Weekly Toll

Last week, workers were electrocuted, killed in explosions, a coal mine, shootings, falls, fires and traffic incidents. On average, over 100 workers are killed every week in the United States due to traumatic injuries suffered at work. More than 20 times as many die from occupational diseases, many due to exposure to hazardous substances many years before they died. 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. Nevertheless the accounts below gave you a taste of the preventable carnage occurring in workplaces across the country every day.

City worker killed when struck by vehicle

Owensboro, KY -— An Owensboro city employee was killed Wednesday morning in a traffic collision on East Parrish Avenue. Billy Tyler, 46, of Utica, was killed shortly after 7 a.m. while working on East Parrish Avenue near Leitchfield Road. Tyler was stuck by a vehicle while he on duty for the city removing debris from the street, City Manager Nate Pagan said. Tyler was a crew leader with the city street department. “Billy was an exemplary employee,” city Communications and Marketing Manager Shaelie Velez said during a brief press conference Wednesday afternoon at City Hall. Tyler was performing “essential duties” by removing debris from the roadway in response to a complaint the city received Wednesday morning.

Man dies after working on Weirton job site

WEIRTON, W.Va. — A man died Tuesday after working on a job site in Weirton. New York-based real estate developer Frontier Group of Companies said an employee of Mid-Michigan Crushing and Recycling was at the Frontier Crossing development when they were injured while working on the property. Company officials said the injured employee was taken to Weirton Medical Center, but later died from his injuries. The property the employee was working on was once was part of the operations of Weirton Steel Corp. Mid-Michigan Crushing and Recycling is a crushed stone supplier. The employee’s identity has not been released.

Tanker driver dies in massive explosion

Frederick, MD — A tanker exploded Saturday into massive flames in Frederick, killing the driver, 58-year-old Ronald Leroy Heiston Jr., and damaging other vehicles and surrounding homes. As many as five vehicles and six homes were damaged by the flames caused by a tanker that crashed into a tree shortly before noon, Maryland State Police said. No other injuries or fatalities were immediately reported. More than 100 firefighters from several counties were called to the scene.

Worker Killed After Being Electrocuted By Live Power Line In Mercer

MERCER COUNTY, NJ — A worker was killed Wednesday morning after coming into contact with a live power line in Mercer County, Hamilton Police said. Dean Kitchin, 52, of Cherry Hill was working on fiber optic lines in the area and was electrocuted by a live power line, according to initial investigation. On Wednesday, Hamilton Police were detailed to 11 South Gold Drive on a report of a motor vehicle on fire. On arrival, officers found a white bucket truck and a yellow box truck. Hamilton Fire Department was already on the scene attempting to extinguish the fire when they noticed Kitchin’s remains in the fire on top of the box truck, police.


Celina, TX — A worker was killed this afternoon when a crane collapsed at a construction site near Crutchfield Road and Farm to Market Road 1385.The incident occurred at the Dan Christie Elementary School in the Sutton Field neighborhood, according to Celina PD. Police say it was a tragic construction-related accident.  42-year-old Neny Alejandro died after a crane at an elementary school construction site fell on top of him.

Lee Center man dies in mechanic accident in Herkimer County

HERKIMER, NY — A Lee Center mechanic was killed when the part he was working on fell on top of him at Marcy Excavation Services in Herkimer County, according to the New York State Police. Troopers said Travis C. Ernst, 58, was working on a traffic attenuator on the back of a truck when it fell over and pinned him underneath at about 11:40 a.m. Friday. Personnel on the scene were able to free Ernst and call 911, but authorities said he was pronounced dead. A traffic attenuator is a brightly colored device, either mounted on a construction vehicle or placed at the end of guard rails, designed to absorb the impact from a car crash.

Coal miner dies in southern West Virginia, governor says

THACKER, W.Va. (AP) — A coal miner has died in an incident in a southern West Virginia mine, Gov. Jim Justice said. William Mapes, 73, of Freeburn, Kentucky, died Sunday, Justice said Sunday in a news release. Mapes had 53 years of mining experience and was working as a contractor for LSM Contracting near Central Appalachian Mining LLC’s Grapevine South Surface Mine in Mingo County, along the Kentucky border, Justice said Sunday in a news release. The statement said Mapes was “fatally injured” but did not include details of the incident. A spokesperson for the state Office of Miners’ Safety Health and Training declined comment Monday. It was the first reported U.S. coal mining fatality of the year. There were at least 10 coal mining-related deaths nationwide last year, including four in West Virginia and two each in Kentucky and Pennsylvania, according to the Mine Safety and Health Administration.

Tree-trimmer dies after touching live wire in Southlake, police say

Fort Worth, TX – The day after a thunderstorm ripped through Dallas-Fort Worth, a tree-trimmer touched a live wire in Southlake and died, authorities say.  46-year-old Adrian Quintanilla Melgar died after electrocuting himself trimming trees in Southlake. Just after 11 a.m. Friday, firefighters and officers responded to the 900 block of Dove Road, near West State Highway 114. Witnesses told police a 46-year-old landscaping employee was trimming trees when he accidentally came in contact with the wire. Firefighters then removed his body from the tree, police said.

Michigan road worker killed while directing traffic

VAN BUREN COUNTY, Mich. – Michigan State Police say a road worker died after an alleged intoxicated driver crashed in a construction zone Friday morning. The crash was reported on County Road 681 near 48th Avenue in Van Buren County’s Lawrence Township. Investigators say a 30-year-old man from Hartford was driving a 1997 Dodge pickup truck tried to pass a Chevrolet pickup truck and crashed into the back while entering the work zone. Michigan State Police say 58-year-old year-old Rene Rangel, who was working for the Van Buren County Road Commission, was holding a traffic control sign in the construction zone. The Dodge pickup truck hit him when it tried to pass the other vehicle. The Dowagiac man died from his injuries.

Contractor dies after electric shock at Marathon Petroleum’s Galveston Bay Refinery, company says

TEXAS CITY, Texas (KTRK) — A contractor at Marathon Petroleum’s Galveston Bay Refinery died on Tuesday after sustaining injuries from an electric shock. The company said the contract worker was shocked shortly before 5 p.m. at its facility in Texas City. The worker died after he was transported to a medical facility, Marathon said. “Our top priority is safety at our facilities, and an investigation will be conducted to determine the cause of the accident,” Marathon said in a statement. “We extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the deceased individual and are providing support to other members of our team during this difficult time.” Marathon did not provide further information about the man who was killed or what led up to the electric shock.

Ogden man identified after Providence roof collapses, killing him

PROVIDENCE, UT — Law enforcement has released the identity of the construction worker killed Monday when the roof of a garage collapsed on him at a Providence home. Rolando Castellanos-Briseno, a 52-year-old Ogden man is believed to have been killed instantly. Emergency crews on the scene of a fatal accident that killed a construction worker when a partial garage collapsed in Providence, Feb. 27, 2023. Cache County Sheriff’s Lt. Doyle Peck said Castellanos was part of a construction crew that had been working to remove asbestos siding from an older home slated for demolition at 189 East 200 South. While working inside the garage, the roof collapsed on him. The rest of the work crew was able to escape and were not injured. Construction workers and emergency crews attempted to free Castellanos but were unable to reach him to provide any lifesaving measures. Castellanos worked for AbateX Environmental Services. The Ogden company specializes in asbestos abatement and inspections.

Construction worker dies after falling at Edina work site

EDINA, Minn. (FOX 9) – Edina police say a 37-year-old man died after falling four stories at a construction site last Tuesday. The incident happened at a condominium construction site on the 4900 block of 77th Street. Minnesota OSHA confirmed to FOX 9 it was notified and responded to the incident. It has opened an investigation. MNOSHA Compliance investigates about seven workplace fatalities a year due to falls.

Nebraska youth rehabilitation center employee dies in utility vehicle crash

Hastings, NE — A Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services employee died Sunday in a utility vehicle crash at the Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center in Hastings. Jarrett Dittmer, 25, of Fairfield, was ejected from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Nebraska State Patrol. The crash occurred at 1:45 p.m. and remains under investigation. A preliminary investigation found that Dittmer was working security at the center. He was driving a utility vehicle when he reportedly lost control on a curve and the vehicle rolled.

Delivery driver dies Tuesday after being struck by lumber in Gilford

GILFORD, NH — A man died Tuesday morning in an accident at Gilford Home Center. Gilford Police Lt. Adam VanSteensburg said the man was not an employee of the home center, but was a delivery driver bringing lumber in. It appears a pallet of lumber fell on the driver during the unloading process. The “medical examiner is coming out. It doesn’t appear that there’s anything criminal this point, and it appears to be more of a workplace accident,” said VanSteensburg. The Gilford Fire Department was on scene at the lumber yard as police detectives conducted their investigation.

Fatal shooting at Hobby Lobby distribution center in Oklahoma City

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK — An employee at a Hobby Lobby distribution center shot and killed a manager on Wednesday, Oklahoma City police said. The shooting happened about 5 p.m. near the company’s headquarters on the city’s southwest side, said police Sgt. Rob Robertson. “The suspect produced a firearm and shot the victim at least once,” Robertson said. The victim is 69-year-old Douglas Smith

Chicago police officer killed in front of kids playing near school

Chicago, IL — A Chicago police officer who died after a shootout with a suspect was killed in front of children playing at a school. Officer Andres Vasquez-Lasso, 32, was shot several times as he chased an armed suspect Wednesday near Sawyer Elementary School, FOX Chicago reported. The incident began around 4:45 p.m. when two police cars responded to a domestic-related call in the 5200 block of South Spaulding Avenue. A caller said a suspect was chasing a female with a gun, Police Superintendent David O. Brown told reporters. When officers arrived, one officer knocked on the door of where the call originated. A second officer engaged with the suspect and a chase ensued where gunfire was exchanged. Vazquez-Lasso returned fire and shot the 18-year-old suspect in the head.

Trooper struck, killed by vehicle on I-69 near Auburn

DEKALB COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) — A state trooper was struck and killed by a vehicle in a crash on Interstate 69 just south of Auburn, according to Indiana State Police (ISP). During a press conference Friday, the officer killed was identified as Master Trooper James R. Bailey of Auburn. Bailey, 50, of Auburn, Indiana, served with the Indiana State Police for more than fifteen years. Trooper Bailey was assisting other troopers on I-69 with traffic backup as a result of weather related vehicle crashes near the 326 mile marker south of Auburn. Trooper Bailey became aware of an individual driving at a high rate of speed evading an officer from the Fort Wayne Police Department on I-69 approaching his location. Trooper Bailey attempted to de-escalate that vehicle pursuit by deploying stop sticks. Trooper Bailey was struck by the suspect vehicle and critically injured. Emergency medical care was rendered at the scene and he was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.

Firefighter who died battling blaze in downtown Buffalo identified as 37-year-old Jason Arno

Buffalo,NY — The Buffalo firefighter that died battling a blaze in the city’s downtown area on Wednesday has been identified as 37-year-old Jason Arno, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown confirmed in a tweet on Thursday. Arno died responding to a four-alarm fire that broke out around 10 a.m. Wednesday in a three-story building on Main Street, the Buffalo Fire Department said. Buffalo Fire Commissioner William Renaldo said that there were reports of workers who were renovating the building using torches on the outside the building, which the fire department believes was the cause of the blaze. The fire may have been smoldering inside the building for some time before a backdraft sent flames shooting out of the building in what at first appeared to be an explosion, Renaldo said.It was not immediately clear exactly how the firefighter died, but Renaldo said he had been near a part of the building that collapsed.

Truck Driver Killed in Accident in Kenly, NC

Kenly, NC — March 2, 2023, a missing truck driver was found dead under a semi-truck at a Perto truck stop off of IH 95 in Kenly. Authorities report that a truck driver, reported missing the evening of March 1st, 2023, was found deceased next to tools under the driver’s semi-truck. The accident is still under investigation, but authorities are reportedly concerned the truck rolled while the driver was performing maintenance.

Upper East Side bodega worker fatally shot during robbery

New York, NY — A bodega worker on the Upper East Side was shot and killed during a robbery late Friday night, and police believe the hazmat-suit-clad gunman may have held up another store in the Bronx a half hour later. Police say the gunman first walked into the Daona Deli on East 81st Street and Third Avenue around 11:30 p.m., demanding money from an employee. The gunman then shot the 67-year-old victim in the head. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The gunman fled on a scooter south on Third Avenue, and police believe he turned up in the Bronx about a half hour later, where he held up a Yaya Deli clerk at gunpoint. Nobody was injured in that incident. Police are searching for a shooter after a bodega worker was killed during a robbery on the Upper East Side late Friday, and as CBS2’s Kristie Keleshian reports, police believe the suspect’s crime spree didn’t end there.

2 dead in shooting at Wisconsin grocery distribution warehouse; victims, suspect identified

Milwaukee, WI — A worker at a supermarket distribution center near Milwaukee shot and killed two co-workers late Tuesday night and is believed to have died by suicide following a police chase and crash. The two men killed inside Roundy’s Distribution Center in Oconomowoc were Kevin Kloth, 50, of Germantown, and Kevin W. Schneider, 39, of West Allis, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. According to a union official, the two men had worked at the center for at least 20 years. Family members confirmed the men’s identities to the newspaper. Police have identified the alleged shooter as Fraron Cornelius, 41, and said he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the newspaper reported.

Tow truck driver killed in suspected freak accident in Salt Lake

HONOLULU, HI — A towing mishap appears to have caused the death of a tow truck driver in the Salt Lake area over the weekend. Honolulu Police now say the 61-year-old man was trying to tow an unoccupied vehicle on Bennion Drive in the Salt Lake area Saturday night when that vehicle became dislodged from the tow arm. Police say the victim then accidentally placed the tow truck in reverse. The truck struck a curb and the victim fell out of the open driver’s side door and ended up being pinned between the tow truck and the vehicle he was trying to tow. Rescuers rushed the man to the hospital in critical condition where he later succumbed to his injuries. Investigators say the victim was not wearing his seatbelt and had his driver’s side door open at the time of the accident.

Officials identify Flint firefighter who died after mobile home fire

FLINT, MI – Officials released the name of a Flint firefighter who died in the line of duty. Ricky Hill Jr. of the Flint Fire Department died after suffering a possible heart attack when responding to a fire over the weekend at a mobile home park, according to a statement from the city of Flint. The fire happened about 2:33 p.m. Feb. 25 in a residential unit at the Elms Mobile Home Park off South Dort Highway, officials said. Hill reportedly collapsed at the scene and was rushed to Hurley Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Chicago police officer killed while chasing armed teen suspect identified

Chicago, IL — Chicago police officers are mourning after one of their own was killed in the line of duty Wednesday. Officer Andres Vasquez-Lasso, 32, was shot and killed as he chased a teenaged armed suspect who suddenly turned and fired “at close range” in Gage Park, FOX 32 reports. The incident began to unfold around 4:45 p.m. when two police cars responded to a domestic-related call in the 5200 block of South Spaulding Avenue. A caller said a suspect was chasing a female with a gun, Police Superintendent David O. Brown told reporters. When officers arrived, one officer knocked on the door of where the call originated. A second officer engaged with the suspect and a chase ensued where gunfire was exchanged. Vasquez-Lasso engaged in the chase exchanged gunfire with the offender at close range. The suspect, reportedly 18 years old with one prior criminal violation, was shot in the head and taken to an area hospital in critical condition. Vasquez-Lasso was struck multiple times and was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital.

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