Weekly Toll

How workers died last week. Heat, electrocutions, crane collapse,  explosion, tree trimming, machinery and vehicle incidents and on and on and on. 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.

Lawn worker found dead in Cape Coral canal hours after disappearance

Cape Coral, FL — The Cape Coral Police Department is investigating the death of a lawn worker who went missing while working on Thursday. The man’s body was found in a canal on the 2700 block of Southwest 46th Street. The police department said the death appears to be accidental, but they cannot provide any further details at this time.

Union leaders demand change following Kroger employee death

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Union leaders identified the man who died Friday while working at a Kroger Distribution Center in Memphis. Members of Teamster 667 are demanding change at the facility located in the 5000 block of Bledsoe Road, following the death of Tony Rufus. The union said Rufus died Friday while desperately trying to find a way to cool off amid extremely hot temperatures. “This guy was just humped over on a jack laying there dead,” said Teamster 667 Union Representative Jeremy Austin. “Tony, he deserved better than that.” Co-workers said Rufus worked at the location for 11 years. Friday at 8:13 p.m. the Memphis Police Department (MPD) answered a call regarding someone being unresponsive. The staff recalled the moments before Rufus’ unexpected death. “Them guys said he was dripping in sweat. Them guys said that guy was asking for water,” said Teamster 667 Union Chief Maurice Wiggins. “He did walk to produce a couple of times to cool off, and that’s where he ended up passing at, in the produce section on the dock in front of all his coworkers.” The union explained that workers get a 30-minute lunch break and 15-minute breaks every two hours. Leaders stressed that during extremely hot weather, they need more.

Construction worker killed, 4 other people hurt in crane collapse on Mercy Hospital campus

CORAL GABLES, Fla. — A construction worker died and four other people were injured after a crane collapsed 0n the HCA Florida Mercy Hospital campus in Coconut Grove on Saturday afternoon. The 200-foot crane was carrying heavy renovation equipment when it fell on people underneath, according to the City of Miami Fire Rescue. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the cause.
The accident occurred around 12:15 p.m. during renovations at the hospital, which was established in 1950. Two of the injured were taken to Mercy Hospital in stable condition and two others were taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital in serious but stable condition. Mario Bladimir Andino Renteria, 32, died while working at the HCA Florida Mercy Hospital in the Coconut Grove area.

Police identify 3 Black victims of racially motivated Dollar General store shooting

Jacksonville, FL — Three people were killed when a gunman opened fire at a Northwest Jacksonville Dollar General store on Saturday. The victims, all Black, appeared to be targeted in a racially motivated shooting by a 21-year-old white Clay County man, identified by Jacksonville police as Ryan Christopher Palmeter, who left multiple manifestos, declaring his hate for the Black race and his intentions to kill Black people. Anolt Joseph “A.J.” Laguerre Jr., 19, a store employee, was shot as he tried to flee.

Isle man dies in workplace accident in Mille Lacs County

ISLE, Minn. — A 45-year-old Isle man died Thursday, Aug. 24, after he became trapped in machinery at the Cemstone Products plant, 1515 410th St. in Mille Lacs County. The man was identified as Chad Michael Minenko. According to the Mille Lacs County Sheriff’s Office, deputies responded to the incident, reported at 7:46 a.m., and located Minenko trapped in a portion of the wash plant. Isle Fire and Rescue arrived on the scene and, with the help of Cemstone employees, were able to free Minenko and start lifesaving efforts. Minenko was transported by Isle Ambulance Service to Mille Lacs Health System in Onamia, where he was pronounced dead. The incident remains under investigation by the Mille Lacs County Sheriff’s Office and Mine Safety and Health Administration, though Minenki’s death appears to be an accident, the Sheriff’s Office reported.

Uniontown man dies after falling from garbage truck

Uniontown, PA — A Uniontown man who worked for a regional waste management company was killed in an incident involving a garbage truck. Collin Rozzi, 21, died Tuesday at UPMC Presbyterian hospital after he fell from a garbage truck the day before, the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s office said Friday. Rozzi was a member of the United Mine Workers of America union, according to a statement form Cecil E. Roberts, UMWA president. Mr. Roberts said the incident occurred at a site owned by Noble Environmental in Brownsville, Fayette County. Mr. Roberts said the union’s safety experts, Local Union 2291 safety committee and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration are investigating.

Truck driver killed after crashing through guardrail on I-287, authorities say

Bedminster, NJ — A truck driver from Pennsylvania was killed early Friday when the Freightliner he was driving crashed on Interstate 287 in Somerset County, authorities said. The 48-year-old man, <strong>Edward A. Facer,</strong> of Port Matilda, Pennsylvania, killed in the crash, was traveling in the southbound lanes near milepost 22.5 in Bedminster Township when the crash occurred about 5:10 a.m., according to New Jersey State Police. A preliminary investigation showed truck ran off the highway to the right, crashed through a guardrail and down an embankment, according to Trooper Jeffrey Lebron, a spokesman for the State Police.

Man Killed in Industrial Accident in Lakewood

LAKEWOOD, NJ – Police responded to a concrete company in the Lakewood Industrial Park early Friday morning. In addition to the Lakewood Police Department, emergency service personnel were called to the incident scene at 10 Havenwood Court just after 7:30 am. Upon arrival, responders found an unresponsive male trapped in industrial machinery. Despite efforts to free him and initiate life-saving measures, the victim died at the scene. The investigation into this incident is ongoing, and further details may be released as they become available. Authorities are working to investigate the circumstances that led to this incident at this time.

After Farmworker’s Death in Fresno Heat, UFW and Sen. Padilla Call for Stronger Protections

Fresno, CA — As Fresno-area temperatures sizzled around 100 recently, a 59-year-old tomatillo field worker collapsed and died. The coroner listed the cause of death as cardiovascular disease caused by cholesterol buildup; the farmworkers’ union blamed it on working in such heat. “Elidio Hernández should not have died,” said United Farm Workers president Teresa Romero at an Aug. 18 news conference in Delano. “Elidio had two young daughters who now don’t have a father.” Romero said the 59-year-old father of two, whose full name is Elidio Hernández Gómez, reported feeling ill to his supervisor but did not receive help. After he collapsed, his supervisor and coworkers did not report the incident, she said, but his coworkers were told to take him to a hospital.

Worker at Foster Farms killed in alleged hit-and-run at Fresno facility

Reedly, CA — A laborer at a Foster Farms facility in Fresno County, Jose Romero Aguilera, 25,  was killed when he was struck by a car driven by another worker, the California Highway Patrol said on Thursday. A 40-year-old Fresno man got into a company-owned Chrysler Pacifica Van about 10:30 a.m. Wednesday and began driving it within the private property of the facility at 10535 Englehart Avenue in Reedley, CHP said. He was not given permission to drive the van, according to a news release. The CHP described the driver as a Foster Farms employee, but officials with the poultry-rendering company said Thursday he was working for a temporary agency.

Tree trimmer dead after apparently being crushed by tree limb in Agoura Hills

AGOURA HILLS, Calif. (KABC) — A tree trimmer was killed while working in an Agoura Hills neighborhood on Wednesday. The Los Angeles County Fire Department responded to the scene on Lewis Road around 11 a.m. The county Sheriff’s Department also responded. AIR7 HD was over the scene as firefighters attempted to remove the worker’s body, which was located about 40 feet up in the tree. It appears the worker was crushed by a tree limb. Reinaldo Rocha, 46, of Baldwin Park died at the scene, the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner reported.

Man killed in Palm Bay construction site accident

Palm Bay, FL — A man believed to be a crane operator working on a new home under construction was killed in an on-site accident Wednesday, Palm Bay Police reported. Patrol officers were called about 9:30 a.m. to the worksite at San Filippo Boulevard and Valencia Street, said Lt. Mike Roberts, spokesperson for the police agency. Police said that the unidentified man’s body was located near a crane. The medical examiner’s office was called to the construction area and removed the body. An autopsy is set to be conducted later this week.

Contractor killed in electrocution while on scissor lift in Fort Worth, officials say

FORT WORTH, Texas — A man died from being electrocuted while working on a contracting job in Fort Worth on Tuesday, according to the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff deputies were called at about 1 p.m. to the 12000 block of Camp Bowie West Boulevard. They were dispatched to help paramedics at the scene. When they arrived, they learned that a self-employed contractor got shocked when the metal scissor lift he was using touched a power line. Deputies said he was using the metal lift to measure a sign. The victim was sent to a local hospital, then to the burn unit at Parkland Hospital in Dallas. He was later pronounced deceased. The Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the man as 54-year-old Michael Wayne Riley.

Denzal Stewart Killed in Bridge Accident at Interstate 25 in Pueblo County, CO

Pueblo County, CO — August 18, 2023, a truck driver was killed in a crash on a bridge at Interstate 25 and Burnt Mill Road in Pueblo County, CO. Authorities say that on August 18, a fatal accident occurred when a semi-truck crashed on a bridge at southbound I-25 for unknown reasons. According to reports, the collision left part of the semi-truck dangling over the side of the bridge. Authorities identified the man killed in the crash as 33-year-old Denzal Stewart. The circumstances leading up to the crash are still under investigation.

Phenix Lumber maintenance worker struck, killed in company’s second major recent incident

Phenix City, AL — A maintenance worker died Wednesday in an industrial accident at a Phenix City lumber company. Police Capt. Skip Lassiter said when first responders arrived at the business, they were directed to the sawmill area. They learned an employee had been struck by a piece of equipment. James Streetman, 67, was pronounced dead on the scene. Lassiter said OSHA was notified and investigation is ongoing. Authorities noted it is the second major incident at Phenix Lumber Company in recent years. In 2020, Brandon Lee Vandyke died when he became entangled in a woodchipper. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited MDLG, which does business as Phenix Lumber Company, in September 2010 for 53 safety and health violations following the death of one worker and the critical injury of a second. According to OSHA, inspectors were in the midst of a review when one worker was killed after his head was crushed between a motor being hoisted with a forklift and other equipment. Another worker was seriously injured after he fell approximately 10 feet, breaking his neck, while doing daily maintenance on the debarker in the sawmill.

York County man dies after hitting high voltage electrical line at work site

NORTH HOPEWELL TOWNSHIP, Pa. — A York County man died after hitting a high voltage electrical line, according to the coroner. The coroner said 49-year-old Marty Mundis was in a mechanical lift at a work site in the 12000 block of Mt. Olivet Road in North Hopewell Township when he accidentally struck the line around noon Monday. Mundis, of York Township, was pronounced dead at the scene. He was self-employed, the coroner said. Pennsylvania State Police are investigating the death. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Met-Ed assisted in the investigation at the scene.

25-year-old man identified as worker killed after propane tank bursts in Nash County

CASTALIA, N.C. (WTVD) — A worker was killed in an accident involving a propane tank, the Nash County Sheriff’s Office said Monday. It happened about 11 a.m. at a property in the 16600 block of Red Bud Road and involved an employee of L.H. Dickens who was filling a propane tank for a farmer when it burst and part of the tank struck him. The worker died at the scene from his injuries. On Monday afternoon, the victim was identified as Francis Earl Johnson Jr., 25, of Louisburg. The Nash County Sheriff’s Office investigated and concluded that no foul play was suspected.

Worker dies in rural Buchanan County

Agency, MO — A 20-year-old Stanberry, Missouri, man died on Monday afternoon after suffering a possible electrical shock at an agricultural site outside Agency, Missouri, authorities said. The man, who has not yet been identified, had been working as an electrician at a grain storage installation operated by Atha Brothers Agriculture, LLC. The cause of the possible electrical shock is unknown to authorities at this time, Sheriff Bill Puett said. After the possible electrical shock, the man fell several feet onto a platform. First responders arrived and began performing CPR, but he died. The cause of the electrician’s death has yet to be determined. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a federal agency, will conduct an investigation, as it does for all U.S. workplace fatalities. Buchanan County EMS and the Missouri State Highway Patrol assisted at the scene.

Richmond truck driver killed on I-95

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. — A Richmond truck driver was killed in a crash that closed lanes on Interstate 95 North in Henrico County on Thursday morning, according to Virginia State Police. “At 4:33 a.m. Virginia State Police was dispatched to a two-vehicle crash northbound Interstate 95 at the Parham Road exit (mile marker 84) in Henrico County,” a Virginia State Police spokesperson wrote. “A 2018 Freightliner was stopped on the shoulder when a 2019 International MV 607 truck ran off the road and rear-ended the stopped Freightliner.” Jeremy James Batty, the 37-year-old driver of the 2019 International died in the crash, police said. He was wearing a seatbelt.

Ark. dispatcher dies after being shot in ambulance service parking lot over weekend

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A dispatcher died Wednesday after being shot at a Little Rock-area ambulance service’s parking lot over the weekend, and her estranged husband was in custody for the shooting. Cassandra Pena-Romero, 27, who was shot at the Metropolitan Emergency Medical Services parking lot in downtown Little Rock on Saturday, died on Wednesday from her injuries, the agency announced. Omar Pena-Romero, who was arrested by police near Texarkana, Arkansas, Saturday night, was being held in the Pulaski County jail without bond. Pena-Romero, 23, had been charged over the weekend with first degree domestic battery, violation of a no-contact order and unauthorized use of another person’s property to facilitate a felony.

Tribal officer killed after being struck by vehicle; suspect killed by police

NIXON, Nev. (KOLO) — A Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Police Department officer died Friday after being struck by a vehicle driven by a suspect. The suspect also died after being shot by law enforcement. Police officer Anthony Francone died in the incident at the south end of Pyramid Lake on the highway from Nixon to Sutcliffe. The Eureka County Sheriff’s Office identified Francone as the deceased and said in a Facebook post he worked as a deputy in Eureka and Crescent Valley for several years.

North Haven firefighter dies from medical emergency after 38-hour shift

NORTH HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – A North Haven firefighter has died from a medical emergency, according to the North Haven Fire Department. The fire department said 50-year-old Anthony Desimone had just completed a 38-hour continuous shift and was relieved from his duty when he suffered a medical emergency as he was arriving home. Officials said family members witnessed Desimone collapse and called 911. He was then transported to the Yale New Haven Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

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