Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Weekly Toll: Death in the American Workplace

Our thoughts are with the families who have had to face the loss of their loved one due to a preventable work related incidence. We are here to help or give guidance and support, so please let us know if we can help you by going to

February 1, 2015 - Pueblo, CO - An unidentified man from Denver died on the job after being caught in between equipment while working at Xcel Energy's Comanche Generating Station. A witness said he was walking next to heavy equipment as a large transformer was being moved from one area to another, and was crushed during that operation and later died from his injuries. Repeated attempts to locate his name have been unsuccessful.

February 1 - Renton, WA - Alan Roberts was a shuttle car driver for Shuttle Express, Inc. when he was found unresponsive outside of his vehicle in a store parking lot. It was determined that he died of a heart attack.

February 2 - Lincoln, NE - 30 year old Emil Galabov of Harwood Heights, IL was driving a semi tractor-trailer for an unknown company when he collided with another semi tractor-trailer. Galabov was thrown from the truck during the crash.

February 2 - Carol Stream, IL - 35 year old Chad Nelson of Elgin was killed on the job in an air tank explosion at Maac Machinery manufacturing plant in Carol Stream. The estimated 200 gallon air tank was being tested for leaks when the explosion occurred. There was no fire or smoke associated with the incident.

February 3 - Chattanooga, TN - 54 year old Wallace Scarbro was killed on the job from an unknown cause while working for the Chattanooga Wrigley candy manufacturing plant. The statement by the company does not give a cause of death but an investigation is underway. This is the second death at the plant in 16 months.

February 3 - Hillsboro, TX - 50 year old Michael Fortner of Wiggins, MS was an employee of Strike, the Woodlands-based energy services company when he died on the job. Authorities say it appeared that Fortner, a mechanic, was repairing the brake system on a commercial truck and trailer, when the safety devices failed, causing the trailer to back over and crush him. 

February 3 - Texarkana, TX - 61 year old Jose Andrede of Texarkana, AR was working on a new road in the area when he somehow became pinned between the backhoe and backhoe's boom arm and died. He was an employee for Texarkana Construction Company.

February 3 - Indiantown, FL - An unidentified migrant worker was fatally crushed as he waited to begin his work day at a local farm. Authorities said one worker hopped behind the wheel of the bus when the driver was late to work, pulling it in front of a restaurant. He then tried to back the bus into place, accidentally crashing through a small fence into two men sitting on a bench out front. One worker was killed, the other injured.

February 5 - Glen Ridge, NJ - 31 year old Michael Alfaro of Carteret most likely suffered a fatal electrocution while working on a utility pole near a private residence while PSE&G crews were investigating a power outage in the area. He was found standing on a ladder that was leaning against the utility pole. He was an employee for Comcast.

February 5 - Medora, IL - 59 year old Kenneth Lehr was the beloved Fire Chief of the Medora Fire District. He died when he was struck and killed while on the job.  Authorities say firefighters were in the process of shutting down a section of highway so a medical helicopter could land. That’s when a another firefighter backed up his truck and struck the chief.

February 6 - Highland Park, MI - 33 year old Roderick Jones was an Army Ranger veteran and a member of the Highland Park Reserve Police when he was gunned down in an altercation at a club. Police said Jones went outside to secure the parking lot for club goers and employees when he was ambushed and shot three times in the chest. He started his own security company and was working security for the club.

February 6 - Columbia, SC - 31 year old Marvis L. Myers died after being buried in a trench collapse. He was working for the City of Columbia, four to six feet below ground level working on pipe repairs when the cave-in occurred. He was freed but died later at a local hospital.

February 6 - Manhattan, KS - 30 year old William Wiske of Wamego was working to repair a water main when a trench collapsed around him near a street intersection in Manhattan. He was an employee of the Water Services Division of the City of Manhattan.

February 6 - Huntsville, AL - 51 year old Marie Sanderson of Union Grove and 43 year old Aimee Cothran Bearden of Huntsville were both employees for UltraTec Special Effects in Huntsville, a fireworks plant, when an explosion and fire occurred. Several other workers were injured. Authorities are still investigating the cause of the explosion.

February 6 - Florence, KY - 30 year old Joel Rebennack died on the job after he was struck by an alleged drunk driver. Rebennack was standing behind his bucket truck when another vehicle hit and pinned him. The driver who struck him has been arrested for his death. She was earlier arrested and released on an influence charge. The bucket truck belonged to the Bowlin Group and is subcontracted to Time Warner Cable.

February 7 - Bellingham, WA -  Ted R. Carter was at his job with Parker Corporate Services, Inc. dba Pacific Security when he suffered a fatal medical event that was non work-related. He was found deceased by the company client.

February 8 - Irondequoit, NY - 46 year old Scott Ponticello was a lineman for Rochester Gas & Electric when he died on the job of an unknown cause. Reports state he was found on the ground but gave no details as to why.

February 9 - San Antonio, TX - 45 year old Jesus Ruiz died on the job of what is being called a mysterious death. He had been down inside an eight foot hole at the back of the Alcoa Mill Products property when he told a co-worker he did not feel well. After sitting down in the hole, he lost consciousness. Emergency crews were unable to revive him.

February 9 - Kirkwood, MO - 47 year old Chrissy Wilson-Mueller had clocked out of her shift for the United States Postal Service and was walking to her car when she was struck by a motorist on December 30, 2014. She suffered brain trauma, broken bones and a collapsed lung. She never regained consciousness and was recently released to hospice care before she passed away on the 9th.

February 10 - Albuquerque, NM - 25 year old German Caballero of Kermit, TX was working near a well at the Concho rig site when he was struck in the head by a steel beam. Police say he died on the job after the piece of steel, that was being removed from the well, fell onto him. It is unclear who he was working for.

February 11 - Duncannon, PA - 52 year old Theresa Walsh of Millfont was directing traffic as a modular home was was being transported along the road when she was struck by a motorist. She was standing outside her vehicle when a young woman struck her car and ultimately her. She was unable to be revive at the site. It is not clear who she was employed by.

February 11 - Goliad, TX - 40 year old Scotty O'Neal Stanley of Livingston died after falling from an unnamed oil rig in Texas. Other workers heard a hardhat fall and looked up to see Stanley dangling from his safety harness. Authorities believe Stanley slipped and fell, striking his head and being left unconscious. A co-worker was able to lower him down but he died by the time emergency personnel arrived.

February 12 - Lennox, SD - 45 year old Jon Richter was a dispatcher at the Lennox Sioux Steel Company. He was shot to death in a case of workplace violence. Richter was assigning trucks to deliver trailers to different locations and asked an individual to transport a trailer to another state. An argument ensued for an unknown reason and the other worker returned with a weapon and shot Richter and another worker, who survived.

February 12 - Cannon Falls, MN - 81 year old John Simon Schafer of Goodhue was working for O'Reilly Auto Parts in Cannon Falls when he suffered injuries due to a fall. He was 8 feet to 10 feet off the ground while working in a confined area with metal racking. His fall was not observed by others.

February 13 - Joliet, IL - 22 year old Jeremy Hughes died on the job after he was pinned between two vehicles. He was working at Center Point Properties when his truck became stuck on a patch of ice while moving containers.  He exited his tractor when, unknown to the him, another driver began using his truck to try and push him free from the rear. Hughes was then between his vehicle and another container parked next to him, and he was pinned.

February 13 - Lexington, KY - 27 year old Nicholas A. Hamm of Georgetown was killed on the job when his work truck ran off a two-lane stretch of roadway, snapping a utility pole and hitting two trees. Hamm, who police say was alone in the truck, lost control when his right-side wheels dropped off the steep edge of the pavement and apparently couldn't steer the vehicle back onto the road.He was employed by Matco Tools.

February 13 - Citronelle, AL - 25 year old Marshall James Walton of Mobile died on the job after a pickup truck hit the trailer he was working on. The driver of the vehicle stayed on scene after the accident. Walton was working for his family's business, John G. Walton Construction Co., Inc.

February 14 - Hershey, NE - 59 year old Russ Peterson of Ogallala was killed on the job in an incident at Simplot Grower Solutions. Peterson was trapped inside a ladder safety cage between the grain leg and the roof of the building when the leg he was climbing collapsed onto the roof. Authorities said it appeared the leg was rusted at the base.

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