Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Weekly Toll: Death in the American Workplace

Restaurant Manager Killed in Robbery

May 2, Houston, Texas - A 19-year old manager at a Northwest Harris County Popeyes is killed while other employees are locked in a walk-in freezer during a deadly robbery. Around midnight, Harris County Sheriff's Department responded to a robbery at the Popeyes located in the 15100 block of F.M. 529 near Huffmeister. Upon arrival, investigators say they found 19-year old Edward Virappen shot to death and two other employees locked in a walk-in freezer. Officials learned that around 11 p.m., as employees were closing for the night, an unidentifed, heavyset male entered the store armed with a handgun.

Janine Anderson dies after heroic fight

May 1, Knoxville, Tennessee - Janine Anderson, a sick nuclear worker and an advocate for thousands of others, died this morning after a long struggle with debilitating illnesses linked to her work in Oak Ridge. Richard Anderson, her husband of seven years, said she died in her sleep at their home in Maryville. Doctors said it was probably due to a heart attack or stroke, he said. Anderson, 56, was major player in the national effort to get legislation passed to provide a compensation fund for workers made sick by exposures in the Cold War workplace at nuclear facilities around the country.

Pueblo officer killed in the line of duty honored

May 1, Pueblo, Colorado - A 30-year-old Pueblo police officer who died in the line of duty last year was among those memorialized this morning at a law-enforcement ceremony in Golden. Pueblo patrol officer Nicholas "Nick" Heine collapsed from heart failure while running to an early morning street fight on June 21. His name and those of three other Colorado officers killed years ago in the line of duty were added today to the Colorado Law Enforcement Memorial at Camp George West as part of the ceremony.

Sevier County man killed in industrial accident

May 1, Sigurd, Utah - Police say a Sevier County man has been killed in an industrial accident at the trucking company where he worked after a waste oil holding tank exploded and hit him in the head. Sevier County Sheriff's Detective Nathan Curtis says 32-year-old Cody L. Mickelsen was killed on Monday. Curtis says Mickelsen reached down to adjust a valve on a used oil storage tank. He says the contents were pressurized to move oil from one tank to another and the tank apparently wasn't strong enough to withstand the pressure.

Sevier County man dies in industrial accident

April 30, Salt Lake City, Utah - A Sevier County man died this week after a waste oil holding tank exploded at the trucking company where he worked, police said. Cody L. Mickelsen, 32, worked at Sigurd-based D&A McRae Trucking, said Sevier County sheriff's Detective Nathan Curtis. About 3 p.m. Monday, Mickelsen reached down to adjust a valve on a used oil storage tank, Curtis said. The contents was pressurized to move the oil from one tank to another, and the tank apparently wasn't strong enough to withstand the pressure, Curtis said.

Woman Killed In Work Zone Accident

April 30, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania - A worker was killed and three other people injured in a chain-reaction crash in Armstrong Co. Thursday. Laurie Woodrow, 49, was clearing away brush with the rest of her tree-trimming crew on Route 422 in West Franklin Township when things suddenly changed. Family members said Thursday that Woodrow died doing a job she loved. The 17-year construction veteran and Homer City native was feeding brush into a wood chipper when police said she was struck from behind by an oncoming vehicle. Woodrow was pronounced dead at a Kittaning hospital.

Juvenile Corrections Officer Dies on Duty in Highland Hills

April 30, Highland Hills, Ohio - Investigators are trying to figure out how a juvenile corrections officer died while on duty. William Hesson, 39, of north canton, died while working Wednesday night at the state-run Cuyahoga Hills Juvenile Correctional Facility in Highland Hills. The state highway patrol is investigating whether foul play was involved. Troopers are interviewing staff and juveniles at the facility to figure out what happened. The coroner is expected to conduct an autopsy Friday morning.

Worker Dies In Underground Explosion

April 30, Detroit, Michigan - Police said the 42-year-old contract worker died when an underground storage tank he was working on exploded. Police said the man was 10 to 15 feet underground. The explosion threw the worker out of the hole and into the parking lot of the gas station. Jeremy Williams works in a shop across the street. "I just heard the explosion. It shook all the doors in the building, so I came outside and saw everybody looking over there and that's when I saw the guy laying by the side of the hole. He rolled around a little and somebody went to check on his pulse and after that they covered him up with a tarp," Williams said.

Marathon plant worker killed in fall identified

April 29, Garyville, Louisiana — Marathon Oil Co. has identified a 22-year-old Texas man as the contract worker who fell to his death at its Garyville refinery. Marathon spokesman Robert Calmus said on Monday that Jeremy Nuspliger, who lived in Bayton and Wharton, was working for Performance Contractors Inc. at a construction site on plant property when he fell around 11:45 p.m. Thursday. Calmus said a portion of the construction site, which had closed after the accident, reopened Monday after the approval of investigators from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Refinery worker's body found after a day's search

April 30, San Fransisco, California - It isn't every day that someone vanishes at the Shell refinery in Martinez, where employees have badges, roll call is regularly held and security is so tight that a strict accounting is made of all workers at the plant during shift changes. Which is why Bill Maddock's disappearance during his overnight shift was so strange... Maddock, who was in his mid-50s, was primarily responsible for the blending of materials, which involves movement of gasoline, diesel and other products from one tank to another. He was last seen between 2:30 a.m. and 3 a.m. talking to another employee about a routine operational matter, Makarewicz said. Earlier Wednesday evening, Makarewicz said it was possible Maddock could have fallen into one of the tanks.

Police Officer Killed While Leading Funeral Procession

April 29, Martinsville, Indiana - An off-duty French Lick police officer was killed Wednesday when his motorcycle crashed while he was escorting a funeral on Indiana 67 in Morgan County. Morgan County sheriff's deputies are investigating the crash that occurred shortly after 3:30 p.m. as the funeral procession headed northbound near Martinsville, about 15 miles southwest of Indianapolis. French Lick Police Chief Thomas McCracken identified the officer as patrol detective Justin Mullis, 48.

Man, 38, killed in accident at construction site

April 29, Dubois, Pennsylvania - Eric Zimmerman, 38, of Sigel, an employee of Glenn O. Hawbaker Inc. of State College, died Monday morning in a work-related accident in DuBois. According to Charlie Campbell, director of special projects for Glenn O. Hawbaker Inc., the accident occurred at 9 a.m. Mr. Campbell said Mr. Zimmerman was flown first to Altoona Regional Health Systems Trauma Center then flown to the University of Pittsburgh Hospital, where he died from his injuries.

Teller Shot During Kendall Bank Robbery

April 29, Miami, Florida - A teller at a Kendall branch of Colonial Bank was shot Tuesday afternoon when a group of men walked into the branch and opened fire during a robbery attempt. The robbers escaped with an undetermined amount of money, and police are searching for three suspects. Miami-Dade police told CBS4's Gary Nelson that 3 men walked into the Colonial Bank branch at SW 120th street and SW 123rd Avenue shortly before 2 p.m. Tuesday, demanded money, and at some point, fired guns inside the bank. No customers were injured, but bank teller Dalia Mirada was shot. She was treated at the bank by Miami-Dade Fire Rescue paramedics, and then taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital.

Repairman Shot Dead At Nightclub

April 29, Pheonix, Arizona - A man repairing a camera fixture was accidentally shot and killed in a nightclub Tuesday evening, authorities said. According to the Phoenix Police Department, Gordon Bryan, 32, was working on the camera at Dick's Cabaret on Illini Street when he was shot. An employee was unloading a handgun when it went off, police said. Bryan was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

Man Dies In Effingham County Construction Accident

April 29, Savanah, Georgia - A construction worker at a new plant being built at the Effingham Industrial Park was killed in an accident Wednesday morning. Effingham County Sheriff’s deputies say 26 year old Jorge Leandro-Ramirez was crushed just before 8:30 this morning when the cherry picker-style forklift he was riding in backed into a steel pole.

Worker killed at EFACEC plant

April 29, Rincon, Georgia - The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been notified of the death of a worker Wednesday morning at the EFACEC plant under construction at the Effingham Industrial Park. Effingham County Sheriff's deputies were called out to the site just before 8:30 a.m. after an adult Hispanic male was injured in an accident. The male, whose name is being withheld until the next of kin can be notified, was taken to a local hospital but was pronounced dead.

ExxonMobil employee dies from accidental burn injuries

April 28, Torrance, California - The state has opened an investigation into the death of an ExxonMobil employee who succumbed to burn injuries sustained in an accident at the company's Torrance refinery, authorities said. Nelson Tan, 50, of Cerritos was scalded by steam April 11 while working at the 750-acre refinery. He died early Sunday morning at Torrance Memorial Medical Center's burn unit, said Craig Harvey, chief investigator with the county Coroner's Department. Tan would have celebrated his 51st birthday this coming Saturday.

Parasail company employee dies in ocean accident

April 28, Honolulu, Hawaii - A 24-year-old man who worked for a Hawai'i Kai ocean recreation company died today after he fell from a company parasailing harness into Maunalua Bay, the Coast Guard said. The man died this afternoon at a hospital after he was pulled in an unresponsive state from the ocean. The man was an employee of Sea Breeze, an ocean recreation company that operates out of Koko Marina. A Coast Guard spokesman said the employee was aloft in a parasailing rig when he fell into the ocean.

Bald Knob farmer dies in brush fire

April 27, Frankfort, Kentucky - An autopsy will be performed today on a Bald Knob farmer who died in a brush fire on St. Johns Road Monday. Emergency personnel discovered the burned remains of Harold Atha, 59, of 4669 St. Johns Road, Monday morning after his family reported him missing. Emergency Management Director Deron Rambo said Atha’s family reported him missing at about 5:30 a.m. Monday after he went to repair a fence on Sunday. “They got concerned after he didn’t come after dark,” Rambo said. Atha was discovered about 100 yards from his tractor and had been burned, Rambo said. A fire had burned about 10 acres of nearby brush, he said.

Rescuers work feverishly, can't save man in trench

April 27, Huntington Beach, California – A 32-year-old man who was trapped inside a collapsed trench Monday died, authorities said. About 40 firefighters from at least four different fire stations responded to the 4600 block of Warner Avenue, where the worker was trapped, said Deputy Fire Marshall Jeff Lopez of the Huntington Beach Fire Department. Soil and concrete fell atop construction worker Javier Iniguez, of Huntington Park, who was digging a trench, trapping him inside, authorities said. He man was trapped about eight feet inside the trench, head first, as firefighters scrambled to rescue him. Iniguez died at the scene.

Construction Worker Killed In Accident

April 27, Miami, Florida - A South Florida man was killed early Monday morning in an industrial accident in South Miami-Dade. The 67-year-old man died instantly after a telescoping arm connected to a concrete pump truck apparently fell on him as he worked on the ground. Witnesses said they heard the loud boom and felt the ground shake. A supervisor of the C&C Concrete said he was still trying to figure out what went wrong. He said the man was with the company for the last five years. Miami-Dade Fire Rescue said they received a call around 9 a.m. that a man had been struck by a large piece of equipment at a construction site at 73 hundred North Kendall Drive.

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