Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Weekly Toll: Death in the American Workplace

We hope by writing this blog we are able to bring about awareness to the number of worker deaths suffered in the United States. We know this is not a comprehensive list but several people corroborate to find all those we can. Our hearts and thoughts go to the family members who have lost a loved one.

Worker Struck by Winch

June 24, 1015 - Victorville, CA - 38 year old David Padilla was killed on the job when the 25-ton winch he was operating malfunctioned, catapulting him and the winch across a shored pit. He and other workers were removing a large piece of a micro-tunneling machine from a tunnel when the winch being operated by Padilla broke loose. It appears he was employed by Foxfire Contractors who were working on the Upper Narrows Pipeline Replacement Project near Victorville for the Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority.

Oil Field Worker Dies Due to Heat

June 30, 2015 - Great Bend, KS - 30 year old Travis Underwood was an employee of Klima Well Service Inc., an oil field pumping unit service, who was performing oil field re-work at an existing oil well site. He was part of a three man crew at the site moving tubing and pipe when he was discovered unresponsive on a hot day.

Trench Collapse Claims Life

June 30, 2015 - Fritch, TX - 30 year old Juan Casteneda was a worker on a crew building a new location for the Allsups chain of gas stations and convenience stores installing fuel tanks. He died in a trench collapse when the dirt walls collapsed bringing the fuel tanks down with them.

Man Buried in Trench Collapse

July 1, 2015 - Apple Valley, MN - 51 year old Gerald Lyle Thompson was working with his brother to install drain tiles at a lot in Apple Valley when the wet sides of the trench he was in collapsed around him up to his shoulders. The weight of the wet soil was so much that he was unable to breath. He and his brother worked for DSM Excavation.

Father and Son Die at Farm

July 2, 2015 - Woodmohr, WI - 47 year old Rodney "Ram" Seibel and his 21 year old son Jeremy Seibel both died on their family farm after being exposed to toxic fumes in a manure tank. According to witnesses, Rodney climbed down a four foot ladder into the manure pit to try to retrieve a wheel that had broken off a manure conveyor. He was quickly overcome by the manure gasses. Jeremy then climbed down to try to save his father but was also overcome by the poisonous gasses.

Construction Worker Shot on Jobsite

July 2, 2015 - New Orleans, LA - A 22 year old unidentified man, who was working on a home construction project, was shot while working for an unknown reason.

Farm Incident Claims Life

July 5, 2015 - Springfield, NE - 72 year old Jerry Norris was using a farm tractor for mowing on the day he died. He had not been seen in several hours so a neighbor went looking for him and found him lying in the field. It appears he fell from the tractor and was then run over.

Worker Struck by Heavy Equipment

July 7, 2015 - Lancaster, PA - 59 year old Bruce Hardy of Bainbridge was working at the Holtwood Dam when he was struck by a piece of construction equipment. Others were attempting to free a loader on a steep bank. Another piece of heavy equipment was brought over in an attempt to free the loader and that is what struck and killed Hardy. He was employed by Walsh Construction.

Trench Collapse at Bridge Construction Kills One

July 7, 2015 - Millville, PA - 37 year old Richard Gold of Unityville was working at a construction site repairing a bridge over Little Fishing Creek near Millville. He was working with a crew from Susquehanna Supply, drilling asphalt and Gold was down in a trench cleaning mud off the wall. The embankment collapsed suddenly, pinning him to the opposite wall of the trench.

Robotic Machinery Kills Worker

July 7, 2015 - Grand Rapids, MI - 57 year old Wanda Jean Holbrook worked in the maintenance department for Ventra Ioia Main, which produces automotive bumpers, trailer hitches and chrome-plated plastics, for 12 years. Many of the machines in the plant are robotic. Holbrook was trapped by one of those robotic machines, but it is unclear how.

Man Dies During Renovation Project

June 7, 2015 - Winston-Salem, NC - 65 year old Dennis Michael Laney of Chester, SC was working on a renovation project in the Wake Forrest Innovation Quarter. Circumstances on how he died are unclear but it involved a cherry picker that he was operating near a walkway. He was an employee of Bonitz Contracting Co. of Concord, a sub-contractor for Whiting Turner.

Corrections Officer Dies From Fall

July 7, 2015 - Trion, GA - 50 year old Dale Mitchell of Summerville was a 25-year Corrections Officer at Hays State Prison. He died on the job due to a fall. He was performing some maintenance and was knocked off a mechanical cart by a ladder. Further details are not known.

Man Dies in Fall

July 8, 2015 - Danville, PA - 48 year old Stephen Kuchka of Berwick was getting ready to take lunch with his coworkers when he fell from scaffolding as they were lowering it. It had been raised to nine and a half stories. He was working on restoring yellow brick on the western side of the Foss Clinic at Geisinger Medical Center. His employer was Masonry Preservation Services.

Fall From Scaffolding Causes Death

June 8, 2015 - Walker, MI - 53 year old Michael Bloom of Kentwood had worked for Profile Industrial Packaging for about 17 years. He died from injuries due to a fall from scaffolding. According to a relative there was plywood being used on the scaffold but it had a gap between pieces and it was not properly anchored to the scaffold. The scaffold was being used for construction in the facility and was about 20 feet high.

Man Trapped in Burning Semi Trailer

July 9, 2015 - Forsyth County, NC - An unidentified construction worker was killed on the job when he was trapped in a semi trailer that started on fire. He was unloading a delivery of pine straw, pushing it towards the trailer doors, when a spark caught the straw on fire. Further attempts to locate his name were unsuccessful.

Man Falls at Construction Site

July 10, 2015 - Jordan, MN - 69 year old John Albert Dickerman of Mankato came out of retirement, temporarily, to help a contractor on a construction project. He was working with a crew from a Mankato contractor, R.L. Wells Construction, installing trussing for a roof at a height of roughly 25 to 30 feet when he fell to his death. How or why he fell is unknown.

Tow Truck Driver Hit by Car

July 10, 2015 - Port Arthur, TX - 35 year old Frank Amerson was working with a disabled vehicle along the interstate when he was struck by a car. Dozens of fellow wrecker drivers came out a few days after his death to give honor to one of their own. He was an employee for SWAT Towing & Recovery.

Construction Worker Struck by Heavy Equipment

July 13, 2015 - Saginaw, MI - 40 year old Jason Robert Schwartzly was rearranging gravel in a ditch near the campus of Delta College when he was struck by an excavator. The excavator was dumping gravel into the ditch when it slid down the side and struck Schwartzly. He was employed by Bourdow Construction.

Farm Worker Falls From Platform

July 14, 2015 - Vicksburg, MI - 31 year old Marcos Fonseca of Marcellus was killed on the job when he fell from an elevated area. Fonseca was looking at an office area of a mill that is under construction. As he left the office area he stepped down onto a lower platform and fell about 15 feet. He was an employee of H & H Grain and Feed, Inc.

Young Public Works Employee Struck by Garbage Truck

July 14, 2015 - Nashville, TN - 19 year old Chandler Harris was riding on the back of  a garbage truck when the truck got too close to the wall near the Christian Life Center and pinned him in between the truck and the wall. He then fell to the ground and was run over by the truck. The driver was unaware that Harris had fallen from the back. He was a Tennessee Public Works employee.

Highway Worker Struck by Motorist

July 14, 2015 - Merrill, WI - 50 year old Marcus Wydeven of Tomahawk was a 20 year employee of Lincoln County Highway Department. He was flagging traffic at a work site when an elderly motorist lost control of her car. She struck Wydeven before leaving the road and flipping her car.

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