Thursday, February 05, 2009

Weekly Toll: Death in the American Workplace

Worker dies at shipping, storage company

Fabruary 8, Baton Rouge, Louisiana - Authorities say the death of a 45-year-old worker at Cemus LLC appears to have been an accident. Paulino Romelio Martinez Vasquez of Satsuma, La., died around 10:30 a.m. Saturday after authorities say he was trapped between two pieces of equipment. However, authorities did not release the exact cause of death.

Crane falls down, killing worker

February 8, Boston, Massachusetts - One worker was killed and another seriously injured after a crane used to inspect the roof of a seven-story Suffolk University dormitory fell over yesterday morning, its 110-foot metal arm plummeting through the air before slamming into a building in the heart of busy Downtown Crossing. District Fire Chief Ron Harrington said both workers who were in the basket as it plunged into a paved lot were severely injured, and one was found at the scene without a pulse. The workers were identified as James Williamson and Greg Johnson by Valerie Wencis, a spokeswoman for Massachusetts General Hospital. Williamson died at 8:15 p.m. from injuries sustained in the accident, and Johnson was listed in serious condition last night, Wencis said.

Funeral Services for Officer Killed During Traffic Stop

February 9, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - Family and friends will gather Wednesday in remembrance of Officer Christopher Jones of Middletown Township who was killed in the line of duty. Officer Jones lost his life on a Bucks County Highway last Thursday. He was hit and killed during a traffic stop on I-95. Weather permitting; the body of Officer Jones will be taken in a horse drawn carriage to Our Lady of Grace church in Penndel, Bucks County Wednesday.

Man found dead at Northeast barbecue restaurant

February 7, El Paso, Texas - A man was found dead near a smoker oven at MO'z Bar-B-Que restaurant, 4011 Fred Wilson, Saturday morning. At 7:41 a.m. fire officials were called to the scene after a 67-year-old black man was found death with burns throughout his body. Investigators with the Fire Marshals Office and the El Paso Police Department's Crimes Against Persons unit were called to the scene to look into the man's death. Fire officials said the man was an employee at the restaurant and had last been seen by coworkers at about 2 a.m. The man may have died of natural causes. An investigation continues, officials said.

Worker killed by falling tree

February 7, Memphis, Tennessee - A man attempting to remove a 100-foot-tall tree at Big Creek Golf Course was killed today when the tree fell on him, according to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff’s investigators identified the man as Cruz Ayala Delgado, who died at the scene. The accident occurred just after 8:30 a.m. Investigators said Big Creek employees attempted to help Delgado and lift the large tree but were unsuccessful.

Worker Identified in Landfill Accident

February 8, Ellenwood, Georgia - Authorities have identified a man they say was killed after he fell into a 60 foot deep shaft on which he was working. Zackerie Knight, 20 of Christiansburg, Ohio was working on the shaft at the DeKalb County Seminole Road Landfill at 4203 Clevermont Rd. in Ellenwood on Saturday. Official said he had just finished removing a grate when he fell into the shaft. Rescue crews recovered the body late Saturday evening.

Driver dies when truck flips at mine

February 7, Charleston, West Virginia - A contract truck driver was killed Friday morning at a Massey Energy strip mine in eastern Kanawha County, state and federal officials said. William Wade, 70, of Bloomingrose, lost control of his truck on a haul road at Massey subsidiary Elk Run Coal Co.'s Republic Energy Surface Mine, said Jama Jarrett, spokeswoman for the state Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training. Amy Louviere, spokeswoman for the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration, said the truck was traveling downhill on the paved road. "An eyewitness saw the truck travel a short distance up an embankment and then flip over," Louviere said. "The driver was ejected from the truck and was fatally injured when he was pinned under the cab."

Recalling a fallen officer

February 5, Torrance, California - Sick with a cold, Lisa Simmons awakened sometime after midnight and saw that her husband was not lying next to her. Figuring he was downstairs, she got up, went to the bathroom, returned to bed and turned on the television. "I had no idea he had left the house," Lisa Simmons said. A short time later, the phone rang. A Los Angeles police official told her to be ready to be picked up. Something had happened to her husband, Randal Simmons. This surprised his wife. "I said, `He's here. He's downstairs,' " Simmons recalled during an interview this week at her Rancho Palos Verdes home. "I didn't hear him leave." Her 51-year-old husband, a 20-year veteran of the special weapons team, had been shot during a gunbattle with a man who had killed his father and two brothers.

Worker killed by post-hole digger

Dos Palos, California -- A 20-year-old Dos Palos man died Wednesday after he was crushed by an industrial post-hole digger. Martin Valencia was working on a farm around 11 a.m. in the 6300 block of Eucalyptus Avenue, near Dos Palos. Valencia and another man, who was operating the tractor, were digging holes. A spinning bolt on the drill caught his jacket and pulled him toward the shaft and into the hole. The machine crushed his body before it could be turned off. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Man dies at DeSoto natural gas well site

Fenbruary 5, Stonewall, Louisiana — A man believed to be from the Shreveport-Bossier City area is dead as a result of an accident at a natural gas well site on Twin Oaks Road in Stonewall. Chesapeake Energy Corp. will have investigators there today to try to determine the cause of the accident that killed Jonathan Brazzel, 25, DeSoto Sheriff Rodney Arbuckle said. DeSoto authorities still were investigating the accident Wednesday night. "We've got a lot of piecing together to do," the sheriff said two hours after the accident was called into his office about 5 p.m.

Carpenter dead in 25-foot fall through roof

February 4, Deerfeild — Federal and state authorities are investigating the death of a carpenter who fell through a farm warehouse roof in Deerfield. Police say 53-year-old Richard Perry of Conway was one of three carpenters working on the roof Tuesday when he fell about 25 feet to a concrete floor below. Perry was taken to Baystate Franklin Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

Sulphur convenient store clerk killed at work

February 4, Lake Charles, Louisiana - Murder shocks the Sulphur community after a man allegedly kills a convenient store clerk for his car. James Richard,21, is being held without bond and the Calcasieu Correctional Center. Sulphur Police Asst. Chief Glenn Berry said Richard entered the EZ Mart on Highway 90 and Cities Service Hwy and killed Benjamin Mevis, 26. "It's a totally senseless killing that happened here (Citgo), last night. Mr. Richard came in and the only thing we can notice that's missing is Mr. Mevis's car," said Asst. Chief Berry.

Construction worker killed in trench collapse

February 4, Cartersville, Alamaba - A construction foreman was killed Wednesday afternoon when a trench collapsed near Cartersville. Authorities said James Hilbish, 46, of Tuscaloosa, Ala., was killed when the accident occurred just before noon, but it took firefighters more than three hours to extract the body. The trench collapsed during sewer line installation, said Bartow County Fire Chief Craig Millsap. Hilbish worked for Tunco Co. of Tuscaloosa, which had subcontracted work with the Bartow County Water Department, authorities said. No one else was injured. Because trench rescues are so dangerous, Bartow authorities called in members of the Georgia Search and Rescue team, which included firefighters from Calhoun, Bartow, Cobb and Gordon counties.

Domino Sugar worker killed in forklift accident

February 4, Maryland - A worker at the Domino Sugar factory in Baltimore died early today in a forklift accident -- Maryland's first industrial workplace fatality this year, authorities said. City paramedics responded to the waterfront factory, in the 1100 block of Key Highway, at 2:42 a.m., according to Chief Kevin Cartwright, a city Fire Department spokesman. They found a man suffering from trauma to his head near a forklift, he said. Paramedics pronounced the man dead at the scene. None of the city or state agencies involved in the investigation -- nor his employer or the union that represented him -- would release the man's name today. A Domino spokeswoman said in an e-mail that the man's name was being withheld "out of respect for the family." Officials did not release details about how the man was injured.

Company fined in worker's fatal fall

February 3, Council Bluffs, Iowa - The company that employed a construction worker who was killed in a fall last year in Omaha was fined $26,600 after a government investigation. Jose D. Sanchez Dominguez, 34, of Texas was killed Jan. 27, 2008, while working on the new Wal-Mart at 72nd and Hickory Streets. Luis Alejuandro Azeona Rocha, 21, of Mexico also fell and was critically injured. The men, employed by D&Br Building Systems of Edgewood, Texas, a subcontractor on the construction project, were attaching corrugated panels to the roof when a panel gave way. Omaha police said the two men fell at least 25 feet onto some metal.

Bus falls on Berea man, killing him at Cleveland repair shop

February 3, Cleveland, Ohio - A 35-year-old Berea man was killed on the job Monday at a West Side auto-repair shop. An airport bus fell on top of Kenneth L. Cross at Kilbane's Auto Service on Chatfield Avenue near West 150th Street. The married man's birthday was Thursday. Cross had worked at the shop for about 8 years. A distraught co-worker said Cross "was a good-working, easy-going guy." The Cuyahoga County coroner is doing an autopsy today. The death was tentatively ruled an accident caused by asphyxia.

Company official dies in accident at mill

February 4, Atchison, Kansas — A machinery accident Monday killed a Golden Star official at its Atchison yarn mill. Joseph K. Julo, 48, died about 11:35 a.m. as a result of injuries, said Gary Gradinger, chairman and chief executive officer of Golden Star. The Atchison Fire Department received a call at 10:55 a.m. saying a machine had fallen on someone, said Fire Chief Michael McDermed. The machine was used to press mop heads and is estimated to weigh between 2,000 and 2,500 pounds. The accident pinned Mr. Julo to the floor, causing severe head trauma, said John Calhoon, Atchison County sheriff.

Merrillville police officer dies of heart attack

February 3, Merrillville, Indiana - Police expect hundreds of people to turn out Thursday for the funeral of Sgt. Ed Westbury, a veteran police officer and volunteer firefighter who died Sunday after suffering a heart attack in his patrol car. Westbury, 56, was found in his squad car less than a block away from police headquarters, after dispatchers called on his cell phone when he didn't respond to repeated calls on his police radio. "When they called his phone, he answered and said, 'I think I'm having a heart attack,' and called for an ambulance," said department spokesman Lt. Lance Huish on Monday.

Man dies in crane mishap in Maryland Heights

February 3, Maryland Heights, Montana - A construction worker was killed in a crane mishap this morning at the Edward Jones contruction site near Westport, police say. Police identified the victim as Steven Michael Lillicrap, 21, of the 5400 block of Edelweis Lane in south St. Louis County. Maryland Heights Police Sgt. William Fink said Lillicrap was working on a project for McCarthy Bros. near the intersection of Interstate 270 and Dorsett Road. The construction site is at 9 American Industrial Court.

MillerCoors Employee Dies At Golden Plant

February 3, Golden, Colorado - The Jefferson County Sheriff's Department is investigating the death of a worker at the MillerCoors brewing plant in Golden. According to MillerCoors, employees discovered the body of William Leahy around 9:30 p.m. Monday. MillerCoors released a statement Tuesday, saying, "Leahy was a packaging electrician at the brewery and employed by MillerCoors for 30 years. Leahy was well regarded by his coworkers and our condolences go out to the Leahy family and Bill’s friends during this difficult time. The cause of the death is being investigated and we are cooperating with local authorities. The company will be providing support and counseling to employees who may be personally impacted by this tragedy."

Welder dies when steel plate falls on him

February 3, Milwaukee, Wisconsin - A 40-year-old man died Tuesday morning when a steel plate fell on him at a manufacturing facility on Milwaukee's northwest side, according to police. Carlos Fuentes of Milwaukee was welding the underside of the steel plate - estimated to weigh 12,000 to 14,000 pounds - when the plate fell about 7 a.m., according to a Milwaukee County medical examiner's report. The plate was perpendicular to the floor while Fuentes was working on it, but Fuentes had not properly secured it, the report says.

2 killed at Orange County sales office

February 2, Riverside, California - Two workers were found murdered in a sales office at a manufactured home lot in Orange County on Monday, authorities said. The co-owner of Golden Sun Homes found his son, Matthew Francis Scott, 42, and a secretary, Elizabeth Palmer, 49, dead before 11 a.m., said Orange County sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino. The father called 911 to report that the two has been shot, but Amormino would not confirm that that is how they died. Amormino said the two had arrived at work earlier in morning. Investigators were trying to determine if there was a forced entry. Sheriff's officials said they were looking for Palmer's white Lexus, which may have been stolen, authorities said.

Worker Killed In Augusta Industrial Accident

February 2, Augusta, Georgia — According to Richmond County Coroner Grover Tuten, around 8:00 a.m., Monday morning, an accident occurred on the site of the International Paper mill, located on Highway 56. William J. Drake, 66, from Augusta, was killed when he was struck by a “Timber Loading Crane”. This crane is a track type crane that runs north and south on an iron rails. Drake was working along the tracks, clearing debris from the rail area and, for some unknown reason, he fell forward onto the track access area and was struck by the medal cage of the crane’s protective shroud.

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