weekly toll

How workers died last week: Two trenching fatalities, electrocution, falls, fires, public employee drowning, machinery deaths, shootings, stabbing, 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.

Person killed in trench collapse incident in Dubuque

DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) – At approximately 8:22 am, emergency crews responded to the 3100 block of Lake Ridge Dr. for a report of a construction site trench collapse. Responders arrived at the construction site to find excavation co-workers attempting to dig out an individual who was buried under approximately 7-8 feet of soil. Rescue crews immediately initiated recovery efforts and began efforts to shore up the trench to prevent additional collapsing. The deceased victim was recovered at 9:46 am. Jacob A. Young, 21, of Dubuque, was killed in the incident, city officials confirmed. An obituary states that Young was a 2021 graduate of Hempstead High School and an apprentice with UA Local No. 125 Plumbers and Pipefitters who was recently working with Smith Dirt Wrx of Peosta, Iowa.

Worker killed in Lewisville trench collapse

LEWISVILLE, Texas – A worker was killed when a trench collapsed in Lewisville on Friday. The incident happened as a part of a city project in the Indian Oaks subdivision near Wanderlust and Buffalo Bend Drive. The City of Lewisville says the work was being done by a contractor. The trench collapsed around 2 p.m. and there have been emergency crews in the area ever since. Lewisville and Coppell fire are working to secure the trench and perform a recovery the worker’s body. The worker, identified by fire officials as Carlos Caballo, 37, was confirmed dead shortly after 4 p.m., police say. Police confirmed the worker was from Axis Contracting. Lewisville’s website says the Indian Oaks project was meant to install new water and sewer lines among other improvements.

Body found in Flint River identified as missing Albany city worker

BAKER COUNTY, Ga. (WALB) – The body found Sunday in the Flint River near the Baker-Mitchell County line has now been identified. Albany city officials confirmed the body recovered was that of Darrious Stephens. Stephens, an Albany Public Works employee, went missing on Monday, Feb. 12, while taking water samples from the river during heavy rainfall. Stephens’ body was found by crews with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) two miles south of Punk’s Landing around 10:45 a.m., according to Albany Fire Chief Cedric Scott. Scott said the recovery, 20 days after he initially went missing, was made without the use of divers since his remains were made visible by the lower water level. Dougherty County Coroner Michael Fowler said Stephens’s cause of death is still under investigation. The GBI crime lab will determine his manner of death.

Warren, Ohio mail carrier shot, killed while in USPS van in ‘targeted attack,’ police say

Warren, OH — An Ohio mail carrier was shot and killed in his U.S. Postal Service van on Saturday in what police are calling a “targeted attack”. According to the Warren Police Department in Warren, Ohio, officers were dispatched to the scene around 1:44 p.m. Saturday March 2nd. When officers arrived, they found 33-year-old USPS employee Jonte Davis suffering from a gunshot wound. Police said Davis had been shot while inside his USPS van by a suspect in another vehicle. Officers performed “live-saving measures on scene” and Davis was transported to Trumbull Regional Medical Center, where he later died as a result of his injuries, according to police.

MTA worker killed in Harlem subway fire, 16 others injured

HARLEM, NY — An MTA worker died, and 16 others were injured after flames erupted inside a subway train in Harlem Friday morning. The NYPD previously said it believed the incident to be arson, and detectives are now investigating whether it may be connected to other fires in the transit system. The fire broke out at 3:18 a.m. Friday at the 110th Street Subway Station at Lenox Avenue. Upon arrival, firefighters found heavy fire inside the subway station coming from the subway cars. Heavy smoke and high heat confronted firefighters, and the fire quickly went to a second alarm. MTA motorman Garrett Goble, 36, was pronounced dead at St Luke’s Hospital. He leaves behind his wife Delilah and his two children. Four others were in serious condition. Another 12 people were treated for minor injuries, including five firefighters. When firefighters were able to get to Garrett, it was too late–Garrett’s body was found lying on the tracks not too far from the train and unresponsive. Garrett’s wife does not doubt that her husband died, helping others get off the train.

WSP mourns the loss of Trooper Christopher M. Gadd, killed in the line of duty on Interstate 5

MARYSVILLE, WA — The Washington State Patrol (WSP) and law enforcement agencies across the state are in mourning following the tragic death of Trooper Christopher M. Gadd, who was killed in the line of duty early Saturday morning on Interstate 5 near 136th Street North in Marysville. The incident, which took place just before 3 a.m., involved Gadd being struck by a motorist while Gadd was on the southbound lanes of I-5. Trooper Gadd, aged 27, had been with the WSP for over two and a half years and is remembered as the 33rd member of the WSP to fall in the line of duty during the agency’s 103-year history. He leaves behind his wife, Cammryn, daughter Kaelyn, father (WSP Trooper David Gadd), mother Gillian, sister Jacqueline (currently serving with the Texas Department of Public Safety), and a wide circle of family, friends, and colleagues. The early morning incident involved a high-speed vehicle veering off I-5 and striking Trooper Gadd’s parked vehicle. The suspect, a 32-year-old Lynnwood man, was arrested for vehicular homicide. A subsequent collision with a van resulted in non-life-threatening injuries to the van’s driver, with passengers unharmed.

Man falls to death from roof of Laurel plant

LAUREL, Miss. (WDAM) – A man working for a Texas company hired to fix the roof of the Masonite plant in Laurel died in an industrial accident Saturday morning. Laurel Police Department Chief Tommy Cox confirmed the death Sunday, saying that a crew member had died after a fall. Jones County Coroner Burl Hall identified the man as Cruz Lopez Calderon, who would have turned 47 years old Tuesday. Hall said Sunday that Calderon died at the scene after falling through the roof some 60 feet to a concrete floor. Hall said the man worked for a roofing company out of Fort Worth, Texas.

Centre WISP worker dies after electrocution in Penns Valley, police believe it was an accident

Gregg Township, PA — An unidentified worker died in Gregg Township on Wednesday after receiving a fatal electric shock, according to a report filed by state police at Rockview. At about 3:20 p.m., the person was electrocuted while working at 139 Tressler Lane, police wrote. Penns Valley EMS responded to the scene and attempted “life-saving measures,” but those efforts were unsuccessful. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the federal agency that monitors workplace safety, said Thursday the worker was employed by Centre WISP, which is installing broadband service in rural Centre County areas. An OSHA spokesperson confirmed the agency is launching an investigation into the death. A preliminary police report suggested the worker’s death was accidental in nature. Police did not provide any additional details and could not be reached for comment.

Warren die setter struck by falling cart becomes state’s fifth workplace fatality

Warren, MI — A 63-year-old die setter who was killed in a Macomb County workplace accident became the fifth worker death in Michigan so far this year, according to the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA). MIOSHA said the incident took place Jan. 24 when the die setter was standing on a semi-truck flatbed trailer, moving a rolling cart loaded with a die fixture to the side of the flatbed. The cart and die fixture fell off the flatbed and onto the victim who sustained multiple injuries. He was transported to a nearby hospital for treatment. The employer was notified the victim died on Feb. 22. State officials did not release the worker’s name or the name of the business involved in the incident.

Tractor-trailer driver killed in Interstate 85 North crash in Davidson County

DAVIDSON COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — The driver of a tractor-trailer is dead as the result of a crash on Interstate 85 North, according to North Carolina State Highway Patrol. The crash occurred at around 6:24 a.m. on Wednesday at Mile Marker 91 on I-85 North near Cotton Grove Road. Fatal crash shuts down Silas Creek Parkway at Peters Creek Parkway in Winston-Salem. Troopers say that an Amazon tractor-trailer was parked on the right shoulder of I-85 North when a second tractor-trailer ran off the right shoulder and struck it. The second tractor-trailer came back onto the highway and went off the left shoulder into the median and struck several trees. The driver of the second tractor-trailer died at the scene. Investigators are not aware of why the Amazon tractor-trailer was parked on the shou lder.

Man killed in tractor accident in Stanislaus County orchard

Merced County, CA — A man was killed while operating a tractor in a La Grange-area orchard Saturday afternoon, according to the Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District and the Sheriff’s Office. Shortly before 5 p.m., and at the request of Merced County Fire/Cal Fire, Stanislaus Consolidated was dispatched to a report of a man trapped between a tractor and a tree in the 1600 block of West Olsen Road. A battalion chief’s incident summary said a four-wheel drive apparatus was called because of muddy conditions in the orchard. “While en route, we were notified the subject was being brought to the pavement in a Kubota utility vehicle,” the summary says. It adds that medics then confirmed the man was dead, “due to obvious signs.” Sheriff’s Lt. brent Fainter said the man, whose identity was not available Sunday, was working for a tree-removal company. He said the man either was pinned between the tractor and a tree or beneath a tractor tire. Both the Sheriff’s Office and the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health are investigating the incident.

Iowa construction worker dies after being pinned by piece of equipment in Mahaska County

Mahaska County, IA — A construction worker died Wednesday at a Mahaska County jobsite after being pinned by a piece of equipment. Officers from the Mahaska County Sheriff’s Office responded to a medical call around 5 p.m. Wednesday in the 3300 block of Highway 92, where a bridge over the North Skunk River is currently under construction. While first responders were en route to the call, “it was learned that a construction worker had been pinned by a piece of construction equipment,” according to a news release from the Mahaska County Sheriff’s Office. The man was identified as Pablo Jesus Gomez-Garcia, 46, of Ottumwa. Other construction workers were able to free Gomez-Garcia before first responders arrived, but he died on the scene.

Court worker serving an eviction notice and an officer were fatally shot in Missouri, police say

Independence, MO — Police in Missouri have confirmed that one officer and a civil process server were killed — and two additional officers were hurt — after a shooting that began during an eviction in northeast Independence. Police have identified the deceased victims as 35-year-old officer Cody Allen and Drexel Mack, a civil process server in his early 40s. An unidentified male suspect is in custody following the deadly incident and is believed to have suffered minor injuries during the fatal exchange, which happened around 1:30 p.m. on Thursday. Allen, who had been with the Independence Police Department for two years and a member of law enforcement for much longer, is survived by his wife, two kids and his parents. Mack, an employee of the Jackson County courts for 12 years, is survived by his fiancée.

Cal/OSHA investigating death at North Bay grocery store

Vallejo, CA — Cal/OSHA is investigating the death of a 75-year-old man who lost consciousness during a suspected carbon monoxide leak at a Vallejo grocery store. The Cal/OSHA investigation into La Tapatia Market at 601 Broadway St. was opened on Friday, online records show, one day after the death. The Solano County Coroner’s Office said that Raul Contreras-Cervantes died at the store last week and the cause of death is pending further investigation. Vallejo firefighters responded to a call for a medical emergency at the market at 8:14 p.m. on Feb. 22 and detected carbon monoxide inside the building, said Vallejo Fire Department spokesperson Kevin Brown. The carbon monoxide is suspected in the man’s death and also in causing a first responder to pass out, according to scanner feeds from the incident. “While on scene, emergency crews identified a presence of elevated carbon monoxide levels, prompting the business to be closed,” Brown said. When the Chronicle called a phone number listed for Ismael Magallanes, the owner of La Tapatia, a man who answered hung up after the Chronicle reporter identified himself. An employee reached at the store Wednesday hung up on the Chronicle as well.

1 FDNY firefighter killed, 7 injured battling Brooklyn house blaze

Brooklyn, NY — An FDNY firefighter died Sunday in a raging three-alarm blaze that injured seven of his colleagues in Brooklyn, officials said. Timothy Klein, 31, died while working to knock down a fire at a home on Avenue N near E. 108th St. in Canarsie that erupted about 1:40 p.m. The six-year veteran was critically injured when the building collapsed, the FDNY announced. Acting FDNY commissioner Laura Kavanagh said Klein — assigned to Ladder 170 in Canarsie — was the 1,157th member of the department to die in the line of duty.

California dentist fatally shot at work, ‘disgruntled’ ex-customer arrested

EL CAJON, Calif. (KSWB) — A dentist is dead and two others are wounded after a man, believed to be a “disgruntled former patient,” allegedly opened fire in a southern California dentist’s office last week. Police in El Cajon, about 15 miles east of San Diego, were called to Smile Plus Dentistry and Orthodontics shortly after 4 p.m. Thursday for an active shooting. When officers arrived, they found three victims, El Cajon police explained. One of those victims, later identified as 28-year-old Benjamin Ariel Harouni by the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office, was pronounced dead at the scene from apparent gunshot injuries to the body. Harouni was a dentist at the Smile Plus Dentistry and Orthodontics location, according to the company’s website.

Two men killed in ‘workplace shooting’ at Salt Lake City manufacturing facility

SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) — Two men have died after a shooting at an X-ray imaging components manufacturing facility in Salt Lake City, police said. They responded to the Varex Imaging just after 2:30 p.m. on Sunday at 1678 South Pioneer Road after receiving a 911 call about a man with a gun at the business. Officials said this was not an active shooter situation and there is no outstanding suspect or threat to the community. Varex Imaging employees were on scene when the officers arrived. They said two men were located dead at the scene, including one who was found inside the complex and the other outside. They were identified on Monday as Hay Ly, 61, and Miller Bin, 56. The man found outside of the complex reportedly had a firearm near him.

OSHA investigating workplace death of South Bend man

LA PORTE COUNTY, Ind. – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is investigating a workplace death at Markman Peat, a soil and landscape product manufacturer located at Kingsbury Industrial Park. A 44-year-old South Bend man, Christopher Searle, was killed after getting stuck between two sections of a robotic palletizer. Federal officials are handling the investigation. OSHA also previously investigated Markman Peat in 2015 after the death of a 41-year-old worker, Alejandro Anguiana.

FedEx truck driver killed in fiery crash on I-294

NORTHBROOK, Ill. – The driver of a FedEx truck died in a fiery crash Tuesday morning on I-294 in Northbrook. The semi crashed into a guardrail and burst into flames around 2:30 a.m. in the northbound lanes of the Tri-State Tollway near the Lake-Cook Road exit ramp, according to Illinois State Police. The driver of the truck was thrown from the cab and was taken to Glenbrook Hospital where he was later pronounced dead, police said. His identity has not yet been released by the Cook County medical examiner’s office. The truck was still smoldering from the fully involved engine fire for four hours after the crash, and packages were strewn across the tollway. Fire officials said they do not know why the truck ran off the road.

Man dies in industrial accident

LAWRENCE, MA — A man died after an industrial accident Saturday morning at a Unitex Textile Rental Services, 155 Shepard St. The man, whose name, age or hometown is not being released, was brought to Lawrence General Hospital in cardiac arrest and passed from his injuries, according to Deputy Fire Chief Jack Meaney. The man got tangled in machinery will installing a dryer, Meaney said. Meaney added that the Lawrence Fire Department was dispatched to the scene at 8:22 a.m. By the time he was removed from the machine, the man was in cardiac arrest, said Meaney. The man was not an employee of Unitex but an employee of the company installing the machinery, said Meaney.

2 employees killed in Dallas hospital shooting

Dallas, TX — Two employees were shot and killed in a Dallas hospital Saturday morning, authorities said. The male suspect was shot and wounded by responding police. The situation unfolded at approximately 11 a.m. local time at Methodist Dallas Medical Center, according to a news release from the Methodist Health System. Methodist Health System police, along with Dallas police and Dallas Fire-Rescue, responded to an “active shooter call” at the hospital. Two employees were shot and killed by the suspect, Methodist Health said. The victims were not immediately identified. Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson tweeted that both employees were nurses, but neither the hospital nor law enforcement had publicly confirmed those details as of Sunday. A responding Methodist Health System police officer arrived on scene, “confronted the suspect” and then shot and wounded him, Methodist Health said. He was then transported to another hospital for treatment.

Phoenix food truck employee killed in stabbing

Phoenix, AZ — Heriberto Acosta, an employee of Mariscos Las Islitas food truck in Phoenix, Arizona was killed recently in a stabbing incident. A group of men attacked and killed Acosta while he and other employees were shutting down the food truck for the evening, according to a report by AZ Family. There have been no arrests made, according to the report. The community has expressed concerns over the safety of the area.

BK Bodega Worker Fatally Shot In Spat Over Cigar

BROOKLYN, NY — A Crown Heights bodega worker was fatally shot in the head during an argument over a cigar in Crown Heights, according to police and reports. Cops found Nazim Berry, 37, bleeding from a gunshot wound to his head Monday afternoon inside a Franklin Avenue deli, NYPD officials said. Berry was rushed to NYC Health and Hospitals/Kings County, where he was later pronounced dead, authorities said.

Dump Truck Driver Killed in Early Morning Rollover Crash on U.S. 27 in Broward County

Broward County, Fl — A fatal twist of the wheel before dawn claimed the life of a dump truck driver on U.S. 27 in Broward County, Florida. The Florida Highway Patrol reported that the single-vehicle wreck occurred around 6:42 a.m. Tuesday near Mile Marker 40, when a southbound 1992 Ford dump truck careered off the asphalt and flipped over the roadside. Despite the early morning efforts of emergency services, the driver was pronounced dead at the site of the crash. The cause of the accident remains unknown, leaving authorities to puzzle over the moments leading up to the deadly turnover. The name of the driver is withheld, pending the notification of next-of-kin.

Investigators identify employee who died in a state office building stairway

Annapolis, MD — Ron Snyder, a spokesperson for the Maryland State Police, said the investigation continues into the death of Janai White, an employee of the Department of General Services. White, 36 of Baltimore County, was discovered Feb. 9 in a stairway inside the Attman-Glazer building at 45 Calvert St. in Annapolis. A cause of death has not yet been released. Foul play is not suspected, according to Snyder. State officials so far have answered few questions about White’s death.

One thought on “Weekly Toll: How Workers Die”
  1. What’s so insidious about headlines that read “[Victim] dies in industrial accident” – aside from “accident” nonsensically alluding to something that was unavoidable – is that industrial incidents as reported do not capture a fraction of the gruesomeness involved. ‘Caught in a machine’ sounds so benign compared to the stark reality, but then I guess for journalism purposes something like ‘entangled in a lathe’ will have to do in place of ‘bodily twisted and broken apart.’

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