Weekly Toll

How workers died last week: Workplace violence, mine building collapse, firefighting, drowning, tree care, shooting, vehicle 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.

Construction site worker killed by bulldozer in Waynesboro

HARRISONBURG, Va. – The Waynesboro Police Department says a Harrisonburg man was hit and killed by a bulldozer at a construction site in Waynesboro. According to the Waynesboro Police Department (WPD), the incident happened on Monday, Nov. 6, when officers responded just after 8 a.m. to a construction site for a report that a 59-year-old man was hit by a construction vehicle. The WPD says based on its preliminary investigation, officers say an unoccupied moving bulldozer allegedly hit a member of the construction crew that was working on site, went east to North Oak Lane, hit Oak Hill United Methodists Church, a house, and then came to a stop in the 300 block of North Oak Lane. The construction worker who was reportedly hit by the vehicle was pronounced dead, and investigators from the Occupational Health & Safety Administration responded to the scene, and their investigation is ongoing, the WPD says.

Visiting nurse found dead in halfway house basement. Convicted sex offender detained.

Joyce Grayson

Willimantic, CT — A convicted sex offender is the prime suspect in the murder of a visiting nurse who was found dead in the basement of the Connecticut halfway house where he was living, according to authorities. Joyce Grayson, a mother and grandmother who dedicated her life to caring for others, was killed in Willimantic while working as a visiting nurse Michael C. Reese is currently facing drug paraphernalia possession and larceny charges for having the victim’s credit cards and car key but soon may face much more serious offenses. Family members of the nurse called police to report her missing after she failed to return from an appointment with Reese at a halfway house in Willimantic on Saturday morning. The appointment was only supposed to last eight minutes, but the GPS tracker said her phone was still there nearly four hours later, according to a probable cause arrest affidavit obtained by Law&Crime. Its tracker shut off shortly before noon. Grayson had also missed all her subsequent appointments. Officers responded to the home but no one answered. The nurse’s car also was not there. Police learned Reese, who was on probation and was a sex offender with “violent tendencies,” was living at the halfway house, which was designed to reintegrate sex offenders into society.

APD investigation details employee fatality at truck stop

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — An investigation has determined the circumstances resulting in the death of a truck stop employee Sunday morning, an Albuquerque Police Department news release said. A man working at the TA Truck stop on University Boulevard NE had asked two commercial semi-trucks parked next to each other to move to a different place in the parking lot. After asking the driver of one truck to move, the man was on his way to speak to the driver of the second truck when he was hit by the trailer of the first truck, which was already moving forward, the release said. After being hit, the man fell under the trailer’s tires and was dragged a short distance. He was fatally injured, the release said.

Redford Union High School custodian killed by co-worker

REDFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (FOX 2) – A Redford Union High School custodian is dead after a co-worker fatally assaulted him inside the school Thursday. Police said the assault happened around 5:30 p.m. in an area of the school where no teachers or students were present, and there was never a threat to any else. The victim was taken to a hospital, where he died. A 42-year-old Detroit man was arrested. Due to the assault, school was canceled Friday.

School bus aide dies days after bus crash

GALWAY, N.Y. — A school bus crashed into a tree in Saratoga County recently, sending three people to the hospital. An accident report filed with the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Department and obtained by NEWS10 indicates that school bus aid Kim Marie Tittensor died five days later from an injury sustained in that crash. “I talked to her on the phone that night after that,” said Tittensor’s son, Deven Swiergiel, remembering the day of the crash. “All things considered; she sounded pretty good. She was just tired. And then Sunday was the last time anybody heard from her. And the coroner told us it was delayed hematoma rupture of the spleen.” Tittensor, 56, a longtime resident of Galway, was found dead in her home. Though she was injured on the job, being a school bus aide was a blessing for her, according to her son. “I can’t remember a single call that I had with her that she didn’t mention the kids,” Swiergiel said. “She just absolutely loved them. I think it was like the highlight of her day.”

Construction worker killed in jobsite accident

BRIGHTON, Colo. — A man died after a construction site accident Friday morning in Brighton, police said. The Brighton Police Department said it happened about 9:30 a.m. near East 144th Avenue and Primrose Circle. The initial investigation showed that a construction worker operating a dump truck was going slowly in reverse when he ran over another worker, police said. The 65-year-old victim died at the scene. His name will be released by the Adams County Coroner’s Office. The 46-year-old man who was driving the truck was arrested for careless driving causing death. Police said he was uninjured and cooperative, and showed no signs of impairment.

Indiana firefighter dies in line of duty

INDIANAPOLIS, IN — An Indiana firefighter died in the line of duty Thursday night in Vigo County. The Prairieton Fire Department announced District Chief Dave Phelps died of an apparent heart attack while responding to a structure fire. Phelps had served the community for nearly 60 years and “was a highly respected firefighter that had a love and passion for the job.” “This is a great loss for our department, the community and his family,” the department posted on Facebook. “Please continue to pray for strength for his friends, family and fellow firefighters.”

OSHA investigating worker death at lake in Jackson Township

Jackson Township, OH — Authorities are investigating the death of a 22-year-old worker who drowned Tuesday on the job in Jackson Township. Scott Allen, a Public Information Officer for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said the agency is looking into the death of the worker from a Cincinnati-based company, Jones Lake Management, which according to its website, provides pond and lake care. Emergency crews were called out Tuesday afternoon to a ten-acre lake in Jackson Township searching for the victim. The Mahoning County Coroner David Kennedy reported of the death of Tyler Webb, a 22 year-old man was recovered from a private pond in North Jackson at 5:38 pm. The autopsy was conducted at the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office. The incident remains under investigation by the Jackson Police Department and the Mahoning County Coroner’s Office.

Truck driver killed in Saunders County crash Wednesday afternoon

CEDAR BLUFFS, Neb. (WOWT) – The Saunders County Sheriff’s Office says a semi driver was killed in a crash near Cedar Bluffs Wednesday afternoon. SCSO tells 6 News they were called to an accident along Nebraska Highway 105 west of County Road 22, five-and-a-quarter miles west of Cedar Bluffs, just before 1:30 p.m. The initial investigation showed a 2016 Mack truck was eastbound on Highway 105 when it went off the road, over-corrected, and flipped, landing in the north ditch. The driver, Jim Horn, 76, of Schuyler, was taken to Methodist Fremont Health and later airlifted to Nebraska Medicine in Omaha, where he was pronounced dead.

Worker killed by falling branch while trimming trees in Scottsdale

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — A man who was trimming trees in Scottsdale was killed by a falling branch Wednesday, officials with the Scottsdale Fire Department said. Scottsdale police said detectives are investigating the incident but foul play is not believed to have played a part in the man’s death. The worker was trimming trees near 64th Street and Indian School Road when the branch fell. He suffered severe injuries to his upper body. Police said they are working to identify the man, who does not have a government-issued ID. At this point, the man’s identity has only been verbally communicated to officers. The man has family in another country, according to police.

Garbage worker killed after being attacked by dog, run over in Mississippi

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WTVA) – A garbage truck worker was killed after being attacked by a dog and then accidentally run over in Lowndes County Wednesday morning. The victim was identified as 31-year-old Jonirus Davis, according to Lowndes County Coroner Greg Merchant. Davis was an employee at Golden Triangle Waste Services. The incident happened on Hanson Drive while the garbage truck was backing down a lane. “At least” one dog attacked Davis, who then fell off the garbage truck. The driver didn’t see Davis fall and the truck accidentally ran over him.

Austin airport employee fatally struck by vehicle on tarmac

AUSTIN, Texas — A vehicle fatally struck a City of Austin government employee on the tarmac of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, officials said Tuesday, the second fatal incident this year involving a worker at the airport in the Texas capital. The person was identified as an airport employee but authorities did not immediately release details about how the collision on Tuesday occurred. In April, an American Airlines employee died after driving a service vehicle that struck a jet bridge. Work around commercial airplanes has resulted in other fatal injuries in recent years. At the Austin airport in 2020, a man was fatally struck by a Southwest Airlines jet on a runway. Police later ruled his death a suicide and officials said the man was not authorized to be on the runway. In December, a baggage handler for American Airlines subsidiary Piedmont Airlines in Montgomery, Alabama, died when she walked in front of a running jet engine and was pulled into the fan blades.

2nd worker trapped under collapsed Kentucky coal prep plant has died, governor says

Inez, KY — The second of two workers trapped under a coal mine preparation plant that collapsed earlier this week in eastern Kentucky has died, Gov. Andy Beshear announced Friday. “This is a heartbreaking situation,” the Democratic governor wrote on social media, calling for prayers for the men’s loved ones. The two men — identified as Billy Ray Daniels and Alvin Nees — were trapped under rubble at the Martin Mine Prep Plant in Martin County after an 11-story abandoned building crashed down around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. The men were on the scene completing work to prepare for its demolition. Daniels was originally located alive, but officials announced Wednesday that he died during rescue efforts. Crews worked around the clock for days digging through steel and concrete wreckage to find Nees, 57. Martin County Judge Executive Lon Lafferty said at a press conference earlier Friday the Nees family was “still holding out hope and prayer” that he would be found alive. According to the Mountain Citizen, a news organization in Martin County, the plant hasn’t been in use for several years and the men were salvaging material from the building when it collapsed. The men were part of a contracting team disassembling and salvaging equipment at the idled preparation plant and were on the first floor when the tipple fell. A tipple is a structure used to extract coal.

Contract worker’s suicide closes Middle Tennessee State University building, police say

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WZTV) — Officials say a contract worker took their own life on Middle Tennessee State University’s campus Wednesday morning. There is no immediate threat to campus, MTSU News and Murfreesboro Police Department confirm. The incident closed MTSU’s Peck Hall Wednesday due to the death. The worker is the only individual that was found dead, officers confirm. MPD’s Public Information Officer Larry Flowers says the contract worker did have access to the building and was the only individual inside at the time of the apparent suicide.

Saginaw County business owner killed when tree falls on him

SAGINAW, MI — The owner of a Saginaw County tree service has died after a tree fell on him. About 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28, Jason J. Gemple, 51, and an employee of his A Best Deal Tree Service were cutting down several trees on the property of Quick Stop Party Shoppe, 1325 Weiss St., said Saginaw Police Detective Sgt. Matthew Gerow. The two workers were trying to bring down a large tree when it fell on top of Gemple, Gerow said. The injury proved fatal and Gemple died a short time later. The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration is heading an investigation into Gemple’s death.

Whitesburg, Kentucky firefighter dies in line of duty

WHITESBURG, Ky. (WJHL) — A Whitesburg, Kentucky firefighter died on Monday after being in a coma for three days. According to the Kentucky Firefighters Association, Assistant Chief Joe Back collapsed and went unconscious while on the scene of an emergency medical response on Friday. Back was treated immediately and was taken to a nearby hospital where he remained in a coma until his death on Monday afternoon, the association said.

Fort Worth officer dies after contracting COVID-19 on duty

Fort Worth, TX — Police are mourning the loss of one of their own. SGT Jon Jensen served with the department for 26 years. He died over the weekend of complications from COVID-19, which his wife says he contracted while on the job. T Vickie said her husband got the virus while on the job. “I was always scared of him getting COVID because he already had lung problems, he has—he’s an asthmatic,” she said. hey contracted the virus in mid-August, and she said her husband was in and out of the hospital from then on.

Kentucky firefighter dies while responding to ATV accident

HENDERSON, Ky. (WEHT) — A firefighter in Leslie County, Kentucky has died after getting injured while responding to an ATV accident. According to the Kentucky Firefighters Association, Regina Huffman of Coon Creek Fire & Rescue was responding to an ATV accident with two people hurt around 10:00 on Saturday night. The vehicle Huffman was riding in slipped off the roadway, went down an embankment and hit a house. Officials said Huffman and another firefighter, her oldest son, were hurt. Huffman died a few hours later at a hospital. Her son’s injuries were minor.

Former Paulding high school soccer star killed by stray bullet while at work, GBI says

Brianna Long

Paulding, Georgia — A former Paulding County High School soccer star is dead after officials say she was shot at work. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said on Saturday at around 2:30 a.m. Remerton police officers received reports of a person shot at The Pier Bar on Baytree Place. When officers arrived, they located a woman who had been shot. Officials said she died at the hospital. GBI officials identified the victim as 21-year-old Brianna Long, a bartender at The Pier. According to the investigation, the bar had closed around 2 a.m., and employees, along with Long, were finishing up closing down the bar. Officials added that many employees and their friends were still inside the bar. GBI officials said at 2:30 a.m., gunfire erupted outside of the bar and struck Long as she was finishing her work with another co-worker. It was determined that a dispute that took place outside of the bar was what led to the shooting, authorities said.

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