Monday, February 09, 2004

The Weekly Toll

Worker Asphyxiated in Tanker Truck

An investigation is under way in the death of a 23-year-old Battle Ground, WA man who was killed in an industrial accident in Portland.

Curtis "Curt" Claflin had been working inside a truck tanker at Beall Transport Equipment Co. in Portland on Wednesday when co-workers found him unconscious. He later was pronounced dead at the scene, the victim of asphyxiation, according to the Multnomah County Medical Examiner.

"The air ran out," said his mother, Pam Claflin of Battle Ground. "We don't know exactly how or why."

Curt Claflin's job at Beall was to clean, repair and inspect truck tankers, his mother said. She did not know whether he was wearing a breathing apparatus or whether someone had been watching while he was inside the tank.

Worker Killed at Landfill

WHITE TWP. NJ -- The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration will investigate the death of a tractor-trailer driver Wednesday at the Warren County landfill.

Slobodan Barbulovic, 39, of Glendale, N.Y., was attempting to unhook a tarp from his trailer as the rig was stopped on the landfill weigh station when the 2:39 p.m. incident occurred, state police said.

The tractor-trailer rolled forward and Barbulovic apparently lost his footing, slipped and was crushed beneath the tires, state police said.

Hardhat dies in 8th floor fall

A construction worker died yesterday after he fell from the eighth-floor window of a new apartment building in the Bronx, police said.

Jose Viscano of Queens was removing debris from the top floor of 1240 Washington Ave., in Morrisania, when he apparently slipped about 9 a.m., said Ilyse Fink, a spokeswoman for the Department of Buildings.

City building inspectors issued Joy Construction Corp. a violation for failing to install guardrails on several windows on the eighth floor and a safety railing on a sixth-floor setback, Fink said.

Man killed in machine

TOWNSEND, MA -- A 25-year-old father of three died Saturday after he got stuck in an injection molding machine at his job at Sterilite Corp.

Paramedics pronounced Sixto Otero, of 21 Francis St., Fitchburg, dead after they arrived at the Main Street plastics company at about 11:30 a.m.

"Initial investigation and statements from witnesses indicate that Mr. Otero became lodged in the molding machine while attempting to dislodge an obstruction from the machine," Townsend Police Chief Erving M. Marshall Jr. wrote in a press release.

(Bad couple of weeks for machinery deaths. Check out these two here and here.)

Two men killed at Murrieta construction site

MURRIETA, CA ---- Two men died Thursday morning when they were electrocuted at a construction site in Murrieta, authorities said.

Daniel Maxwell, 18, of Perris and Mike Pillow, 41, of Hemet were pronounced dead at the scene of the industrial accident, according to the Riverside County coroner's office.

"(Maxwell) was apparently trying to swing the crane around to pick up a hydraulic cylinder" to be used in repairing the earthmover, Whisenand said.

"It looks like he may have raised the crane too high and the crane hit some power lines," the chief said.

A charge arched back through the crane and energized the ground, electrocuting the two men ---- both of whom died instantly, Whisenand said.

Interestingly, this incident comes at almost the same time that OSHA completes and investigation of a simlar incident that occurred three months ago:
ALLENTOWN, PA-February 4, 2004 — A three-month federal investigation has concluded that a crane accident that killed three men in Telford in Bucks County last summer was caused by human error.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration report says 68-year-old crane operator Robert Forepaugh of Bensalem Township failed to maintain a ten-foot clearance from overhead electric lines and made contact with charged wires, energizing the crane.

Two co-workers died trying to save Forepaugh, who was hurled from the cab in the accident August 21st at JDM Materials Company. Forepaugh's nephew, 41-year-old George Frederick of Philadelphia, began administering CPR, but another worker, 29-year-old Daniel Evans of Philadelphia, touched the still-electrified crane, sending a deadly jolt through all three men.

Large Concrete Slab Fatally Crushes Fla. Construction Worker

PERDIDO KEY, Fla. -- A construction worker died Thursday when a large concrete slab was accidentally lowered onto his head by a crane.

Frank Scott, 47, of Mobile, Ala., was bending underneath the slab when a foreman radioed the crane operator to lower the concrete about 2 1/2 feet to the ground, according to the Escambia County Sheriff's Office. More here.

Mine Worker Killed

Kentucky has lost its first miner of 2004. State officials say a worker died after a 21-foot fall at a Leslie County mine Tuesday.

A spokeswoman with the state Department of Mines and Minerals says James Asher was attempting to tear down a metal building structure on the surface area of an underground mine around 4:30 p.m. when he fell from a bucket truck. More here.

Worker Dies In Rail Car Accident

PLANT CITY, FL - An employee at the Gerdau Ameristeel plant at 4006 Paul Buchman Highway was killed shortly after 6 a.m. Tuesday in an accident involving a rail car.
Brian C. Gilbert, 30, of 18644 Hamilton Road, Dade City, was helping to back in railroad cars at the plant when the accident occurred, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said.

A co-worker discovered Gilbert under a railroad car with his arm severed, the sheriff's report states.

According to the report, Gilbert went in to cardiac arrest and, despite the efforts of fire rescue workers, died at the scene.

Valve Explosion Kills Power Plant Worker

Bill Bowers advised, "Just be." He died Friday after a valve exploded Thursday at Progress Energy Florida's Crystal River complex.

At Progress Energy Florida's Crystal River complex, Bowers was a plant operator, and everybody liked him.

So news of the accident that led to his death Friday hit hard.

He had been opening a valve on a high-pressure pump in a coal-burning plant about 8 p.m. Thursday. The valve exploded, workers said.

Bowers, 49, was airlifted to Tampa General Hospital.

His skull was fractured, his brain was bleeding and his right arm was almost severed, according to Bowers' "life partner" of almost six years, Cathleen Foley, 54. She said head trauma from the explosion caused his death.

Worker crushed by cement truck

A worker was killed when a cement truck ran over him in the Gaslamp District yesterday, police said.

The accident happened shortly before 9 a.m. on Ninth Avenue just south of J Street, San Diego police said. The victim, a 60-year-old man from Los Angeles County, died instantly. His name wasn't immediately released.

Worker pinned between forklifts in A.C.

ATLANTIC CITY - -- A Pleasantville woman suffered a possible broken pelvis Friday when she became pinned between two forklifts while helping remove equipment from the Convention Center after the Pool and Spa Show.

Victim Annabelle Ross, 61, a member of Teamsters Local 331, was operating one of the forklifts. She became caught in the rear wheels of one the forklifts and was pushed into the other's wheels, becoming briefly trapped before the machinery was moved off her, police said.

Rail car accident kills worker at Westside mill

A grain mill worker was killed Wednesday morning when a rail car pinned him against a wall on the Westside, officials said.

Dwight A. Holderman, 44, of Fishers, was working with a 200,000-pound rail car, which left the tracks at Cargill Dry Corn Ingredients, 1730 W. Michigan St., about 11:30 a.m., police said.

Holderman died at the scene. Police said a crane was summoned from Ohio to move the rail car so the man's body could be freed. More here.

Kiewit employee dies after 25-foot fall from bridge

Pipefitter's aide's harness was not hooked up

An employee at Kiewit Offshore Services Ltd. died Monday night after falling 25 feet from a piece of a bridge he was working on, the company's president said.

Damon Tucker, 20, of Ingleside, was working as a pipefitter's helper shortly after 7 p.m. Monday when he fell from the bridge structure. Police responded to the call at 7:23 p.m. and found Tucker dead at the scene.

"It looks like it was an accident," San Patricio County Sheriff Leroy Moody said.

Tucker was wearing a safety harness before he fell, but he was not hooked up, Moody said.

Trucker found in tanker, dies

EAST LIVERPOOL, IN — A truck driver found in the bottom of his tanker at VonRoll/WTI Monday afternoon has died, according to company officials, who would not release the driver’s name.

According to a release from VonRoll, a company employee was unloading a tanker truck containing lime slurry just after 2 p.m. when he found the driver in the bottom of the tank, which still contained some of the product.

The employee who entered the tank to remove the driver also was taken to the hospital in a second ambulance, both of which were en route to the hospital by 2:30 p.m., according to VonRoll officials.

Spokesman Raymond Wayne said he did not know how the driver ended up in the tanker, and said that is one of the aspects of a comprehensive investigation that is under way. More here.

State to probe Davenport (IA) construction worker death

A Honduran immigrant who died at a Davenport construction site last week may not have been wearing a hard hat, contrary to a policy of the general contractor that required him to have one, police and a company official said.

While co-workers who were on the site when Santiago Cano, 43, fell to his death Friday say he was wearing the protective headgear, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and police did not see it and could find no evidence of it when they retrieved his body and looked through his personal belongings at the hospital, according to a police report.

Cano fell 12 feet onto his head, breaking his neck and his right arm at the wrist in the mid-morning accident, according to police. He was pronounced dead after being taken to Genesis Medical Center-East Campus.

Cano was the third person to die in an industrial accident in the Iowa Quad-Cities since mid-December.

Michael W. Dudley, 39, of East Moline, died Dec. 15 after getting caught on a conveyor belt at LeClaire Manufacturing in Bettendorf. Lawrence Erbst, 37, of Davenport, was found dead Dec.19 inside a hopper at Holland International Manufacturing of Brave Foundries LLC., Davenport.