Weekly Toll

How workers died last week: Falls, crushed by an excavator, machinery and vehicle incidents, explosion, electrocution. 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.

Dean Melavic Pronounced Dead after Workplace Accident at Former Holly Sugar Plant

TRACY, CA (November 10, 2023) – Sunday evening, a workplace accident at a former Holly Sugar Plant took the life of Dean Melavic. Around 10:20 a.m., units from the South San Joaquin County Fire responded to the plant at the 20500 block of Holly Drive. According to reports, a person fell into a large silo at the facility. Officials said the worker fell approximately 80 feet inside the machinery. Rescuers used a rope pulley system and at least sixteen personnel to extricate the man’s body from the silo. First responders later declared the man dead at the scene. The San Joaquin Medical Examiner later identified the deceased worker as 53-year-old Dean Melavic of Elk Grove.

Waste management worker killed in Lexington County vehicle collision

LEXINGTON COUNTY, S.C. (WACH) — The Lexington County Coroner’s Office has identified the waste management worker who died after being struck by a vehicle on Monday. Coroner Margaret Fisher said Kenneth Charles Shuman Jr., 45, of Columbia was collecting trash bins for an environmental waste management company when he was struck by a vehicle traveling westbound. The incident occurred in the 5600 block of Wescott Road in the Columbia area of Lexington County at approximately 4:40 p.m. on November 6. Shuman was pronounced dead at the scene from his injuries, Fisher said.

New Orleans man killed in accident at Nucor iron plant in St. James

St. James, LA — Nucor Steel shut its iron plant in St. James Parish for four hours Thursday to remember a New Orleans man who had been killed while on the job nearly a week earlier, company officials said Friday. Donald Mesman Jr. died as a result of an accident Nov. 3 at the plant in Convent, according to Nucor official Leon Topalian.

Chicago firefighter dies after battling Lincoln Park fire

CHICAGO, IL – A Chicago firefighter who was badly injured  Monday morning at a building in Lincoln Park on the city’s North Side has died. Firefighter/EMT Andrew “Drew” Price, 39, sustained serious injuries after a “bad fall” while fighting the fire at a four-story mixed occupancy building in the 2400 block of North Lincoln Avenue, fire commissioner Annette Nance-Holt said during a press conference. She said the building was occupied at the time of the fire. Around 6 a.m., Price was opening holes on the roof to ventilate the fire when he fell through a light shaft and became trapped behind a wall, according to Nance-Holt. A mayday was immediately called and firefighters had to force a hole through a wall in order to extricate Price, she said. “When we first got eyes upon him, firefighter Price was responsive. They asked him if he could hear him to move his arm. He moved his arm,” said 12th Battalion Chief Michael McCormick. Price was given CPR at the scene before being transported to Illinois Masonic Hospital in critical condition, Nance-Holt said. He later died of his injuries.

Michigan tow truck driver killed on the job honored with tow truck procession

Keagen Spencer

HASTINGS, Mich. — On Nov. 4, state police said 25-year-old Keagan Spencer was towing vehicles when he stopped on the median on M-6 near Kraft to help a lost dog. Police said a car driving eastbound lost control and drove onto the median, striking Spencer and killing him. Spencer was a third-generation tow truck driver from Hastings and leaves behind a fiancé, a young daughter and a soon-to-be stepson. To honor Spencer, a tow truck procession was held on Saturday at Spencer’s Towing and Tire, a business his grandfather founded.

Employee killed in industrial accident at Acipco in Birmingham

Birmingham, AL — A man was killed in a weekend industrial accident at Acipco. The Jefferson County Coroner’s Office identified the victim as Cederic Garner. He was 52 and lived in Birmingham. Birmingham Fire and Rescue Service and Birmingham police were dispatched about 9:15 a.m. Saturday to the facility at 2798 16th Street North. BFRS Lt. Catina Williams said crews extricated the worker from a production machine inside the plant and took him to UAB Hospital. Garner was pronounced dead at the hospital at 10:08 a.m.

South Los Angeles Cannabis Dispensary Security Guard Killed, Suspect At Large in Hyde Park Shooting

Los Angeles, CA — Last night, gunfire rang out in South Los Angeles, killing a 27-year-old security guard at a marijuana dispensary. The incident occurred on Crenshaw Boulevard in Hyde Park and has left the community reeling. The suspected gunman, described as a 25-year-old Hispanic male, was reportedly accompanied by two other Hispanic men, and remains at large. The details surrounding the shooting are still under investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department, as per KTLA. Local law enforcement to quickly responded to the reports of shooting, which took place at around 6:20 p.m. Upon arrival, they discovered a man in his 20s, the security guard, dead from multiple gunshot wounds, and scattered pieces of broken glass around the entryway of the dispensary according to CBS News. He was identified as Francisco Alonzo, according to a statement by the Los Angeles Police Department.

Worker dies after accident at Detyens Shipyard, police say

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The North Charleston Police Department (NCPD) is investigating an incident at Detyens Shipyard where a worker died falling through an open hatch on a ship. Officers responded to the report shortly before 11 a.m. Saturday. According to NCPD, the male victim was deceased at the scene. Employee deaths at the shipyard on Dry Dock Avenue have been on the rise in recent years. Even though shipyards are inherently dangerous places, a 2022 investigation by The Post and Courier showed the private ship repair business has begun to average one death per year in an industry that typically sees six nationwide.

Madison Man Dies in Industrial Explosion Accident

Madison, Ind. – A Madison man sustained fatal injuries in an industrial explosion accident on Monday afternoon. Madison Police responded to the U.S. Premier Tube Mill on Michigan Road around 1:36 p.m. Upon arrival, responding officers were directed to the maintenance area of the plant, where Christopher Jones, 31, was found unconscious and severely injured. Personnel from U.S. Premiere rendered first aid until emergency responders arrived, and Jones was transported from the scene to Nortons-KDH. Jones was eventually flown to a Louisville hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. The initial investigation shows that an acetylene tank exploded near Jones, who was believed to be alone in the maintenance room.

Va. construction worker killed by unoccupied bulldozer

Waynesboro, VA — A construction worker was killed Monday morning in Waynesboro in the 1800 block of Lyndhurst Road when struck by a moving but unoccupied bulldozer, according to the Waynesboro Police Department. The bulldozer also struck Oak United Methodist Church on Lyndhurst Road and a house before stopping in the 300 block of North Oak Lane. The accident happened shortly after 8 a.m. The police department said the victim, a 59-year-old man from Harrisonburg, was pronounced dead. His identity had not been released as of Monday afternoon. He was a member of the construction crew working in the 1800 block of Lyndhurst Road.

53-year-old Ballardsville firefighter dies after responding to fire on Saturday evening

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — A 53-year-old Ballardsville firefighter died on Saturday evening after experiencing a medical emergency while responding to a fire in Goshen. Jordan Yuodis, spokesperson for Anchorage Middletown Fire and EMS, said firefighters were working a scene on Saturday evening when a firefighter had a medical emergency. Thomas Petschke Jr. was taken to Norton Hospital, but he didn’t survive.

Worker killed in accident at Upstate manufacturing plant

GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) – The Greenville County Coroner’s Office said they are investigating after a person died at a Magna manufacturing plant on Thursday. Officials said they responded to the plant along Moon Acres Road at around 6 p.m. The coroner said 33-year-old Jean Rony Artistene was entrapped between two manufacturing tools operated by an overhead crane. He was pronounced dead when paramedics arrived. After an autopsy, the coroner determined Artistene died from traumatic asphyxia, or suffocation. His death was ruled accidental. The investigation by the coroner’s office continues and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is also investigating.

Employee killed in snowmobile accident at Lake Tahoe ski resort

ALPINE MEADOWS, CA – An investigation is underway after an employee died in an apparent snowmobile accident at the Alpine Meadows resort. California Highway Patrol confirmed that they responded to the scene along the 2600 block of Alpine Meadows Road just after 7:30 a.m. Thursday. Officers say a Palisades Tahoe employee died in the incident. Palisades Tahoe, who owns the resort, also confirmed that one of their team members had died. The Nevada County Sheriff’s Office identified the man as 34-year-old Brian Gimbert of Tahoma. According to Palisades Tahoe, Gimbert was in the middle of overnight snowmaking operations when the incident happened. The CHP said Gimbert was riding a Polaris snowmobile just south of the main lodge when he crashed into a rock that was about two feet in diameter and partially covered in snow sometime between 5 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. The Polaris rolled over and came to a rest on Gimbert after he was thrown off the snowmobile, the CHP said.

Man Dies in ‘Freak Accident’ After Getting Stuck in Cement Mixer Truck

Bronx, NY — A man has died after getting trapped in a cement mixer truck in New York City. The fatal accident took place on Monday at 1140 Grinnell Place in the Hunts Point neighborhood of the Bronx, NBC affiliate WNBC-TV, The New York Daily News and Norwood News reported. Emergency services responded to a call around 1:30 p.m. local time for help after a worker got “entangled” in the construction vehicle onsite, according to WNBC-TV and Norwood News. The victim — identified as Francisco Lumbreras by his family, according to New York Daily News — was pronounced dead at the scene, New York City Fire Department (FDNY) officials told WNBC-TV.

Excavator Collapses Onto Dump Truck, Killing Driver

Delray Beach, FL — A construction worker is dead after an excavator collapsed onto a dump truck on Thursday morning. It happened while debris was being cleared from a demolished home along A1A in Delray Beach. The man, who has not been identified, was in a dump truck when the piece of construction equipment toppled onto the vehicle. The worker who was operating the excavator was not hurt. The man in the truck was rushed to the hospital and pronounced dead.

Sturbridge man dies by electrocution at job site

Cambridge, MA — A 44-year-old Sturbridge man died Tuesday after he was electrocuted while working at an AT&T facility in Cambridge, authorities said. Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan and Cambridge Police Commissioner Christine Elow said in a news release that they are investigating the death of the man, who they did not name. Cambridge police responded to Bent Street at about 8:30 a.m. for a reported electrocution. They attempted lifesaving measures on the victim before taking him to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where he was pronounced dead. The preliminary investigation suggests that the man was working as a subcontractor at an AT&T facility, and had been working on an emergency lighting conduit.

Truck driver killed when vehicle crashes and bursts into flames on Thruway

TARRYTOWN, NY – A 53-year-old Clifton Park man was killed early Friday when the tractor-trailer he was driving struck a guardrail and storage outbuilding on the northbound Thruway in Tarrytown and burst into flames. When State Police arrived on the scene, the vehicle was engulfed in flames. A preliminary investigation determined the driver and sole occupant, Richard Simmons, left the road just before the Governor Cuomo Tappan Zee Bridge and struck the guiderail and building. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Austin police officer killed, 3 others dead after South Austin shooting

AUSTIN, Texas – The Austin Police Department is mourning the loss of one of its officers who was killed in a shooting in South Austin. At a news conference, officials went over the timeline of events saying that the incident began at around 2:49 a.m. when 9-1-1 received a call from someone requesting help and saying that someone was stabbing her. The first officer arrived at the scene at around 2:57 a.m. and officers were informed that there were two others inside the home injured. SWAT arrived at around 4:11 a.m. and forced entry a second time to rescue the people inside. It was at that time that the suspect fired at SWAT officers and officers returned fire. Officials say that at around 4:15 a.m., radio communication revealed that two officers had been shot. The officers were taken to the hospital. One of the officers, SPO Jorge Pastore, died from his injuries.

Texas EMS crew killed in ambulance, pickup collision

JIM HOGG COUNTY, Texas — Three people were killed in a head-on collision involving an ambulance in Jim Hogg County on Nov. 8. The Texas Department of Public Safety stated a pickup truck, traveling westward on Highway 16, collided with a Victorious Care Ambulance traveling in the opposite direction, KGNS reported. The victims have been identified as Jaime Barrera Junior, the driver pickup truck; Captain Andres Botello, the driver of the ambulance; and Firefighter/EMT Jose Guadalupe Cepeda, a passenger in the ambulance. Texas DPS stated that the driver of the pickup truck failed to drive in a single lane, crossing over to the eastbound lane and colliding head-on with the ambulance.

Country club worker dies after falling off cart

Bakersfield, CA — An employee of Seven Oaks Country Club died last month after falling off a utility cart at the property, the state Department of Industrial Relations reported Wednesday. The agency stated that the unidentified worker fell off the vehicle Oct. 13 and then died at home on Oct. 31. The DIR noted it was notified of the death Nov. 1 and said that it is investigating the situation.

Ski Resort Worker Dies

Truckee, CA — The California Highway Patrol is reporting that a 25-year-old male died early this morning. He was an employee at Alpine Meadows and crashed an over-the-snow vehicle into a rock around 5 a.m., but he wasn’t found until around 6:30. He was transported to Tahoe Forest Hospital in Truckee, where he was declared deceased.

Concrete truck driver killed in Iowa crash with semi

WEST BEND, Iowa (KCRG) — The Iowa State Patrol is investigating a crash that killed a driver in the north-central part of the state on Wednesday. It happened around 5 p.m. just south of West Bend, KCRG reports. Taylor Chance of Burt was driving a concrete truck when he collided with a semi-truck at an intersection, according to a crash report, which says the semi driver did not yield the right of way. Chance died from his injuries.

Store worker killed in apparent random shooting in small Iowa town; deputy shoots suspect

Monticello, IA — A grocery store worker in a small Iowa town was killed in what authorities described as an apparent “act of random violence,” and a deputy later shot the suspected shooter. Monticello Police Chief Britt D. Smith said in a news release that officers were sent to Fareway Meat and Grocery just before 7:30 a.m. Tuesday and found Aaron McAtee, 48, shot outside the store, near a loading dock. He was airlifted to a hospital, where he died.

Coroner identifies UPS driver killed in backup of crash involving ISP trooper, suspect arrested

CLARKSVILLE, Ind. (WAVE) – A UPS semi-truck driver is dead after a crash Tuesday morning near Clarksville. The Indiana State Police (ISP) said a police chase out of Scott County happened earlier that morning, reaching speeds of 120 MPH. This chase did not involve the UPS truck. The driver hit the ISP trooper, causing a crash. The trooper, Justin Mears, was taken to UofL Hospital for a head injury and has since been released. Then during the investigation of the ISP trooper crash, a backup had begun on I-65 South. There was a UPS semi-truck in that backup. Another semi-truck came up on the first one, didn’t see they were stopped, and slammed into the back of it. The semi-truck driver that hit the first truck was killed. There was a passenger in the sleeper cab of that truck as well. They were also injured and taken to UofL Hospital. They’re expected to survive. The driver of the UPS semi-truck who died was identified as 25-year-old Patrick Dene Harvey of Brownsburg, Indiana, according to officials.

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