Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Weekly Toll: Death in the American Workplace

All of us at USMWF hope that 2015 will be a year with less workers lost on the job. Our thoughts and hearts go out to the families who have had to endure the tragedy of losing a loved one on the job. If we can be of support for you or help in any way we can, please do not hesitate to contact us. We all have similar experiences and are here for you.

January 2, 2015 - Lubbock, TX - 23 year old Rudy Trevino was working his regular job at Lowe's Home Improvement store when he was crushed under a pile of falling lumber. Details are not given as to how the lumber came to fall.

January 3 - Gibbstown, PA - 63 year old Gary Grimming of Bethlehem was killed on the job when he was struck by a high pressure air hose that broke. He was using an air compressor to sand blast a tank at the time the hose broke. He was employed by G.C. Zarnes & Co., working at the Paulsboro Refinery in Gibbstown.

January 3 - Longs, SC - 40 year old Bala Gopal Paruchuri of Myrtle Beach was fatally shot during an armed robbery by several suspects as he worked in the Sunhouse Convenience Store in Longs.

January 3 - Renton, WA - Lorenzo Zurita was struck by a motorist as he was crossing the street to start work at his second job. He had finished one shift at Freddy's Club and was heading to work at Dianond Lil's when he was struck by the vehicle. Both establishments are owned by Club Monaco Gaming LLC.

January 3 - Oklahoma City, OK - 28 year old Mark Pittman was one of several men who were injured in an explosion on December 19, 2014 while working for Dan D. Drilling.  Two other men, reported last time, died in the same incident. A fire of unknown origin broke out on the Pablo Energy drilling rig and he has spent these weeks in an Oklahoma hospital until his death due to extensive burns.

January 5 - Arcata, CA - 64 year old Mike Vander Veen was testing and repairing equipment at the Sierra Pacific Industries mill in Arcata when he was fatally electrocuted. His boom lift apparently came into contact with a high voltage line at the mill. He was found unconscious in the basket.

January 6 - Bel Air, MD - 29 year old Erik Steciak died as the result of injuries received while responding to a call. Steciak, a paid paramedic with the Bel Air fire company who was also with West Friendship Volunteer Fire Department of Howard County, was hit by a utility vehicle while trying to reach a patient who had been injured in an earlier accident. Weather is being blamed as a contributing factor for the incident.

January 6 - El Paso, TX - 63 year old Timothy Fjordbak was a psychologist working at the El Paso Veterans Affairs clinic when an angry patient sought him out and shot him before taking his own life. Apparently the gunman has made a threat against the doctor for an unknown reason and the doctor had filed a complaint against the man.

January 6 - Owensboro, KY - 67 year old Richard "Preacher" Thessing of St. Libory, IL was working as a truck driver and was unloading a metal door frame when it fell onto him. It is not clear who he was working for. Thessing was a retired coal miner and semi-retired truck driver who served as the mayor of St. Libory for 28 years.

January 7 - Paterson, NJ - 53 year old Stanley Rollins died on the job when he was struck and killed by his garbage truck. Rollins' co-worker was driving and backed up into him. Both men worked for Gaeta Recycling Co., Inc. 

January 8 - Harlingen, TX - 58 year old Margarito Alvarez was killed on the job when he was pinned by a piece of machinery. He and two other employees were replacing brakes on a backhoe when something went wrong. The backhoe unexpectedly turned on and went into gear, pinning Alvarez and crushing him to death. The men were employees of Harlingen Irrigation District.

January 8 - Bristol Township, PA - After a four day search, 49 year old Anthony Gabriel was found buried under concrete powder after a giant silo collapsed. Gabriele was found near an outside office trailer next to the collapsed silo with the help of employees that work at the site after firefighters sifted through several thousands tons of cement and used heavy equipment to remove steel beams while braving the possibility of falling overhead objects. He was employed by Riverside Cement.

January 9 - Sacramento, CA - 31 year old Ramon Lopez was working near a market with co-workers and were approached by three young men, one of whom had a gun. An argument ensued and Lopez was shot. It is unclear who the men were working for except that it was a recycling center.

January 9 - Marlin, TX - 29 year old LaCharles Edmond died on the job when he was buried under debris from a barn collapse. Edmond and two other men were in the process of tearing down the barn when the structure collapsed. The second worker was hospitalized and the third was not injured. Their employer is not listed.

January 9 - Manhattan, NY - An inidentified mechanic was killed when an elevator three floors above him unexpectedly dropped inside an Upper West Side high-rise apartment building. He may have been working on top of one elevator car when, for an unknown reason, a second car came down crushing him in between. His employer is not known and repeated attempts to locate his name have been unsuccessful.

January 9 - South Toms River, NJ - 54 year old Adrian A. Perez of Lakewood died on the job when he was trapped in a concrete crusher as he was performing maintenance on it. The machine "was running in an idle capacity" but there was a spinning axle on top of the conveyor belt and his clothing became tangled in that piece. He was working for Suffolk County Contractors.

January 9 - Shawnee, KS - 44 year old John Bieker was part owner, with his wife, of She's A Pistol gun store which caters to women gun owners. He was shot to death during a shoot out with four teens who came into the store to rob it. Three of the four suspects were shot and all were apprehended by police.

January 10 - Moscow, ID - A gunman opened fire at three different locations, killing three different people before he was apprehended and arrested by police. After murdering his adoptive mother he went to Northwest Mutual Life Insurance where he shot and killed 76 year old David Trail, who was a businessman for the insurance company. The gunman then walked into a Taco Bell and asked for the manager. When 47 year old Belinda Niebuhr came to the front of the store, the gunman opened fire on her.

January 10 - Columbia County, GA - Patrick Wilson died on the job when he was crushed under a trailer. He was killed after a trailer slipped and crushed him while he was working a job at Evergreen Tank Solutions in Columbia County. That company, as well as the equipment hauling company, W.H. Reeves, where Wilson worked, is being investigated by OSHA.

January 10 - Oakville, WA - Erin Van Brocklin of Centralia was working with a logging crew when he was killed on the job. He was getting ready to notch a stump when a log above him rolled down, pinning him between two logs. He was employed by B&M Logging Inc.

January 11 - Las Vegas, NV - 46 year old Daniel Wynn Smith died on the job after being suffocated under palm fronds as he was trimming a palm tree. It is not clear who he was employed by. 

January 11 - Wichita Falls, TX - 53 year old Mark Mere and 72 year old Peggye McNair were both killed on the job when they were trampled by camels. Mere was inside a pen with one male and two females camels when the male charged him. As he attempted to get out, McNair attempted to close the gate the male came after them, trampling them. McNair was the owner of Camel Kisses Farm and Mere worked for her.

January 11 - Carlin, NV - 53 year old Brian L. Homer was a 35 year veteran of the mining industry. He died in an accident in a vent shaft at Newmont Mining Corp.'s Leeville mine north of Carlin. He was an employee for Cementation USA Inc.

January 11 - Reno, NV - An unidentified construction worker was struck and killed by a construction loader machine. He was wearing a reflective safety vest. Attempts to locate his name or employer has been unsuccessful.

January 12 - Edwardsville, IL - 31 year old Justin D. Jokerst of Perryville, MO was killed on the job at a construction site. He was working on or near a large crane when he was crushed under the weight of the crane’s boom. Details are not known. He was employed by Taylor Excavators, a subcontractor for Brinkman Constructors.

January 13 - Tate, GA - 28 year old Kevin Voyles was killed on the job when he was crushed under materials from his job at Georgia Marble.  He was working on a machine when about 7,000 pounds of marble fell on top of him.

January 14 - South Los Angeles, CA - 29 year old Andrew "Andy" Ung was working in his family's doughnut shop when a man came in to buy a doughnut. But then the man tried to rob the store and used a knife to stab Ung, who later died. The suspect in Ung's murder has been arrested.

January 14 - Gulfport, MS - 55 year old Craig Mathis died on the job when his work truck slid off the roadway, slamming into a telephone pole. He was an employee for AT&T.

January 14 - Odessa, TX - 53 year old Christopher Davis and 45 year old Eligio Garcia were killed on the job when the prison bus they were on crashed. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice transport bus carrying prisoners from a unit in Abilene to El Paso's Sanchez Unit when the transport bus hit an icy patch on the roadway, went off a bridge and landed on the railway striking a moving train. Eight prisoners also died and five others, including another corrections officer, survived.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/article6114039.html#storylink=cpy

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