Friday, October 14, 2011

Weekly Toll:Death in the American Workplace

Workers Drown as Truck Plunges Into River

October 13, PLUMAS COUNTY, CA - 29 year old Ryan Patrick Miles and 31 year old Aaron Joseph Weiss of Chico, drowned and two co-workers survived after their Pacific Gas & Electric truck went out of control and plunged into Rock Creek Reservoir. The crew were working in Carabou all day and were on their way back into town when the driver lost control, sending the truck into the water.

Oil Rig Incident Claims Worker's Life

October 13, EL DORADO, OK - Cecil Haley of Electra, TX was the victim of an oil rig incident Thursday at Big Rig Drilling. According to one report, Haley was on a construction elevator about 90 feet in the air, connecting two 1,600 lbs pipes. Authorities say that somehow the pressure of the pipes caused some of the supporting equipment, called fingers, to bend, which sent one of the huge pipes back toward the worker. It hit him and it appears that he was killed by the impact. This report is a further update.

Construction Worker Dies in Fall

October 13, MANHATTAN, NY - an unidentified 33 year old man died after falling six stories inside an Upper West Side church. The worker was installing a safety net under the roof of the church when police say he may have lost his footing after receiving an electric shock. The man was working with a partner and may have received the shock while drilling into the sub ceiling to anchor the net.

Fiery Crash Kills Truck Driver

October 13, GASTONIA, NC - 45 year old Eric Fitzgerald Lee of Greenville died Thursday in a fiery crash with another tractor trailer near Gastonia. Traffic was at a near stand still on I-85 due to detours in both directions. Lee apparently did not slow down in time and slammed into the back of another semi, triggering an explosion of a ruptured fuel tank. Lee was able to escape the inferno and the other driver, from Texas, was taken to an area hospital.

Out of Control Car Kills Two in Work Zone

October 13, BURNSVILLE, MN - 44 year old Ronald Rajkowski of St. Joseph and 47 year old Craig Carlson of Ramsey died after an out of control driver crashed into them on Interstate 35-W. The driver of the car slowed down for road construction but after coming too close to a barrier wall he lost control and spun into a ditch where it struck Rajkowski and Carlson. The men worked for Egan Company doing work for MNPASS project.

Farmer Killed as Tractor Rolls Into Ravine

October 13, ENTERPRISE, LA - 72 year old Larry Hitt died Thursday in a farming incident. Hitt was operating a tractor and for an unknown reason the tractor rolled down into a ravine. Hitt died on the scene.

Officer Run Down by Bank Robbery Suspects

October 13, WALKER, MI - 41 year old Officer Trevor Slot died Thursday when he was run over and killed by suspects in an alleged bank robbery in Muskegon County. He was deployed stop sticks in an attempt to stop the get away vehicle. The Walker police chief confirmed one of her officers had been killed in the line of duty and said an investigation continues. The bank robbers were both shot and killed by police during a gun battle after crashing their vehicle.

Mass Shooting Claims Six Worker Lives

October 13, SEAL BEACH, CA - An angry ex-husband of a Seal Beach Salon Meritage employee walked into the business on Wednesday and opened fire. He shot six employees inside the shop. He also killed one patron and one man in the parking lot as he left the business. Following are the employees who were killed in the rampage:
48 year old Michelle Marie Fournier of Los Alamitos. Her ex-husband was the gunman.
46 year old Laura Lee Elody of Huntington Beach.
63 year old Randy Lee Fannin of Murrieta, owner of the salon.
Michelle Daschback Fast of Seal Beach.
Christy Lynn Wilson of Cerritos.
54 year old Victoria Ann Buzzo of Laguna Beach.

Road Worker Struck Down by Truck

October 12, COWPENS, SC - 47 year old Apolonio Esteban Ortela of Greer suffered fatal internal injuries when he was hit by a truck while working along I-85 near Cowpens. Ortela was working with a crew from Tree of Life Landscaping, weed-eating along the roadway when the driver of a truck and trailer lost control and drove into the workers. The other workers were taken to a local hospital. Tree of Life was hired by the South Carolina Dept. of Transportation to do the work along the interstate.

Cement Truck Driver Dies in Crash

October 12, LA HONDA, CA - 62 year old Fred Gunther Eisenstaedt of Dublin was killed when the cement truck he was driving rolled into a creek bed. No other details are available and the crash is under investigation.

Cornered Fugitive Opens Fire, Killing One Officer

October 12, LOWER BURRELL, PA - 40 year old Patrolman Derek Kotecki was shot and killed by a fugitive he and other officers were attempting to arrest. The fugitive has been on the run after making threats against the department's officers and other crimes. Officers received a tip he would be a Dairy Queen and when they arrived, the man stepped out of his vehicle and began shooting. Kotecki was struck by the gunfire, and the fugitive was also killed.

Master Electrician Electrocuted

October 12, CENTERVILLE, MN - an unidentified 47 year old man from White Bear Lake was electrocuted Wednesday while working on the Central Bank in Centerville. An employee for L&D Sign, the man was working on an outdoor sign when the incident occurred. It appears it was raining while he was working. OSHA is investigating. UPDATE: A report has identified Thomas Michael Gamboni as the worker who died in this incident.

Teen Worker Dies in Confined Space of Toxic Exposure, Brother Brain Dead

October 12, ARVIN, CA - 16 year old Armando Ramirez of Arvin died, and two other workers injured, after apparently inhaling hydrogen sulfide in a drainage tunnel at Community Recycling & Resource recycling company in Lamont. The victims were at the bottom of an eight-foot underground shaft linked to a drainage system. It is unclear if the workers were given breathing equipment, but emergency workers had to clear the air and wear breathing masks to get the workers out. Ramirez died at the hospital. Reports say one worker may have been employed by A&B Harvesting, but did not say which worker. More information on this incident can be found here and here.

Worker Falls to His Death From Roof

October 12, LIMA, OH - 54 year old Frankie Cousey died after falling from the roof of Superior Forge building while working Wednesday. Cousey was an employee for Centimark Corporation who was subcontracted to do work on the Superior Forge building. The incident is under investigation.

Store Clerk Shot During Robbery

October 12, TAMPA, FL - 53 year old Marilyn Tejada was shot and killed Wednesday during a robbery of Sam's Food Mart. Tejada had worked at the store for five years and felt like she knew all the patrons. That's why the owner believes she left open a bullet proof door that would have protected her against the gunman.

Man Killed as Tractor Topples Down Ski Slope

October 11, UNION DALE, PA - 49 year old Wayne Tietz of Herrick Center died when the tractor he was operating at the top of a mountain at Elk Mountain Ski Resort rolled down a slope. According to police, the tractor rolled over several times down the Tunkhannock Slope at the resort.

Metro Worker Dies of Head Injuries

October 11, HOUSTON, TX - 45 year old Chung T. Luu died of head injuries Tuesday. Luu, a maintenance worker at Rail Operations Center of the Metropolitan Transit Authority, was on board a slowly moving rail car and stuck his head out the door, hitting a support beam. It was unclear why Luu had put his head outside the train, which was being moved into a service lane for repairs.

Man Dies of Burns When Tank Explodes

October 11, NEWPORT, NH - 68 year old Clifton Labounty Jr. suffered fatal burns when he was attempting to drain the gas tank of a truck. Labounty operated a scrap metal business at his home and he and his son were using a power drill to drain the tank. They had used this method many times, but this time the fumes from the tank ignited.

Industrial Incident Claims Life of Worker

October 10, RICHARDSON, TX - 54 year old Roy Aguilar died in an industrial incident at the Texas Instrument facility in Richardson on Monday. Firefighters responded to a report of a water purifier explosion at a TI unit. Police say Aguilar was impaled by some type of glass.

Worker Killed in Collision With Semi

October 10, LAMAR, CO - 23 year old Joshua Owens of Pueblo died and his co-worker injured when their plumbing van crossed traffic and collided into the side of a tractor-trailer rig. The collision caused the van to spin around and land on its side.

Fabrication Worker Dies of Head Injuries

October 10, HOUMA, LA - 22 year old Mark Naquin of Montegut died Monday when he was hit in the head by a cable that came loose while moving metal sheet piling. Naquin, an employee for Gulf Island Fabrication, was among workers moving the pilings, which weigh about 700 pounds each. OSHA will be investigating.

Big Rig Driver Dies in Crash

October 10, BAKERSFIELD, CA - 76 year old Charles Edward Larson was killed Monday when the tractor trailer full of sand overturned, crushing the cab. Larson was traveling on Highway 46 when a driver of a car crossed lanes and slammed head on into Larson's truck. The impact caused Larson's trailer to overturn, spilling its load and then the truck cab overturned and was crushed.

Sewer Worker Apparently Overcome by Fumes

October 10, MARYLAND HEIGHTS, MO - 46 year old Daniel Accola of Robertsville died while working in an 18 foot sewer confined space. Accola and two others were working in the area when Accola became unresponsive. When a second worker came to check on Accola he became light headed. Rescue workers were called and the two workers were transported to the hospital while Accola was pronounced dead.

Taxi Driver Murdered by Passenger

October 10, SAN ANTONIO, TX - John Dexter was shot to death by an 18 year old passenger on Monday. Dexter picked up the man and took him to a home. After going up to the door of the house, the man walked back to the taxi and shot Dexter several times. Police know who their suspect is and are looking for him.

Skydiving Instructor Dies When Parachute Malfunctions

October 9, MESQUITE, NV - 60 year old James Fonnesbeck of St George, UT and his 75 year old tandem student died when their parachute did not fully deploy and the back-up chute became tangled in the main chute during a birthday celebration jump for the 75 year old grandmother. Fonnesbeck, of Skydive Mesquite was a 40 year veteran skydiver.

Nursery Owner Dies in Equipment Accident

October 9, FRANKFORT, KY - 61 year old Ren Heard, owner of Lake Tree Farm LLC, died when the bulldozer he was driving flipped over into the Kentucky River near Frankfort on Sunday. Heard was digging a water-line trench when the bank of the river may have given way, causing the bulldozer to flip upside down into the river. Boaters on the river noticed parts of the bulldozer sticking out of the water and called authorities. Heard drowned in the incident.

Man Trapped Under Truck Dies

October 8, MANHEIM, PA - 57 year old Jeff Rotella of Syracuse, NY was crushed under a truck he was trying to load at an auto auction Sunday. Rotella became trapped on Friday while loading vehicles onto a car carrier at the Manheim Auto Auction. A pick-up truck fell on him, pinning him underneath. He died at a local hospital Saturday of those injuries.

Tractor Trailer Driver Dies in Truck Rollover

October 8, DOUGHERTY, IA - 52 year old Marlin Hanson of Mason City died Saturday in a rollover accident near Doughtery. Hanson was driving a truck hauling a trailer full of grain when for an unknown reason the truck rolled, landing on its roof in a ditch.

Police Officer Dies Trying to Stop Car

October 7, GRENADA, MS - 50 year old Capt. John Wayne Haddock died when he was struck by the car he was attempting to stop Friday. Haddock was setting out spike strips when the fleeing suspects in the car struck him, throwing him 200 feet by the impact.

Miner Dies in Bridge Collapse

October 7, PARTRIDGE, KY - 23 year old Richard Coots Jr. of Ages has died after an incident at a mine of Maggard Branch of Owlco Energy in Partridge. Coots was repairing a conveyor chain when the bridge inside the coal mine that the belt runs through collapsed on top of him. Coots brother was part of the crew that brought him out of the mine.

Store Employee Killed During Robbery

October 7, HAINES CITY, FL - 20 year old Jaime Magana Jr. was fatally shot by two men who robbed the store. Subsequent reports state the two armed robbers have been arrested in Magana's murder.

Worker Hit and Killed on Construction Site

October 7, WILLIAMSTOWN, MA - 82 year old John J. Hanson of Castleton, NY was killed Friday when he was struck and run over by a piece of construction equipment. Hanson worked for a subcontractor at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown. Police and OSHA are conducting an investigation.

Tree Trimmer Dies in Fall

October 7, LAKE SHERWOOD, CA - 56 year old Agustin Valladares of Arleta died Friday after he fell while trimming trees in Lake Sherwood. Valladares, owner of Agustin Valladares Tree Trimming, was trimming the branches of an oak tree when the branch he was standing on broke, authorities said. He fell about 30 feet to a concrete driveway.

Construction Worker Found Dead on Site

October 6, CARTHAGE, TX - 51 year old Mark D. Blake of Lufkin was found dead on the construction site at Libby Elementary School campus. The manner or cause of death has not been disclosed. Blake worked for J.E. Kingham Construction.

Farm Laborer Crushed in Equipment

October 5, SALINAS, CA - 39 year old Eliseo Garcia Gutierrez died while working with a crew harvesting lettuce. Gutierrez was picking lettuce and placing it on a conveyor belt running across a large metal crop harvester. He was crushed between the tractor, being driven by another worker, and the harvesting equipment.

Months After Beating, Security Guard Dies of Injuries

September 29, PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL - 61 year old Jacques Novembre has died of beating injuries he received back on July 14. Novembre, an unarmed security guard, attempted to stop thieves from stealing approximately $20. of copper-containing devices at the back of the Promenade Shopping Plaza. When Novembre confronted the thieves, he was assaulted. He was hospitalized since the assault.

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