Weekly Toll

Last week workers were decapitated in a vehicle crash, crushed in a trench collapse, caught in machinery and killed in building collapses, falls and shootings.  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.

Friday is Workers Memorial Day — a day dedicated to mourning for the dead and fighting for the living.

Deadly garage collapse in New York City due to building’s nearly 100-year-old age, too many vehicles on roof, officials say

New York, NY — Initial findings after Tuesday’s collapse of a New York City parking garage indicate that the building being nearly 100 years old coupled with too many vehicles on the roof contributed to the deadly structural failure. Willis Moore, 59, the manager of the parking garage, was killed in the collapse when the Ann Street building in lower Manhattan caved in just after 4 p.m., the city’s fire department said. Five other workers were injured. A preliminary investigation found that too much weight on the roof and the building’s age contributed to the severity of the collapse, according to the New York City Fire Department chief of safety.

Man trapped in machine dies from sustained injuries, officials say

Spartanburg, S.C. — A man died Friday, April 21, in a work-related incident in Spartanburg, South Carolina. According to Spartanburg County Coroner Rusty Clevenger’s office, Christopher Rashad Crawford, age 37, was killed after he was found trapped in a machine at Trelleborg Wheel Systems, located at 2570 Trelleborg Drive.

Worker dies when large sign topples on him in northeast Harris County, sheriff says

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) — A 68-year-old man working on a large sign was killed when it toppled over on top of him, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office said. It happened at a small, Spanish-speaking church called Iglesia Misionera Biblica in northeast Houston. Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said deputies responded to the 7800 block of Mount Houston Road just after 5 p.m. Friday. The man was pronounced dead at the scene. The sheriff’s office is working to figure out how this happened. Community members said the sign was old and may have been compromised by loose bricks. Last night’s heavy rain could have also made it easier for those bricks to fall over at the base.

OSHA investigating recent construction accidents

Denver, CO– A spokesperson for the Denver office of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has confirmed the agency is looking into the circumstances which led to two separate construction site accidents in the Denver metro area last week. One of the accidents killed a worker. Chauntra Rideaux, a regional OSHA representative, stated the U.S. Department of Labor agency is investigating the April 13 fatal fall in downtown Denver and the April 17 collapse of a warehouse-sized building in Commerce City. In the first incident, a 25-year-old worker, Juan Blanco-Parra, died after falling from the upper stories of a building under construction at 2520 Wewatta Way in Denver. The Denver Police Department is investigating Blanco-Parra’s death as well, per protocol, the department confirmed last week. No information about detectives’ preliminary findings have been released by DPD, including which floor Blanco-Parra fell from and what contributed to the fall. Witnesses gave CBS4 crew various estimates, describing that Blanco-Parra fell between 10 and 12 stories. Signs at the scene advertised CFC Construction as the company in charge of the project. Blanco-Parra died from multiple blunt force injuries, per the Denver Medical Examiner’s Office. His body was turned over to a funeral home in Pueblo, according to an online obituary. Three workers were injured in the collapse of metal framing at the Commerce City accident. There have been no updates from authorities on the workers’ medical conditions since they were placed in ambulances and taken to hospitals.

Road worker killed in hit-and-run on DuSable Lake Shore Drive

Chicago, IL — A road worker was killed by a hit-and-run driver on DuSable Lake Shore Drive in Lake View Friday night, police said. Kenneth Hernandez, 45, was working on the road in a closed lane near a street sweeper vehicle around 10:50 p.m. in the 3100 block of North DuSable Lake Shore Drive when he was hit by a black sedan, according to Chicago police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office. The car continued northbound after striking Hernandez, who was pronounced dead at the scene, authorities said. He wasn’t employed by the Illinois Department of Transportation or the city of Chicago, officials said.

Sullivan Co. Mine Employee Killed in Accident

Sullivan County, IN — The Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office says an employee of the Bear Run Coal Mine was killed Thursday after being struck by a large piece of equipment. All mining operations were suspended while the Mining Safety & Health Administration investigated the accident. The miner who died April 11 at the Galena Complex near Wallace was 26-year-old Blaik Nutting, according to a preliminary report of the accident by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration.

Lake County volunteer firefighter dies after medical emergency

MADISON, S.D. (Dakota News Now) – Authorities in Lake County reported on Saturday that a volunteer firefighter had died in the line of duty. According to Lake County Emergency Management Kody Keefer, it happened on Saturday morning when the firefighter suffered a medical emergency while on the scene of a hog containment structure fire. CPR was started at the scene, and an on-site ambulance transported the firefighter to the Madison Hospital, where they passed away.

Airline worker dies of injuries suffered at Texas airport

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — An American Airlines worker died Thursday after being injured at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, according to airport officials. The worker was injured in the area where planes pull up to the terminal, a spokesperson at the airport in Austin, Texas, said. Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services said it was called shortly after 2 p.m. and found a person dead from “traumatic injuries.” An Austin Police spokeswoman told reporters that the man was driving a service vehicle that struck a jet bridge. She said police were investigating the incident as an accident.

Driver loading semi-truck dead after car crashed into him

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) — A truck driver was killed when a car crashed into him as he loaded equipment onto an 18-wheeler on North I-45 near FM 1960 Thursday morning. The crash happened at about 9:14 a.m., according to Harris County Sheriff’s Office Captain Anthony McConnell. The truck parked on the feeder road as the driver worked to load equipment from Public Storage when McConnell said another vehicle, headed north, drove up onto and off the trailer, striking the driver standing next to the truck. He was decapitated.

State police identify truck driver killed in fiery crash on Gold Star Bridge in Groton

GROTON, CT — Connecticut State Police have identified a home heating oil truck driver who was killed in a rollover crash on the Gold Star Bridge that sparked a massive fire and shut down Interstate 95 in both directions for nearly two hours on Friday, officials said. The truck driver was identified Friday night as Wallace Joseph Fauquet III, 42, of Deer Ridge Road in Stonington, according to state police. Two other people, a 58-year-old New London man driving a 2006 Toyota Avalon and his passenger, a 35-year-old Groton woman, sustained what are believed to be minor injuries, state police said. Both were transported to Lawrence + Memorial Hospital in New London.

Forklift Driver Killed in Freak Accident at Georgia Hyundai Mobis Plant

West Point, GA — Keith Wheeler, 62, died Wednesday night in the workplace incident at the Hyundai facility in West Point. He was found pinned between a shelf and his forklift, authorities said, and he had no pulse and was not breathing. The worker was taken to a nearby emergency room, where he was pronounced dead.The Troup County Sheriff’s Office and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are investigating the accident, authorities said. Troup County Chief Deputy Coroner Amy Sheppard said it was not immediately clear how the man came to be trapped. “We’re not sure exactly how it happened because there was no camera in the area. But it looks like he may have backed into one of the shelves and gotten pinned,” Sheppard told the LaGrange Daily News.

Salt Lake City man falls, dies clearing snow from roof in The Colony

Salt Lake City, UT — A Salt Lake City man died last week after he fell while clearing the roof of a home in The Colony. Jose Manuel Figueroa Martinez, 49, was killed in the industrial accident that occurred on April 10 on White Pine Canyon Road, according to Summit County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Kacey Bates. Martinez was working for a roofing company that was hired to remove snow from the top of a residence. The crew had been clearing the area when Martinez, who was not wearing a harness, stepped back onto a part of the roof he believed to be stable, Bates said. But what the man had actually stepped on was a snow cornice. He fell approximately 30 feet, according to the Sheriff’s Office. Martinez was transported via medical helicopter to a nearby medical facility, Bates said. He was declared deceased at the hospital.

Worker dies following equipment injury at Tyler construction site

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) – A worker was killed Wednesday morning at a Tyler construction site after being hit in the head. Tyler Fire Marshall Paul Findley said an emergency call came in at 10:30 a.m. from a construction site in the 600 block of West Grande Boulevard pertaining to a “crush injury.” Findley said a retaining wall was being constructed at the site when a worker was fatally hit in the head by a piece of machinery.

Redwood man dies from injuries at construction site

TOWN OF CHAMPION, New York (WWNY) – A Redwood man died Thursday morning when a ditch wall gave way and collapsed on top of him. State police said 59-year-old Mark Holder was working for Thirteen Colonies Construction and installing a drainage line at a new residential construction site on Freedom Drive in the town of Champion. Troopers said Holder was in a ditch when the earth wall collapsed, partially burying him. Holder was taken to Carthage Area Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Mom of 2 dies after falling and hitting head on the job in St. Charles County

ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. — A St. Charles family had to make funeral arrangements on Wednesday after an unthinkable tragedy. The family of 32-year-old Jessica Howe told 5 On Your Side she was working in the food court area at Costco in St. Peters when she slipped and hit her head on a sink and then the floor on Saturday. Howe was put on life support and passed away two days later.

19-year-old killed in Georgetown Twp. industrial accident

GEORGETOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich. — A person was killed in an industrial accident in Ottawa County, the Sheriff’s Office said. The incident happened around 3:14 p.m. at a business located near Chicago Drive and 18th Avenue in Georgetown Township. The Sheriff’s Office, along with an ambulance and the Georgetown Township Fire Department, responded to the business on a report of a person who had been injured while working with construction equipment. First responders attempted to save the 19-year-old’s life, but they died on the scene. Their name will be withheld at this time.

Home Depot employee killed while trying to stop a shoplifter in California

Pleasenton, CA — A Home Depot employee was shot and killed on Tuesday while trying to stop a shoplifter in Pleasanton, California, authorities said. The victim, 26-year-old Blake Mohs, was a loss prevention employee who was a well-known member of the community, the Pleasanton Police Department said in a statement. “During the investigation, detectives determined Mohs confronted a female shoplifter who resisted and shot him,” authorities said. “The suspect, Benicia Knapps (32), ran to a getaway car driven by a male suspect, David Guillory.”

Tow truck driver killed by passing jeep while helping stranded bus

SCOTT CO., Iowa — A tow truck driver died on Monday after being hit while on duty. Mark Muske leaves behind two boys. Mark worked for Tegeler Wrecker and Crane and was an Army Desert Storm veteran. Reports from the Iowa State Patrol revealed a bus broke down on the side of I-80 in Scott Co. by the 302 mile marker and a tow truck was called for help. When the tow truck arrived, the driver got out of the car to assist the bus, and a Jeep Patriot struck the driver.

Texas firefighter dies after fire truck strikes him on scene

ABBOTT, Texas — An Abbott volunteer firefighter died Friday evening after he was struck by a fire truck on scene, the Hill County Sheriff’s Office announced on Facebook. Abbott Firefighter Horace Dan Wright was hit by a fire truck and transported to a hospital, where he died. Texas Department of Public Safety officials told KWTX that Horace Dan Wright was “backed into by the fire truck” near mile marker 359 on Interstate 35. “As they arrived, it was determined that it was actually a stranded motorist and they opted to stay on scene to assist with traffic control until a wrecker arrived,” the sheriff’s office said. That’s when the crash happened – as the firefighters were repositioning. They rendered care. Wright was transported to Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest in Waco, where he was later pronounced dead.

Franklinton gas station clerk shot, killed was about to quit job, friends say

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Columbus Division of Police is searching for a suspect in involved the deadly gas station shooting in Franklinton early Thursday morning. The victim was identified as 24-year-old Saiesh Veera, who was a clerk at the store. The shooting happened just before 1 a.m. on Thursday at the Shell gas station located at 1000 West Broad St. Police said the suspect walked in and shot Veera. He was taken to the hospital where he died. Veera was a few weeks out from getting his masters degree in I.T. at a school overseas. “He was about to quit this current job in two weeks…and this happened,” said Punith Ragubadhi, one of his close friends. He was going to quit the job because working at the gas station was too dangerous.

Daisy Mountain firefighter dies from work-related cancer

ANTHEM, AZ — Daisy Mountain Fire and Medical is mourning one of its own. The department announced on Thursday the death of engineer Eric Flannery. He had been fighting a long battle with cancer that he got due to his duties as a firefighter. Daisy Mountain Fire and Medical Fire Chief Brian Tobin said in a statement Flannery’s death is considered a line of duty death.

Vineyard worker killed in industrial accident near San Miguel

San Miguel, CA — A vineyard worker was killed in an industrial accident near San Miguel last week, according to a report by KSBY. The report says that Leonides Magallon, 72, was driving a tractor along Allende Road when the vehicle went off the road and down a hill, causing it to roll multiple times. Magallon’s boss reportedly discovered his body about 30 feet from the tractor around 9:30 p.m. last Friday night. An autopsy is scheduled for this week to determine whether a medical event may have caused Magallon to go off the road. Officials have not released the name of the vineyard Magallon worked for, but they say it is located near San Miguel.

One dead, 4 injured in ‘accidental’ explosion at Wood River ethanol plant

Wood River, NE — One person died and four people were injured Monday in an explosion at an ethanol plant in Wood River, a town of 1,200 that sits about 15 miles southwest of Grand Island. One employee was pronounced dead at the Green Plains ethanol plant Monday afternoon following an explosion involving a liquid holding tank, according to a release from the Nebraska State Fire Marshal Agency. Another employee is in critical condition at an Omaha hospital, the news release said. And three contractors working at the facility, at 7874 S. 140th Road, were treated at a local hospital for minor injuries suffered in the explosion, which was reported to authorities at 2:40 p.m. Monday. In a statement, a Green Plains spokeswoman said the explosion happened as the employees and contractors were conducting “routine maintenance and repairs on a whole stillage tank” at the plant Monday. She said the plant was not operational at the time of the incident.

Captain killed, passenger injured after lightning strikes boat, officials say

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. (WKMG) – A boat captain is dead and a passenger has sustained minor injuries after Florida officials said a boat was believed to have been struck by lightning Sunday night. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Brevard County Sheriff’s Office said the man killed was identified as 39-year-old Peter Strong. Authorities said Strong’s boat was on the Indian River at Pineda Causeway when first responders received a call about a vessel that was struck by lightning. Officials blocked a boat ramp leading to the Pineda Causeway during an investigation into the possible lightning strike. They also used pickup trucks to pull a boat out of the water. Authorities said the incident is being investigated as a boating accident.

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