

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — A 27-year-old male succumbed to his injuries Wednesday afternoon after a fall or jump from a building in New Dorp, police said. On Wednesday, at approximately 2:35 p.m., police responded to a 911 call of an aided individual at 2656 Hylan Blvd., a spokesperson for the NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner of Public Information told the Advance/SILive.com.Police said officers observed the 27-year-old male unconscious and unresponsive upon arrival. The male had injuries indicative of falling from an elevated position, police said. EMS responded and pronounced the aided male deceased on scene. The NYPD official did not say if suicide is suspected. The identity of the 27-year-old has not yet been released pending family notification. Karen O’Shea, spokeswoman for ShopRite, told the Advance/SILive.com the 27-year-old was an employee of ShopRite for five and a half years.

Worker dies after being stabbed at gas station near Garner; suspect in custody

GARNER, N.C. (WTVD) — A worker died after being stabbed inside the bathroom of a gas station on Friday in Johnston County. It happened about 5:30 p.m. at the Murphy Express on highway 42 off I-40 just west of Clayton. The suspect was found hiding in the woods not far from the crime scene.

Cleveland firefighter dies after being struck in alleged hit-and-run on I-90; suspect charged

CLEVELAND, OH — A 40-year-old Cleveland man identified as Leander Bissell has been arrested after allegedly striking and killing a Cleveland firefighter with his car on I-90 East at Martin Luther King Jr. Drive Saturday night. The city identified the firefighter as Cleveland Division of Fire veteran Johnny Tetrick, who served in the department for over 27 years. The incident happened around 8:15 p.m. when Tetrick was assisting crews with a rollover crash when a car drove around the emergency vehicles and hit him. According to the Bratenahl Village Police Department, the driver did not stop and fled the scene at a high speed.

Deputy killed by suspected drunk driver during traffic stop, officials say

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. (WWSB/Gray News) – A deputy in Florida was killed Tuesday night when he was hit by a suspected drunk driver during a traffic stop, according to Florida Highway Patrol. The deputy with the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office has not yet been named, but officials said he was just 23 years old. FHP said the deputy was conducting a traffic stop on Interstate 75 in Punta Gorda around 8:45 p.m. Tuesday and pulled over a car. While the deputy and the driver were standing on the shoulder of I-75, an oncoming Jeep veered from the left-hand lane, crossed the center and right lanes, and drove onto the shoulder. The Jeep then crashed into the deputy’s patrol vehicle, which then crashed into the car that was pulled over, hitting the deputy and the other driver. The deputy and other driver were taken to the hospital, where the deputy later died. The other driver suffered serious injuries, FHP said.

Walmart supervisor opens fire on Virginia co-workers, killing 6 and himself

CHESAPEAKE, Va., Nov 23 (Reuters) – A Walmart supervisor armed with a handgun and several magazines of ammunition opened fire on fellow employees in a Virginia store, killing six people before turning the gun on himself in a break room, witnesses and police said on Wednesday. The country’s latest mass shooting on Tuesday night shook the town of Chesapeake, about 200 miles (320 km) south of Washington, and comes on the heels of last weekend’s massacre in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where a gunman killed five at an LBGTQ nightclub. The Virginia gunman, identified as Andre Bing, 31, of Chesapeake, said nothing as he began firing on workers gathered before their overnight shift, according to two employees who were in the break room, where the rampage ended and Bing shot himself. The dead included Fernando Chavez-Barron, 16, and 70-year-old Randy Blevins, who was planning to retire within the year, a cousin wrote on Facebook. The others were Kellie Pyle, 52, Lorenzo Gamble, 43, and Randy Blevins, 70, all from Chesapeake, and Tyneka Johnson, 22, of neighboring Portsmouth. Authorities say they were investigating what may have motivated Bing, an hourly employee who supervised an overnight shift and had worked for the company since 2010.

Former LGBTQ nightclub employee remembers friend killed during mass shooting

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KMGH) — Greg Charter, a former employee at Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is mourning the loss of his friends and former co-workers. Charter said his friend Daniel Davis Aston was strong and proud. Aston is the first victim who has been identified in the deadly shooting. The 28-year-old was working as a bartender late Saturday night when a gunman opened fire inside the club. Five people were killed and more than two dozen others were injured, authorities said.

Utility worker killed after being hit by teen driving SUV in rural Sauk Co.

SAUK COUNTY, Wis. — Authorities say a 25-year-old man, Zane Reilly, is dead after being hit by an SUV driven by a teenager on Highway 23 in rural Sauk County Tuesday morning. Dispatchers received a call at about 7:44 a.m. Tuesday about the crash, which happened on the southbound side of Highway 23 south of Valley View Road in the Township of Franklin, between Loganville and Plain. Authorities say the man was a utility worker who had been trying to offload equipment outside of his vehicle when he was hit by a 17-year-old girl driving a Toyota Highlander. After hitting the man, the girl’s SUV reportedly rolled over before coming to a stop in the middle of the southbound lane. More.

Construction Worker Killed as Car Crashes into Store

Hingham, MA — A 65-year-old construction worker was killed when a car crashed into an Apple store at Derby Street Shops at 92-98 Derby Street, Hingham, Mass, smashing windows, and injuring 20 others. Kevin Bradley, who worked for GMS Construction, was with a co-worker moving a barrier outside the store when the SUV struck him before the vehicle crashed into the building, according to the police report. The driver of the vehicle, Bradley Rein, 53, of Hingham, was arrested hours after his 2019 Toyota 4Runner barreled into the store Monday at 10:45 a.m. He has been charged with reckless homicide.
According to a police report, the driver’s left foot “got stuck on the accelerator” and could not stop the vehicle.

Bellevue officer dies after motorcycle struck by car

BELLEVUE, Wash. — Bellevue police Officer Jordan Jackson died in the hospital after he was struck by a car while riding a motorcycle on Monday morning. Bellevue Police Department Captain Landon Barnwell said the 34-year-old officer was traveling northbound on Bellevue Way on a motorcycle when a vehicle turned onto the road out of a parking lot, which the officer struck. Officer Jackson was taken to Harborview Medical Center with life-threatening injuries, while the occupants in the sedan were not injured, Barnwell said.

Meteorologist and pilot killed in helicopter crash in Charlotte, N.C.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV/Gray News) – Meteorologist Jason Myers and pilot Chip Tayag, who worked for Charlotte television station WBTV, were killed in a helicopter crash early Tuesday afternoon. The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the crash, which happened near Interstate 77 in south Charlotte.

Semi truck driver killed in western Minn. crash

GLENWOOD, Minn — The driver of semi truck was killed in a crash last week in western Minnesota. According to the Pope County Sheriff’s Office, dispatch received a 911 call shortly after 12:00 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 18. The caller reported a semi vs. pickup truck crash on County Rd. 18 near Selnes Rd., south of Glenwood, Minnesota. Authorities say the driver of the semi was 52-year-old Melanee McKale of Starbuck. McKale was pronounced dead at the scene.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Discover more from Confined Space

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading