Weekly Toll

Workers crushed in yet another trench collapse, caught in machinery, crushed under falling equipment, killed in explosions, falling from heights, burned in fires, shot, stabbed, electrocuted, and killed in traffic incidents.  Just a few of the ways 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.


1 dead after trench collapses in Smyrna neighborhood

SMYRNA, Ga. – One person is dead after a trench they were working in collapsed in on them, firefighters say. It happened a little before 4 p.m. in front of a home along Wells Drive SE near Chrysler Avenue SE in Smyrna. The Smyrna Fire Department says firefighters arrived to the scene to find the person fully buried. Additional crews from Smyrna and the Cobb County Fire and Emergency Services were quickly dispatched to the scene. Firefighters say they were not able to reach the man in time. Crews worked well into the evening in rainy conditions to recover the body.

31-year-old dad dies in accident at Battle Lumber in Wadley

WADLEY, Ga. – A 31-year-old father died this week in an apparent industrial accident at Battle Lumber in Wadley. The accident Wednesday claimed the life of Trenton Lewis, according to the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office. Lewis was from Metter, and a friend said he leaves behind a wife and two children. He was a wonderful father who worked hard for his family. said a family friend. He leaves behind two daughters, Charlie, who is 9, and Pruitt, who is 3. According to another friend, he was caught in a machine at the mill and pallet company, although that couldn’t be confirmed with the company and authorities.

MLGW worker identified after MPD said he fell from vehicle

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis, Light, Gas and Water has identified a worker after Memphis Police said the man fell from his vehicle and died. According to MPD, officers responded to a call about a man down about 10:20 a.m. Friday, Dec. 9, 2022, at Lamar Ave. and Tuggle Rd. in southeast Memphis. Investigators said they found a man who had fallen from his vehicle while working. He died on the scene, according to MPD. MLGW identified the worker as Michael Stewart, who worked as a troubleshooter and had been with the utility since 2001.

US postal worker fatally shot while delivering mail in Milwaukee, police say

MILWAUKEE, Wis. – A U.S. Postal Service employee was shot and killed while delivering mail in Milwaukee Friday night, police said. The incident took place on the city’s north side shortly before 6 p.m. The 44-year-old mail carrier was pronounced dead at the scene by the Milwaukee Fire Department. He had over 18 years of service. Police said the investigation is ongoing and they are being assisted by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the FBI. “The shooting death of a Milwaukee postal worker is alarming,” Mayor Cavalier Johnson said in a statement. “My thoughts are with the victim’s family and colleagues.” “The postal worker in this homicide was a public servant, which makes this crime even more disturbing. Criminals responsible for death and harm in our city must be held accountable.”

2 Pa. Firefighters Are Killed in Suspicious House Fire, Man Found Dead in Woods Nearby

West Penn Township, PA — Two volunteer firefighters in Pennsylvania succumbed to their injuries Wednesday evening after getting trapped inside a burning home in an incident authorities described as being suspicious. Another man — one of the two residents of the house — was found dead behind the West Penn Township residence, according to a press conference held Thursday. Assistant Fire Chief Zachary Paris, 36, and Marvin Gruber, 59, from Community Fire Company New Tripoli, responded to the blaze on Wednesday around 4 pm, believing someone was trapped inside the home. That information turned out to be false, officials said. Paris and Gruber fought to extinguish the fast-spreading flames, but got trapped inside the home. More than 100 other firefighters arrived on the scene, some of whom worked to rescue the men, but Paris and Gruber died later at a hospital. Two other firefighters were injured and one remains in intensive care, according to WNEP.

Construction worker dies in Bloomfield Township

Bloomfield Township, MI — A 22-year-old construction worker died in Bloomfield Township Wednesday, Dec. 7, when the boom lift he was standing on tipped over and he fell and hit his head on trees, according to the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The worker was installing new windows on a residential site, MIOSHA said. MIOSHA did not release further details on the worker’s identity or location in the township.

N.C. Sheriff’s Deputy Killed in Crash with Deer on Way to Call

WARRENTON, NC—Two Warren County Sheriff’s Office deputies, José Angel Deleon and Roy Carter Jr., died in unrelated incidents last week, Sheriff John Branche said in a Tuesday statement. On Dec. 4, at around 6 p.m., the Warren County 9-1-1 center was contacted regarding a traffic accident on U.S. 401, about a mile outside Warrenton, involving a WCSO patrol vehicle. Emergency units arrived to find the vehicle on fire with Deleon inside. The fire was extinguished, and the medical examiner pronounced Deleon deceased on the scene. Branche said Deleon was responding to an emergency call involving a firearm. Deleon, a Henderson resident, joined the Warren sheriff’s office in January of 2021. First Sgt. Christopher Knox, a Highway Patrol spokesman, said Deleon struck a deer in the roadway on his way to respond to the emergency call, traveled off the road to the right and struck a tree.

Texas DPS arrest suspect in fatal hit-and-run crash in Mills County

GOLDTHWAITE, Texas (KWTX) – The Texas Department of Public Safety has arrested the driver of the Toyota Tundra involved in the hit-and-run death of Patrick Morin, 61. Kerry Coats “KC” Kavanaugh, 38, has been charged with fail to stop and render aid (resulting in death) and is being held at the Mills County Jail. Troopers responded to the crash at 6:09 p.m. Dec. 10 on US 183 near Goldthwaite where the Morin was loading and securing a vehicle onto his tow truck. According to authorities, an unknown pickup truck failed to move over or slow down and struck the victim causing the truck to sustain damage and failed to stop and render aid. Morin was pronounced dead on the scene by Justice of the Peace, Kim Avants. Next of kin notification has been made.

Two Killed, Three Injured in Gas Well Explosion in San Augustine County, TX

San Augustine County, TX — December 5, 2022, two people were killed and three were injured following an explosion at an oil and gas well. Investigators said that the incident happened northeast of San Augustine at a well site located along FM 353. Initial investigations suggest there was a loose hydraulic line as workers attempted to “restart the old well.” This sparked an explosion, killing two workers. Three others were transported to area hospitals. Details say that Jaguar and E6 Oil & Gas were identified as companies involved. This and other details are unconfirmed at this time.

OSHA launches investigation into worker’s death at Fraser Shipyards

SUPERIOR, WI — The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has launched an investigation with C and L Contracting in connection with the death of a worker Monday at Fraser Shipyards. The incident occurred around 11:50 a.m. Monday. A 64-year-old man from Watertown, Wisconsin, was found dead at Fraser Shipyards after reportedly falling off a ship in dry dock. “Preliminary information is that an employee was standing on a railing in order to pull a tarp, and he slipped and fell, landing in the dry dock area,” said Scott Allen, regional director for public affairs and media relations with the U.S. Department of Labor. Lifesaving efforts were made, but the man was pronounced dead at the scene, according to a news release issued Monday by the Superior Police Department.

Utility worker dies in accident while trying to restore power, authorities say

HALIFAX, Vt. – Authorities in Vermont say a utility worker has died while working on downed power lines. WCAX reports the incident happened on Reed Hill Road in Halifax. According to Vermont State Police, 41-year-old Lucas Donahue was working to restore power after trees fell on electrical wires in the area. Investigators said Donahue was seriously injured and died at the scene. He was a worker with Green Mountain Power.

Highway worker killed in hit-and-run on I-66 in Fairfax County

Fairfax County, VA — A highway worker was killed in a hit-and-run after getting out of his vehicle to help people injured in another crash on Interstate 66 in Fairfax County, police said. Jonathan Franzell, 32, of Culpeper, Va., was killed in the crash, which occurred very early Thursday, said Corinne Geller, Virginia State Police spokeswoman. Attempts to contact Franzell’s family were unsuccessful. Geller offered this account of the events leading up to the fatal crash: Before Franzell was struck, two cars collided about 1 a.m. in the eastbound lanes of the interstate near Exit 60. The driver of one of the cars fled the area on foot. The other driver was taken to the hospital with minor injuries. Franzell, who was working in the area, saw the crash and told his supervisor that he was going to check on the drivers. A maroon vehicle drove through the work zone and struck Franzell while he was checking on the remaining driver. Franzell died at the scene from injuries suffered in the crash. Police are working to identify the driver, who fled the scene after the crash.

Jack in the Box employee killed in argument with customer in drive-thru

PHOENIX, AZ — A man in Arizona is accused of shooting at two Jack in the Box employees and killing one after an argument Thursday night. Phoenix police said officers were called to the fast-food restaurant located north of the downtown area at about 10:30 p.m. regarding a fight between two employees and a customer at the drive-thru. Authorities identified the customer involved as 29-year-old Christopher Candia. According to police, Candia fired multiple rounds into the restaurant during an argument, striking a man and woman at the drive-thru window. Arizona’s Family reports one of the employees, 19-year-old Jorge Valenzuela Ramirez, died a short time later at the hospital.

Passenger stabbed, killed Uber driver

New Orleans, LA – A New Orleans Police Department employee who was driving for Uber in her time off was stabbed to death by a passenger on Thursday, and a suspect has been arrested, authorities said. Yolanda Dillion, 54, picked up an Uber passenger in New Orleans and drove to the adjacent Jefferson Parish, according to parish Sheriff Joseph Lopinto. When the ride ended, the passenger “stabbed (Dillion) repeatedly before leaving the vehicle,” Lopinto’s office said Friday. Someone reported the stabbing to authorities just before 3 p.m. Thursday, and sheriff’s deputies found Dillion wounded in the vehicle in a hotel’s parking lot. She was taken to a hospital, where she died, the sheriff’s office said. A suspect was arrested at the hotel within hours of the stabbing, according to the sheriff’s office. The suspect admitted to stabbing Dillion, and has been charged with second-degree murder, the sheriff’s office said. Dillion was a financial budget analyst for the New Orleans Police Department, and worked as an Uber driver in her time off, Lopinto said.

Security guard shot and killed while trying to break up fight in Visalia, police say

VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) — An investigation is underway after a security guard was shot and killed at a Visalia bar. The Visalia Police Department says it happened just before 11 Thursday night at the Green Olive on Mineral King Avenue and Ben Maddox Way. Police say the security guard tried to break up a fight inside the bar. That’s when one person pulled out a gun and fired several shots inside the building, striking the guard in the chest. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Florida truck driver killed in Pottawattamie County wreck

Minden, IA – A Florida truck driver was killed in a Pottawattamie County wreck Friday morning. The Iowa State Patrol says authorities responded to the wreck around 9:30 a.m. on Interstate 80 westbound near Minden. The Patrol says a semi driven by 42-year-old Alain Hernandez Rodriguez of West Palm Beach entered the median and rolled on its side. Rodriguez was pronounced dead at the scene. A passenger in the truck – 23-year-old Jose Armando Valdez of Miami, Florida – was taken by ambulance to CHI Mercy in Council Bluffs with unknown injuries. The crash remains under investigation.

Cashier killed in shooting at Montgomery County gas station

Silver Spring, Md. — Police are investigating after an employee was killed in a shooting at a gas station in Montgomery County Thursday afternoon. According to a tweet from the Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD), the shooting happened just after 3 p.m. in the 11100 block of New Hampshire Avenue. Officers believe someone got into a fight with the clerk working the register, Ayalew Wondimu, 61, of Silver Spring, and shot him in the chest inside the gas station. While first responders attempted to save the gas station employee, he died from his injuries.

Miner Fatally injured in Accident at Doe Run Company’s Casteel Mine

Viburnum, MO (December 8, 2022) – An accident reported in Viburnum, Missouri, claimed the life of one person on Tuesday. On December 6, emergency crews were called to the scene of an accident at a mine. According to the Iron County Sheriff’s Office, a mining accident occurred at the Doe Run Company’s Casteel Mine. Details surrounding the accident are limited at this time. However, one person was fatally injured as a result of the incident. The circumstances surrounding this fatal workplace accident are currently under investigation. Our condolences are with the family of the victim who died as a result of this accident.

Crane worker dies at South Boston terminal

BOSTON, Mass. (WJAR) — A crane worker died while on the job in South Boston. Massachusetts State Police say a 58-year-old Methuen man was working on the Conley Terminal around 9:45 a.m. Friday morning when he either fell or collapsed from a platform. Officers say his jacket got caught on the edge of the platform and two of his co-workers pulled him back up. They tried to perform life-saving measures until first responders arrived. The man was pronounced dead at Tufts Medical Center. His name is not being released at this time. The victim was an employee of Capco Crane Hoist, the company hired to perform maintenance on one of the cranes. Massachusetts State Police and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are investigating.

Worker killed when crane overturns at Illinois oil refinery, Phillips 66 says

Madison County, IL — A worker was killed when a crane overturned at Wood River Refinery in Illinois, officials said. A crane overturned at an Illinois oil refinery, killing one employee and hurting another, officials said. A Phillips 66 spokesperson said the crane overturned at about 10:45 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 6, at the Wood River Refinery. A contract employee died of his injuries, and another contract worker was taken to a hospital with injuries, according to a company statement. The Madison County Coroner’s Office identified the worker who died as Chad L. Crabtree, a 47-year-old project manager from Owensboro, Kentucky. He worked for Sterett Crane & Rigging, a Kentucky-based subcontractor at the refinery, according to the coroner’s office. “During the operation of the crane, a mechanical malfunction occurred and caused the crane to overturn,” Coroner Stephen P. Nonn said. “The victim sustained head trauma.”

Family IDs worker killed in Fort Lauderdale I-95 crane collapse

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A worker injured in a crane collapse on Interstate 95 in Fort Lauderdale Monday morning died of his injuries later that night, authorities said Tuesday. A second injured worker was released from the hospital Tuesday. The workers were in a boom lift along the southbound lanes of the highway, near Broward Boulevard, and fell roughly 30 feet down to the highway after a crane, on unstable ground, lost a piling it was maneuvering and struck the bucket truck, causing it to crash down onto the pavement.
Family members identified the worker killed as 47-year-old Joseph Bienaime.

Driver killed in train vs. semi truck crash identified in Susanville

SUSANVILLE, Calif. — Susanville CHP has identified the semi truck driver killed in Tuesday’s crash as 64-year-old Mr. Togni of Goodyear, AZ. According to the CHP, around 3:46 p.m. Tuesday, Togni was driving a 2023 Freightliner with a 53′ box trailer eastbound on State Route 44 at an unknown speed. For unknown reasons, Togni failed to stop at the railroad crossing on SR-44 at the Feather Lake Railroad Crossing as a train was approaching. A 2014 GE Locomotive, operated by BNSF Railway collided with the front of the Freightliner. Togni suffered fatal injuries on scene as a result of the crash. The BNSF Railway crew members were uninjured.

Explosion, fire at Virginia Beach welding shop kills 2 people and a dog

Virginia Beach, VA — Two people and a dog died during an explosion that caused a fire Monday morning at Neptune Welding in Virginia Beach in the 1300 block of Virginia Beach Boulevard. Two people and a dog died on Monday morning after an explosion caused a fire at Neptune Welding in Virginia Beach. Capt. James Ingledue of the Virginia Beach Fire Department said that firefighters were dispatched to the scene in the 1300 block of Virginia Beach Boulevard at 11:12 a.m. Ingledue said a fuel storage tank exploded, which ignited the fire. “It’s just an unfortunate accident,” he said. No other buildings had any significant damage because of the fire, which took about 20 minutes to be put out.“There was a little bit of smoke damage to the (unit) next door and a little bit of damage to the structure of the wall — nothing that made it unsafe to enter,” Ingledue said. “The person that occupied the suite next door, all their tools, stock (and) everything is OK.” Victims have not been identified, but Ingledue said that they operated Neptune Welding. No one else was injured in the explosion.

Truck Driver Killed in Major Crash That Closed I-84 West For Hours

Hartford, CT — A major crash has closed Interstate 84 west on the Hartford and West Hartford line on Monday morning and multiple people have been transported to area hospitals. Troopers were advised of a crash involving a CT Transit bus and multiple other vehicles on I-84 west near exit 44 shortly before 5 a.m. According to state police, two tractor-trailers, a CT Transit bus, a postal truck and two passenger vehicles were involved in the crash. Multiple entrapments were reported.
Multiple people were transported to area hospitals by ambulance. A driver of one of the tractor-trailers, identified as 58-year-old Gary Carter, of Enfield, was killed in the crash, according to police.

Mohammad Pirzad Killed in 18-Wheeler Accident on I-80 near Potter, NE

Potter, NE — December 3, 2022, 42-year-old truck driver Mohammad Pirzad died in an 18-wheeler accident on Interstate 80 in Cheyenne County. Authorities say the incident happened Saturday night along I-80 near mile marker 40, a few miles outside Potter. Preliminary investigation suggests Pirzad was driving a semi-truck hauling a trailer of hazardous materials west on the highway when he allegedly left the road onto the grass shoulder for unknown reasons. A witness said the truck veered sharply back onto the road but overturned onto its passenger side, blocking the westbound lanes. Pirzad was pronounced dead at the scene. No other injuries were reported. The investigation is ongoing. No further information is available at this time.

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