Friday, April 17, 2009

Weekly Toll: Death in the American Workplace

Tree trimmer killed

April 11, Phoenix, Arizona - A man was killed while trimming a tree. The accident occured near Earll and 26th street in Phoenix. A team of three men were trimming a palm tree when the accident happened. Rescue workers say a large palm frond fell, stuck and killed the worker. Phoenix fire rescue crews had to remove the body of the man from the tree. Two other workers in the tree and had to be helped out of the tree before the body of the thrid man could be removed from the tree.

Glass panes fall from crane in Oak Lawn, killing construction worker

April 11, Dallas, Texas - A construction worker died Saturday morning in the Oak Lawn area of Dallas when he was struck by several glass panes that fell from a crane, police said. The 24-year-old man, whose identity wasn’t released, was helping remodel a building in the 3800 block of Oak Lawn Avenue near Blackburn Street. The glass panes fell from the top of the crane at an unknown height around 8:30 a.m., police said. Paramedics took the man to Parkland Memorial Hospital, where he later died. The federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration, which investigates such incidents, came to the site after the accident.

Store clerk killed in robbery

April 11, Stockton, California - A clerk who had worked for 31 years at the busy Arco AM/PM on the corner of California Street and Alpine Avenue died early Friday following a confrontation with a robber. Ralph Dillingham, 61, of Stockton, described as a husband and father who was both a nice guy to customers but had a no-nonsense reputation when it came to working the night shift at the 24-hour minimart gas station, was pronounced dead at St. Joseph's Medical Center later that morning. Police officers found Dillingham lying unconscious behind the counter shortly after they received a call at 2:50 a.m. He was taken to the hospital a little more than 10 blocks away, where he died.

Electrical worker collapses and dies

April 11, Newnan, Georgia - A North Carolina man working at an electrical substation on Lower Fayetteville Road collapsed and died Thursday evening, but the cause of death is still under investigation. Willie Williams, 38, and a co-worker from Waukesha Electric Systems were adding a transformer to the SummerGrove substation near Highway 154 when Williams collapsed. He was pronounced dead at Piedmont-Newnan Hospital, said Deputy Coroner Bart Henson.

Injured Ashland County Green Township Road Worker Dies

April 11, Ashland County, Ohio - An injured Green Township road worker who was hurt on Tuesday morning on Township Road 2704 in Ashland County has died. Jeffrey White, 40, passed away Friday at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland. A passing motorist found White unconscious, bleeding from the head and lying next to a township dump truck along the roadway and called 911. White had been clearing brush from along the roadway with a co-worker who had loaded debris into the truck and went to the township garage to retrieve straps to secure the load.

Vending machine worker killed at NW Fla. college

April 10, Defuniak Springs, Florida - Authorities are investigating the shooting death of a vending machine maintainer at Northwest Florida State College. DeFuniak Springs Police Capt. Mark Weeks says the man was found on campus Friday afternoon with two gun shot wounds to the chest. His identity hasn't been released. Police are looking for someone named Thomas Ford McCoy Jr. in connection with the shooting, but would not elaborate.


Valpo man, 47, dies in Lowell trench collapse

April 10, Lowell, Indiana - A Valparaiso man was killed when a 10-foot-deep trench he was digging with a co-worker collapsed on him Friday afternoon. Michael Faherty, 47, was pronounced dead at 1:50 p.m. at a home in the 16700 block of Mount Street in Cedar Creek Township. The Lake County Coroner's office labeled the death accidental. They will conduct an autopsy this morning. Crown Point firefighters and technical rescue team members work to secure the sides of a trench as they recover the victim after a fatal trench collapse in the 16700 block of Mount Street Friday afternoon in Lowell.

Construction accident victim loved outdoors

April 10, Washington County, Maryland — Benjamin Burger Jr., who died Thursday after falling while working on a construction project, was an outdoors person, relatives said Friday. He was particularly fond of hunting for deer and turkeys, and of fishing for trout, said Vicki Burger, his aunt. She said he would camp out so he could be the first person fishing at a stream. Burger was building a deck in the 17300 block of West Washington Street near Hagerstown when he fell onto a picket fence, according to a representative of Straightline Construction of Clear Spring, for which Burger was working.

One Dead Following Trench Collapse

April 10, Lowell, Indiana - One man is dead and another escaped injury after a 10-foot-deep trench they were digging caved behind a Lowell home, Lake County authorities said. The trench, at 16731 Mount St., in Lowell, was being dug for a new sump pump for a single-story home on a wooded lot. Two men were in the trench when it collapsed, the NWI Times reported. One of the men tried to dig the other out with a backhoe, but was unsuccessful. The trench was as much as 10 feet deep in some portions, said Mike Higgins, the Public Information Officer for the Lake County Sheriff's Department.

C-DOT Highway Worker Killed in Pueblo Identified

April 10, Pueblo, Colorado - A Colorado Department of Transportation employee who was backed over and killed by a fellow employee working in the cone-zone was identified as 31-year-old David Valdez. Valdez, who was originally from Walsenburg, leaves behind a small child. Agency spokeswoman Stacey Stegman says the CDOT crew was getting ready to repair expansion joints on a bridge when the accident happened Thursday morning.

Correctional officer killed in stabbing at Atwater prison

April 8, Merced, California - A federal correctional officer at U.S. Penitentiary Atwater is dead after being stabbed by inmates at the facility Friday, according to Merced County Sheriff Mark Pazin. Although details are still sketchy, Pazin said the officer, identified as Jose Rivera, 22, of Chowchilla, was transported to Mercy Medical Center Merced after the stabbing. The FBI is conducting the investigation into the attack and Pazin said his office will conduct the autopsy. Rivera was taken to the hospital at 3:30 p.m. and was pronounced dead at 4:15 p.m., Pazin said. Pazin said Rivera's death underscores the dangers that correctional officers face every day.

Ohio contractor worker dies from injury at plant

April 8, Cincinnati, Ohio - An employee of a contractor has died after being injured at AK Steel's Middletown Works plant in southwest Ohio. Scott Rich, president of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local Lodge 1943 union, says the worker leaned against a controller while working on a lift and was crushed between the lift and a pipe. The worker's identity wasn't released immediately. Alan McCoy, spokesman for AK Steel Holding Corp. ( AKS - news - people ), says the contractor worker was injured Monday and died during a surgical procedure either late Tuesday night or early Wednesday.

Factory worker crushed, killed at Alladin Plastics in Hawkins County

April 8, Phipps Bend — A longtime employee of Alladin Plastics at the Phipps Bend Industrial Park was killed Tuesday night when he was reportedly crushed by a machine that molds plastic chairs. The accident occurred Tuesday shortly before 9 p.m. According to an Alladin employee who asked to remain unnamed, supervisor Lonnie Mowell, 61, 1035 Longs Bend Road, Rogersville, was attempting to free a chair that had been jammed in the machine when the machine engaged. Mowell had been employed at Alladin Plastics, 640 Phipps Bend Road, Surgoinsville, for nearly 40 years.

Norwalk man dies in electrical fire at mine

April 8, Des Moins, Iowa - A Norwalk man died in an electrical fire at the Hallett Materials site northwest of Des Moines on Tuesday afternoon. Tadd Bainum, 35, a Hallett employee, died after a transformer spark caused a fire near the gravel mine at 5255 N.W. 26th St. The fire started around 4 p.m., said Jana Rooker, spokeswoman for the Polk County sheriff's office. The specific cause of Bainum's death is unknown and will be determined by the Polk County medical examiner. MidAmerican Energy had to shut off power to the area for rescue crews to reach Bainum. He was in an electrical area that is under Hallett's control, said Ann Thelen, spokeswoman for MidAmerican.

3 Pittsburgh Police Officers Shot Dead; Alleged Gunman Arrested

April 7, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - Three Pittsburgh police officers were killed and a fourth was injured in an unprecedented shooting Saturday morning in Stanton Heights, where authorities believe a man was "lying in wait" with high-powered weapons, ready to fire when the victims arrived at his home. Mayor Luke Ravenstahl identified the slain officers as Paul Sciullo, who was first to get shot, Steve Mayhle, who was backing him up, and Eric Kelly, who was on his way home but had stopped to help the others. "Our hearts and our prayers go out to the officers who paid the ultimate sacrifice," said Police Chief Nate Harper, adding that the bureau has never lost as many officers in the line of duty at one time as happened Saturday.

Suspect charged after 2 killed after Pa. robbery

April 7, Altoona, Pennsylvania - Police have identified the man charged in the shooting deaths of two people following a robbery at a west-central Pennsylvania sandwich shop. Nicholas Horner faces two counts of criminal homicide and other charges in connection with the shootings Monday afternoon in Altoona. The 28-year-old Altoona resident was arraigned Tuesday and sent to Blair County Jail without bail. Police say Horner shot two workers at a Subway shop, killing one. Authorities say the suspect then fled and shot another man about four blocks away who was retrieving his mail.

Coroner: Worker was apparently electrocuted

April 7, Princeton, Kentucky — A worker removing debris from an ice storm was killed when the lift he was standing in came into contact with a power line. The Messenger of Madisonville reports 38-year-old Raymond Morris was apparently electrocuted in the weekend accident. Providence Assistant Police Chief Brent McDowell says Morris was aloft in a scissors truck when the incident occurred about 4:50 p.m. Friday. Morris was transported to Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. Hopkins County Coroner Dennis Mayfield said it appeared 38-year-old Raymond Morris had been electrocuted. Morris, of Providence, worked for Ware Trucking.

Northside mechanic killed while working under car

April 8, Northside, Florida - A mechanic at a Northside auto-repair shop was crushed to death Tuesday when the car he was working beneath came crashing down. Lt. Reginald Lott of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said the employee was crushed when the jack supporting the car slipped. He was working alone at the shop, which is near the intersection of Lem Turner Road and Leonid Road when the car fell. His body was discovered by a customer, and he was pronounced dead at the scene. Authorities didn't release his name. Paramedics were alerted about 11:20 a.m., according to Times-Union news partner First Coast News.

St. Louis cab driver shot to death, cab stolen

April 7, St. Louis, Missouri - Police are talking with a woman who says she was a passenger in a Laclede cab when the driver was shot to death this morning. The driver was fatally shot in the head at the intersection of University Street and Leffingwell Avenue just before 4 a.m. Tuesday. He died at the scene. His name and age are not yet being released. The female passenger told police that she was in the backseat of the cab when a man walked up to the cab, talked to the cabbie and shot him.

Worker killed after getting caught in machinery

April 6, Jenks, Oklahoma — Jenks fire officials say a man was killed when he got caught in a piece of machinery at an area dirt company. Assistant Fire Chief Jake Rhoades says firefighters responded to a call about 4 p.m. Monday at the Gem Dirt Co. The man's co-workers had already pulled the 36-year-old from the machine and were performing CPR when the fire crew arrived. Rhoades described the machine as a soil tumbler. Medics from the Emergency Medical Services Authority pronounced him dead. Rhoades says a co-worker noticed the machine was off and when he went to investigate he found the man. The name of the victim wasn't released.

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