Weekly Toll

How American workers died last week: Trench Collapse, confined space suffocation, heat,  forklift,  machinery, vehicle incidents 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.

Trench collapse on Lonoke County farm kills 1 person, injures 5 on Monday

Lonoke County, AR — A construction accident on a farm in Lonoke County killed one person and injured five Monday afternoon, law enforcement officials said. Deputies responded to a farm on Red Wine Road after reports of an individual trapped after dirt collapsed just before 1 p.m., a Facebook post from the Lonoke County sheriff’s office said on Monday. As first responders attempted to rescue the person, a second collapse occurred, the post said. One person was killed and five people were taken to a local emergency room to be treated for their injuries. Sheriff John Staley said that he knew one person had serious injuries but he did not think any of the five taken to the emergency room had life-threatening injuries. The identity of the person killed was not immediately released, pending the notification of the next-of-kin. The sheriff said he was unsure if any of the injured were still being treated or if they had been released. He said a deputy jumped in to try and help. “We have a protocol that is kind of like ‘don’t jump in holes,’ but he got there and he wanted to help,” Staley said, “He wasn’t injured, he might be sore but he’s okay.” Staley said that there were workers digging a trench that was around 10 feet deep.

Texas UPS worker falls ill in heat, dies days later

Collin County, TEXAS — A Collin County UPS worker’s death is under investigation after he fell ill while out on a delivery last week and died Sunday. It’s suspected that the triple-digit heat may have affected his health. In a statement, UPS said, “We are saddened by the loss of our driver Christopher Begley and extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends. We are cooperating with the authorities as they continue to investigate the cause of death. We train our people to recognize the symptoms of heat stress, and we respond immediately to any request for help.” On Wednesday, Aug. 23, Begley told management he wasn’t feeling well, according to UPS. Help arrived to give him water and make sure he cooled off. UPS said they asked Begley if he needed medical attention, but he kept refusing. He claimed he felt better and wanted to go home. He then requested some days off. Four days later, Begley had been hospitalized and died.

1 dead, 2 injured after potential exposure to poisonous gas on the job in Putnam County

PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. — A man is dead after a workplace accident at St. Johns Shipbuilding in Palatka, according to the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office. One of the workers Harrison Phipps, 40, was working with welding equipment, when another employee, Peter Olmeda, heard him ‘pass out,’ from possible exposure to poisonous gas. Olmeda went to help Phipps, but he also became unconscious. then a third employee, Lucas Nunez, went to pull Olmeda out of the ship, he was unable to reach Phipps. Emergency crews were able to get Phipps off the ship and begin life-saving techniques. He was then taken to a local hospital but was unable to be resuscitated. Olmeda and Nunez were taken to a local hospital for medical clearance. The Sheriff’s Office is investigating Phipps’s death, they say at this time there is no indication of foul-play.

Highway worker killed in accident near Arnold

ARNOLD, NE – A Nebraska Department of Transportation highway worker was killed in an accident in a work zone on Highway 92 Wednesday morning. The Custer County Sheriff’s Office said the accident was reported just after 6 a.m. a short distance west of Arnold. The victim was Mark F. Wells, 56, of Broken Bow.  According to a release, a 67-year-old Stapleton man was driving east in a Freightliner semi pulling a livestock trailer. The semi struck a road construction broom sweeper driven by a 56-year-old Broken Bow man and pushed it into the south ditch. The semi came to a stop in the north ditch. The driver of the broom sweeper was transported to Great Plains Health in North Platte, where he was pronounced dead. The driver of the semi suffered only minor injuries.

County worker found dead under lawnmower that rolled down embankment

Jennings, MO — A St. Louis County worker was killed, when a lawnmower he was operating rolled on top of him, Missouri cops say. Chadd Hackl, 44,  was mowing Tuesday, Aug. 29, in the area of Maline Creek in Jennings, a northern suburb of St. Louis, according to the St. Louis County Police Department.  Police said they found the worker pinned under the large lawnmower in a body of water. He was pronounced dead at the scene, police said. It’s believed he was operating the mower when it rolled down an embankment, pinning him underneath it, according to police. It’s unclear how long he was pinned before being discovered.

Worker Dies After Forklift He Was Operating Falls on Top of Him at Logan International Airport

Boston, MA – A man was killed on Tuesday after suffering severe injuries in a forklift accident at Logan International Airport, authorities said. Raul Orengo Santiago, 51, was a subcontractor for JetBlue who tried to drive a Komastu forklift through a lower bag service entrance. He was pronounced dead at Boston Medical Center, Massachusetts State Police said in a news release. The accident happened at about 3:30 p.m. in a loading area outside Terminal C at the airport, in an area without public access, MSP said. The victim was identified as an employee of a JetBlue sub-contractor — was operating a forklift when it struck part of a stationary structure related to a service entrance, causing the machinery to overturn on top of him, per MSP’s news release.

Truck driver killed in I-55 crash near Central Avenue

CHICAGO IL — A truck driver was killed in a crash on the Stevenson Expressway Thursday night, Illinois State Police said. The crash occurred at about 11:22 p.m. in the northbound lanes near Central Avenue, police said. Police said a box truck made an abrupt lane change to exit at Central Avenue and lost control, hitting a guardrail. The driver was transported to a local hospital, where he was later pronounced dead, police said. The Central Avenue exit ramp was closed down until about 1:06 a.m. as police investigating. Further details were not immediately available.

1 worker killed, 2 injured in SW Kansas tanker incident

LIBERAL, Kan. (KSNW) — First responders rushed to an EMS call at the Red Barn Truck Wash in Liberal just before 9 a.m. Friday. The Liberal Police Department said three employees were unconscious in a tanker trailer. According to police, it appears one of the Red Barn workers became unconscious while cleaning inside the tanker, which was dirty after hauling sludge from a hog farm. Two other workers went in to help the man. A worker in a different washing bay heard shouts and went to get help. When help arrived, all three workers were unconscious in the tanks put on protective gear and got the victims out. EMS took them to Southwest Medical Center. One of the men died. One was transported to Wichita. The third was admitted to the hospital in Liberal. Names, ages and hometowns have not been released yet. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been notified and will investigate the incident.

Killing of neighborhood corner store worker stuns residents of SF Outer Richmond

SAN FRANCISCO. CA — Residents of San Francisco’s Outer Richmond district are reeling after the sudden, tragic death of a local fixture following a violent robbery. “I’m shaken. This doesn’t happen in this neighborhood,” said Drew Min. Residents like Min are struggling to come to terms with the death of Yohannes Tewolde, affectionately known as John. Just two days ago, Tewolde died after being brutally attacked with a bat during a robbery last week at the market where he worked at the intersection of Balboa and 41st avenues.

Tow Truck Driver Killed In Multi-Vehicle Crash While Stopping To Help A Driver

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Maryland State Police are continuing to investigate a fatal two-vehicle crash that occurred Thursday afternoon in Prince George’s County. At about 12:10 p.m. on Thursday, troopers from the Maryland State Police College Park Barrack responded to a multi-vehicle crash on I-95 North at Powder Mill Road. According to a preliminary investigation, a tow truck driver stopped to assist the driver of a 2009 Toyota Yaris, which was disabled on the left shoulder of the road. A third vehicle, a 2016 Toyota Scion, sideswiped the vehicles and struck the tow truck driver. The Scion also struck a 2014 Honda Accord, which then crashed into a tractor trailer. The tow truck driver, identified as Osama Abdelfattah Marey, 31, of Suitland, Maryland, was declared deceased at the scene by emergency medical services personnel.

Diboll firefighter dies after accident while responding to fire

DIBOLL, Texas — A Deep East Texas firefighter passed away Friday morning following an accident happened while he was responding to a fire earlier this week. Diboll Fire Department Chief Aaron Smith said on the department’s Facebook page that fireman Joe Parish was hurt in an accident when he was responding to a fire on Wednesday. Smith asked for prayers at the time of that post. Then, on Friday morning, Smith said in an updated post that Parish died around 7:30 a.m. and that he no doubt went to a better place.

Raleigh police arrest suspect in death of Glenwood South restaurant manager

Raleigh, NC — Police have arrested a man in connection with the death of a downtown Raleigh restaurant worker earlier this week. David Millette, 27, was injured in an altercation in the 500 block of Glenwood Avenue shortly after 2 a.m. Aug. 26, according to Raleigh police. During the incident, Millette was punched and injured when he fell to the ground and hit his head on the sidewalk, according to The News & Observer’s media partner, ABC11 News. TOP VIDEOS Top Videos 00:32 01:30 Community mourns slain UNC Chapel Hill professor He was taken to an area hospital and died Friday morning from his injuries, according to police spokesperson Lt. Jason Borneo.

Sleepy Eye man dies following industrial accident

Sleepy Eye, MN — Austin Brett Trebesch of Sleepy Eye died Tuesday following what was described as a work-related farm implement accident, according to the Brown County Sheriff’s Office. Trebesch, 27, was employed by Miller Sellner and listed as a technician on the company’s website. A representative for the company declined to comment Tuesday afternoon.

1 killed, 2 others injured in workplace accident at Tuscaloosa County coal mine

TUSCALOOSA COUNTY, Ala. — A death investigation is underway after a workplace accident at Warrior Met Coal in Brookwood on Wednesday. The Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office said it happened around 7 a.m. at Mine No. 4. Deputies with the sheriff’s medical unit and Northstar Paramedic Services responded to a medical call at the mine. Three employees were treated, but one did not survive. The conditions of the other employees are unclear at this time. The Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit is investigating the death but does not expect any foul play. Warrior Met Coal Inc. and the Mine Safety and Health Administration are also investigating this incident.

Lansing-area worker dies after touching a live wire

DELTA TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Another death Thursday appeared to be connected to last week’s severe weather. As Ingham County cleans up from a confirmed tornado, a private tree contractor was killed in Delta Township when they touched a live wire, according to Lansing officials. Jayson Storm Davis worked for Our Family’s Tree & Mulch, a private company hired to help trim trees following the violent Aug. 24 storms that knocked out power to tens of thousands of utility customers. . The Lansing Board of Water and Light reported a power outage in the area at the time of the incident.

Postal Worker Struck, Killed By Train

Webster Groves, MO — The Webster Groves Police Department continues to investigate the death of a U.S. Postal Service mail carrier whose body was discovered on Wednesday, Aug. 23, by a Union Pacific Railroad employee. Webster Groves police report that the man was struck by a train in the area of Berry Road and Bonita Avenue. Circumstantial evidence indicates the man took his own life, according to Capt. Stephen Spear.

Truck driver killed in Cumberland County crash

Cumberland County, NC — A man was hit by a car and killed Wednesday on N.C. Highway 210 in Cumberland County. The State Highway Patrol said around 2 a.m., a truck driver stopped to check on a disabled motorist near Cedar Creek Road. As the truck driver was walking back to his vehicle, he attempted to flag down passing motorists when he was struck. The victim was identified as Jamie “Jim” Herrell, 52, of Beulaville. Herrell was in a Sanderson Farms truck.

Dallas armored car guard killed during attempted robbery

DALLAS, TX – A uniformed armored car guard was killed in a shooting in East Dallas. Dallas police said it happened around 9:30 a.m. Friday during an attempted robbery at a check cashing store on Carroll Avenue. The guard, 52-year-old David Ruback, was taken to the hospital where he died. Michael Widders had just walked out of Big Jim’s Check Cashing when someone shot a Gardaworld armed security guard who was servicing the location. “This happened in like a second, running into the door,” he recalled “Right when I see him get to the door gunfire went off, and I hit the floor. And I wasn’t getting up until I heard people talking.” Police say the motive was robbery.

20-year-old Va. firefighter passes away following July firetruck crash

STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. (7News) — A 20-year-old Louisa County firefighter passed away on Saturday after fighting injuries from a July crash, officials said. On July 9, Mia Ethridge was in a firetruck when she and another firefighter were responding to a call. However, at some point during the response, the firetruck went off the road and crashed into a tree near Peach Grove Road, police said. Ethridge was reportedly ejected from the fire engine and suffered serious injuries. She was flown to UVA University Hospital for treatment. The other firefighter in the truck was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Tragically, on Saturday, Ethridge died after a long fight.

Ga. sheriff killed in car crash

ROCHELLE, Ga. — The Wilcox County Sheriff was killed in a crash Tuesday afternoon while responding to a call, according to the county coroner. Sheriff Robert Rodgers crashed shortly after 4 p.m., Coroner Janice Brown told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The crash happened on Ga. 233 north of Rochelle, about 75 miles south of Macon. Rodgers died at the scene. “He was a good friend,” Brown said. “I just talked to him yesterday.” Numerous police agencies posted condolences to the sheriff’s family and his agency on Facebook. The Georgia State Patrol was investigating the crash. Brown said there was no indication the crash was weather-related. “The vehicle traveled off the roadway where it struck a tree and came to rest on the driver’s side,” the State Patrol said in an email late Tuesday.

Security guard, customer dead after shooting at Menards on northeast side of Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS, IN — Two people are dead after a shooting at the lumberyard a Menards store on the northeast side of Indianapolis Wednesday evening. On Thursday, the Marion County Coroner’s Office identified the men as 24-year-old Olajawon Malik Cowherd and 39-year-old Justin Andrew Do. Officers were called to a report of a shooting at 5:28 p.m. Aug. 30 at the business in the 7700 block of East 42nd Street, near Interstate 465. When officers arrived, they found two men with apparent gunshot wounds in the store’s lumber section. A security guard died shortly after arriving at the hospital. The second victim, described by police as a customer, died during surgery. O’Brien & Associates, a security company based in Wisconsin, said Cowherd was an employee of theirs. They told 13News they are an unarmed security company and employees don’t carry guns.

Security guard killed at midtown parking deck. Police are trying to identify this person of interest

ATLANTA, GA — Atlanta police released new photos of a person of interest after a security guard was shot and killed trying to stop car break-in suspects. Sha’darrian Jacobs, 33, died in the shooting at a parking deck on Spring Street just after 2 a.m. Monday. Police say someone was trying to stop a group of suspected thieves from breaking into cars in the parking deck. At some point, bullets started flying and one of them hit Jacobs, who was in the middle of his lunch break inside the garage. “I was actually asleep and I just heard my mom in the room, screaming and yelling that Sha’darrian was killed. So I just hopped up and just pretty much in disbelief,” Nicklaus Jacobs said.

Chicago firefighter dies after battling flames

CHICAGO, Ill. (WTVO) — A firefighter who was injured battling a Chicago house blaze earlier this month has died. The Chicago Fire Department announced Tuesday that Lieutenant Kevin Ward has passed away at the age of 59. He had served with the department since 1996. The fire happened back on August 11 in the 8300 block of W. Balmoral Avenue, which is near O’Hare International Airport, according to WBBM. Ward was one of three firefighters inured in the blaze. The other two firefighters have been released from the hospital. Ward is the third firefighter with the department to die in the line of duty this year.

Worker dies in accident at North Carolina plant

SANFORD, N.C. (WNCN) – A person was killed in an accident at a manufacturing plant in Sanford on Monday. This happened at a plant owned by Pentair, which produces equipment for pools, water supply and disposal. According to a Pentair spokesperson, the company is “focused on taking all necessary steps to address the situation while we continue to support the family.” No other information about the accident is available at this time.

Guntersville man dies in industrial accident at Cullman Casting

Guntersville, AL — A Guntersville man died Thursday night at a workplace accident, according to authorities. Cullman County Coroner Jeremy Kilpatrick said Michael Thompson, 38, died in the incident at Cullman Casting, on County Road 490. The incident happened shortly after 10:30 p.m. The body has been sent to the Department of Forensic Sciences for an autopsy.


Plymouth, MN — A Minnesota Department of Transportation worker in Plymouth was struck by a dump truck and killed at a work site, according to the Plymouth Police Department. A MnDOT spokesperson identified the employee as Michael Gau. The incident occurred around 5:20 p.m., according to Plymouth Police Sgt. Scott Whiteford. The worker was struck in the construction zone for the Highway 169 and Rockford Road construction project, near the intersection of Nathan Lane and Rockford Road. At the construction site, crews are working to replace the bridge and interchange at Rockford Road and 169. The site is on the border between Plymouth and New Hope. EMTs declared Gau dead at the scene.

Memorial set up for Shelby County deputy killed in Highway 147 crash

PANOLA COUNTY, Texas (KETK) – A Shelby County deputy is dead after a Tuesday morning crash at the intersection of Highway 147 and Highway 103 in San Augustine County. Shelby County Sheriff Kevin W. Windham announced on Tuesday afternoon that deputy Matthew Pierson, 25, died in a crash around 7:30 a.m. DPS is investigating the crash and the preliminary report states that Pierson was driving his marked patrol unit north on State Highway 147 and failed to yield to a 2014 Peterbilt truck tractor semi-trailer that was traveling west on State Highway 103, “striking the trailer portion of it.”

2 dead, 2 injured in fire rescue helicopter crash in Pompano Beach, Florida

Broward County, FL — A Broward County, Florida, sheriff’s fire rescue helicopter crashed into an apartment complex Monday morning, leaving two people dead and two others injured. Authorities identified the dead as Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue Capt. Terryson Jackson, who was in the helicopter, and an unnamed adult woman who lived in the apartment complex. The crash occurred near an airfield just north of Fort Lauderdale as the helicopter was on its way to an emergency call, authorities said.

Man killed in construction accident at Boxboro recycling plant

BOXBORO, MA – A man was killed in a construction accident at a recycling plant in Boxboro Monday. Police were called to the facility on Codman Hill Road just after 2 p.m. and found the unidentified man in his 40’s seriously hurt. It’s not clear yet what happened. Police said in a statement the man was hurt “from a heavy piece of machinery that was operating on the property.” He was rushed to a hospital where he died. Boxboro Police and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are still looking into the accident.

Person killed in accident at plant in Sanford

Sanford, NC — A person died Monday in an accident at Pentair, a plant that builds and supplies products for pools and water supply and disposal. Limited details were available about the deadly accident, which occurred between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. at the plant at 1620 Hawkins Ave., according to the state Department of Labor. The Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) division will investigate the death on Tuesday. WRAL News received multiple emails from viewers saying the woman who died at Pentair was an employee, but there was no confirmation from authorities.

Local Man Killed in Tree-Cutting Accident

Perry County, TN — A Perry County man was killed in a tree-cutting accident on Tom’s Creek Lake Road just after 1:00 p.m., Saturday, August 26, 2023. Phillip Majors, Jr.—better known locally as “Peter Rabbit”—was cutting the tree for a property owner he has worked for in the past, said Perry County EMS Director Gary Rogers who responded to the scene. As the tree fell and Majors was moving away, a ten-inch limb struck him in the back of the head, Rogers said, resulting in almost immediate death. “The people who were there tried to help as best they could, but it was just one of those tragic accidents where nothing could be done,” Rogers told the Review. It was unclear, Rogers said, if the limb struck Majors while still attached to the falling tree or if it broke away and landed on the victim. The tree itself was not on top of Majors, Rogers said. The accident occurred near Denson’s Landing on the Tennessee River, northwest of Pineview.

Valet shot, killed attempting to stop Buckhead car break-in

ATLANTA, GA — A man was shot and killed early Sunday morning while trying to stop a car break-in on Piedmont Road, according to Atlanta Police. Officers said the victim, Harrison Olvey, was 25 years old and believe him to be a valet in the area. The incident happened just after 2:00 a.m. He was taken to Grady Hospital but police said he died from his gunshot wound.

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