Saturday, November 08, 2003

The Weekly Toll

Another long list of workers killed on the job over the past couple of weeks.

I also want to point out another group who lost large numbers in the past two weeks on the job. Those are the military men and women just doing their job in Iraq. I've already written a long article about the fact that astronauts and the military get so much more attention than the larger numbers of regular workers who die every day on the job.

This week, for example, there has been much attention paid (and rightfully so) to the high number of soldiers lost in Iraq (over 30) even though many times more men and women were killed in American workplaces over the same period of time with much less press attention.

Construction worker dies in fall from condo project

A construction worker fell to his death from the eighth floor of The Waterfront on Venice Island condominiums Friday. The incident happened at 8:26 a.m.

Killed was William J. Molinaro, 44, 1000 block West Baffin Drive, Venice. He is survived by a wife and three children, according to Venice police investigators. Molinaro worked for Associated Interior Drywall, Sarasota.

Venice police Sergeant Mike Treanor said the man was putting drywall in an eighth-floor unit.

"He stepped out and apparently leaned against the two cables stretched across the balcony," he said. "The lead anchors holding the cables pulled out of the wall when he leaned on them." More Here.

Power Line Kills Man

Queens, NY -- A worker was killed and two others injured yesterday when they were electrocuted in a construction accident, police said.
The incident occurred shortly after 3 p.m. when three employees of CAC Industries were attempting to secure a metal cable swinging from a crane at a construction site.

Authorities suspect that while performing that task, either the crane or its cable somehow came into contact with a nearby power line, sending a powerful electrical current through the cable and shocking the workers.

Thomas Tierney, 35, was rushed to Peninsula General Hospital, where he died an hour after suffering burns throughout his body. Anthony Nelson, 42, was standing in a puddle of water at the time and was injured. Mitchell Gust, 40, was also shocked. Both men are in stable condition.

2 workers killed when crane touches power line

St. Clair Shores, MI -- The St. Clair Shores construction company that was involved in a double fatality Wednesday morning has no previous safety violations in the three years it has been in business, according to state records.

Two workers were electrocuted and a third injured when a crane they were working on either came near an overhead power line or touched the line, sending a powerful electrical current through them.

The incident happened as a Klee Construction crew was lifting roofing trusses with an estimated 100-foot crane on a canal in the area of 10 Mile Road and Jefferson, investigators said.

The victims were identified as Edward Spaccarotelli, 25, and Ryan Surant, 19, both employed by Kree Construction. Company workers said the men were "like family."

A preliminary report issued by the Michigan Occupational, Safety and Health Administration indicated the men were erecting a truss for a two-story house when the crane being used to lift the trusses into place made contact with an overhead energized electrical line.

Apparently Surant was holding a metal cable lifting the truss while Spaccarotelli was the crane operator.

Witnesses told reporters that Surant was unable to release the energized equipment as Spaccarotelli desperately tried to pull him away, only to be electrocuted himself.

More here.

Local man killed in Wallingford industrial accident

WILLIMANTIC CT— The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is currently conducting an industrial investigation into an accident that caused the death of a local man.

Philip F. Hopkins, 55, of Pennywood Lane, died Monday as a result of the workplace accident in Wallingford.

According to Lt. Marc Mikulski of the Wallingford Police, Hopkins was working at Infra Metals when a chain-driven crane in the plant was exchanging a Dumpster filled with scrap metal for an empty Dumpster.

For some reason, the filled Dumpster tipped over and fell off the crane and spilled its cargo, causing Hopkins’ death.

Mikulski said he believes Hopkins was struck by both the Dumpster and its contents.

Worker Killed in Plant Explosion

At the Chippewa Valley Ethanol Co., workers and managers are repairing their plant, damaged in a deadly explosion on Oct. 22, in hopes of resuming production of ethanol -- and their prized product, Shakers vodka -- within a couple of weeks.

But no one wants to celebrate when the next batch of the hot-selling Shakers Original American Vodka, now being marketed coast to coast, rolls off the line.

The Benson, Minn., plant is mourning the death of a welding contractor in the blast while opening its doors and records to Minnesota safety inspectors who will determine whether the plant was at fault.

The explosion killed Robert Olson, a 20-year-old welder from Granite Falls, Minn., who worked for Lundin Construction of Hanley Falls. At the request of Benson plant officials, Olson was cutting into the roof of a corn-mash storage tank when a flammable vapor inside ignited, according to the state Fire Marshal Division in St. Paul. More here.

Worker Dies In Fall At Louisville Airport
Victim Employed By Oklahoma Company

LOUISVILLE -- A man was killed early Thursday while working on a construction project at the Louisville International Airport. The man fell through the framing of a skylight in Concourse B at about 2:30 a.m. and landed on the floor below.

Source of plant blast eyed in Huntington

Huntington, IN -- Investigators continue to look for the origin of a fatal explosion at a Huntington wheel manufacturer.

About 8:30 p.m. Oct. 29, an explosion ripped through the Hayes Lemmerz International factory on Huntington's western edge. One worker was killed and two others were seriously injured.

A maintenance worker, David Ripplinger, remains in critical condition in the St. Joseph Regional Burn Center, said Geoff Thomas, spokesman for Lutheran Health Network.

Death inquiry may take a month

No witnesses in MMNA fatality

BLOOMINGTON, MI -- Results of a federal investigation into the Oct. 23 suffocation death of a Mitsubishi Motors North America worker likely won't become public for at least a month.

John Foster, 42, of Metamora was killed when he was pinned between pieces of equipment while he was performing preventative maintenance. He had worked at the plant for 15 years.

Worker Dies in Fall

(Janesville-AP) -- A worker who died in an accident at the Janesville General Motors plant is identified as 44-year-old Douglas Mellom.

An autopsy by the Rock County Coroners office conducted today found Mellom died yesterday morning when he fell from the top of an elevator shaft.

Mellom was working on repairing equipment when he fell down the shaft 18 feet.

Four Killed In Casino Parking Garage Collapse

ATLANTIC CITY -- Engineers and safety inspectors are beginning the delicate and dangerous work needed to stabilize the ruins of a parking garage that collapsed in New Jersey.

Crews worked through the night using steel cables to stabilize the building because they feared another collapse.

The garage was under construction at the Tropicana Casino in Atlantic City when the top five floors on the 10-story structure collapsed Thursday, like a house of cards. The collapse occurred while workmen poured concrete on the top floor of the structure. Four construction workers died, and 20 people were injured. More here, here and here.

Ohio man killed in plant accident

WINFIELD, W.Va. -- A welder died Friday after falling at least 70 feet from a catwalk at the John Amos Power Plant.

Tim Siders II fell at about 7:30 a.m., said Sharyn McCaulley, a spokeswoman for The Babcock & Wilcox Co. of Barberton, Ohio, a contractor installing a pollution control system at the plant, which is operated by American Electric Power.

Siders, 27, of Gallipolis Ferry, was taken to a Charleston hospital but died during surgery, McCaulley said.

Salem man dies after hitting wire

A heavy-equipment operator was killed Thursday when the machine he was operating touched a live wire near Bonneville Dam.

Luther Stinson Jr., 34, of Salem was operating a piece of machinery with a large boom that drives guardrail posts into the ground. Oregon State Police Lt. Dale Rutledge said Stinson was putting rail posts in the park area, near exit 40 on Interstate 84, when the pile driver touched a live wire about 2 p.m.

Explosion at oil production site in Donna kills 1
OSHA investigators called in to look into the blast

DONNA, TX — An explosion at an oil production site north of the city killed one person Thursday morning and seriously injured another.

Ernesto Garza, 22, died en route to McAllen Medical Center after sustaining injuries from an explosion involving a compressor, officials said.

The other man, whose identity was not released, remained in critical condition late Thursday at the hospital.

OSHA Launches Probe into Workers' Fatal Fall from Ladder

Northport, Alabama-- Investigators with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are looking into the death of a Tuscaloosa man who fell while working on a restaurant sign.

OSHA said 40-year-old Robert Daniel Stone, an employee of Knight Sign Industries, was changing bulbs at a McDonald's restaurant in Northport when the extension ladder he was using collapsed.

Road worker killed in construction zone

Pittsburgh -- A motorist struck and killed a construction worker Wednesday morning along a busy stretch of Painters Run Road in Mt. Lebanon.
James Vena, 48, of Meyersdale, Somerset County, was taken to St. Clair Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 9:20 a.m., about a half-hour after the accident near the road's intersection with Cedar Boulevard. An autopsy is expected to be completed today.

Authorities identify worker who died after fall

FARGO - A man who fell about 40 feet to his death while working on power poles has been identified.

Cass County authorities say Toby Windels, 21, of Sebeka, Minn., died after he fell from a bucket truck near Horace, south of Fargo.

Indiana County Power Plant Worker Killed

NEW FLORENCE, Pa. -- A man working at an Indiana County power plant was killed when he slipped or was dragged by suction into a coal stock pile.

Officials from the Conemaugh Generating Station in West Wheatfield Township say 36-year-old Michael Kuhns, of Fairfield Township, was found buried beneath the coal in a bin that feeds a conveyer belt. Kuhns, a subcontracted painter, was trapped in the bin around 3 p.m. Monday.

Construction worker dies when dump truck backs over him

STUART, FL — A construction worker died this morning when a dump truck loaded with fill dirt backed over him at a building site on Central Parkway.

Stuart Police said the worker was doing some surveying work and he didn't notice the truck. It wasn't known Tuesday morning if the truck was equipped with backup warning signals.

OSHA probing Ark. man's cell-tower death

LEOMINSTER -- State police and the federal Office of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) this week are continuing to investigate the death of a man who fell from a cell tower Friday.

"Cell tower work is particularly dangerous because the elevations are so high and there are so many of them going up because of consumer needs," said regional OSHA director Ronald E. Morin. (Ed. Note: Did that statement provide any useful information?)

William R. Clist, 24, of Yellville, Ark., died Friday when he fell from high atop a Sprint PCS cell tower under construction in west Leominster, according to Elizabeth Stammo, spokeswoman for District Attorney John Conte's office.

Safety officials review fatal fall in new arena

Federal workplace safety authorities are looking into the death of a Florida man who fell from a ladder last week while preparing a fireworks display in Toyota Center for the Houston Rockets' home opener on Thursday.

Christopher Boyd Spang, 47, of Auburndale, Fla., was working on a rocket to be fired from the scoreboard when the accident occurred about 5 a.m. Friday, said a report by the Harris County medical examiner's office.

For tree-removal workers, Isabel's dangers persist

VIRGINIA BEACH -- It should have been a routine job, one that Ed Monroe had seen done hundreds of times before.

But it wasn't.

Thursday's job for Green Tree, a local tree-removal company, would claim the life of one of Monroe's employees. He was one of four tree-trimming and logging professionals to die on the job in Virginia this year. With cleanup from Hurricane Isabel continuing, officials fear more such accidents.

Omar Garcia, 19, a crew member of three years, was killed Thursday afternoon while taking down a tree in Virginia Beach. Garcia's best friend was in the tree, as a climber, when a piece of the tree came down and struck Garcia.

Garcia's brother was also on hand, the site's CPR Supervisor, but there was little he could do to save his badly injured brother.

Garcia is the second local professional with a tree-removal company to be killed within the past two months

Mining accidents: 'Alarming trend'--Deaths of supervisory personnel raise red flag

Two mine-related fatalities in the state within a four-day span, including one at Holly Hill's Holcim Inc. plant, have Mine Safety and Health Administration officials digging for answers and clues as to the underlying causes for the back-to-back incidents.

Most disturbing, officials say, is the nature of the fatalities. Both involved experienced employees in supervisory roles.

"We have had a number of fatalities this year, and about 50 percent have involved supervisors," said Mike Davis, district manager of the southeast region MSHA, metal and non-metal division. "This has caused the greatest amount of concern this year. It is an alarming trend."

The first metal and non-metal fatality occurred Sept. 22 at Holcim when Antonio Gonzalez, 39, of Ridgeville was using a back-hoe to dig out along the side of a building to replace a retaining wall. The victim and the two co-workers were in a 15-foot-deep hole when the bank caved in, burying the victim. A second employee received minor injuries while a third co-worker escaped injury.

The fatal accident was the second at the plant in under two years. A worker was killed in February 2002 during the construction of a cement kiln at the site.

American Military Killed in Iraq Since October 26. There are 33 names here, and at least six more have died since. Photos and additional information can be found here.

James Anderson Chance III
Paul Fisher
James R. Wolf
Jose A. Rivera
Robert T. Benson
Francisco Martinez
Daniel Bader
Ernest G. Bucklew
Steven D. Conover
Anthony D. D'Agostino
Darius T. Jennings
Karina S. Lau
Keelan L. Moss
Brian H. Penisten
Ross A. Pennanen
Joel Perez
Brian D. Slavenas
Bruce A. Smith
Frances M. Vega
Paul A. Velazquez
Joe N. Wilson
Benjamin J. Colgan
Joshua C. Hurley
Maurice J. Johnson
Todd J. Bryant
Algernon Adams
Michael Paul Barrera
Aubrey D. Bell
Steven Acosta
Rachel K. Bosveld
Charles H. Buehring
Joseph R. Guerrera
Jamie L. Huggins