Sunday, July 18, 2004

Weekly Toll

Mechanic crushed to death at yard

A Fort Lauderdale man died Saturday when a front-end loader that he was repairing fell off its jack and crushed him.

Myron Niedzwiecki, 50, owned A-1 Mobile Tire Service, which changed tires on large vehicles like 18-wheelers, front-end loaders and farm tractors.

Niedzwiecki was working underneath the vehicle when it slipped and killed him instantly, said Bill Bamford, spokesman for the Davie Police Department.

Investigators look into worker's death

MARYSVILLE, MI -- The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the Thursday death of a worker at Huntsman Corp.

Allen Edward Frederick, 51, of Port Huron was crushed about 2 p.m. by a gate as he rode on a motorized railcar in the northeast corner of the company's property, Marysville Police Chief Mark Thorner said. It appears the wind blew the gate partially closed, pinning Frederick between the fence and the railcar, he said.

"It's just one of those freak accidents where if you take one thing out of the equation, this accident doesn't happen," Thorner said Friday.

Worker dies after machine accident

CALHOUN, Tenn. — A longtime employee at the Bowater newsprint plant died yesterday from injuries suffered when a machine was turned on while he was cleaning it, the plant's resident manager said.

Plant vice president and resident manager Roger Loney said Carl Chastain, 47, was fatally injured about 7:50 a.m. while cleaning a chip screen.

Loney said Bowater emergency workers responded and Chastain was taken to a hospital in Cleveland.

Loney said the chip screen is cleaned daily, and the Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration would help investigate how it got turned on.

Toledo man killed at Wal-Mart construction building site in Portage

A construction worker who died Thursday from injuries sustained at the Wal-Mart building site in Portage has been identified as Ryan Tack, 18, of Toledo, Ohio.

Tack was employed by Lamar Construction of Holland, which is working on the project on Shaver Road. Portage police identified Tack on Friday. He was injured when a steel roof truss that was standing on the ground tipped over onto the midsection of his body.

"He was preparing to move the beam when it somehow fell," said Portage Fire Chief Randolph Lawton. More here.

Worker Killed in Tractor Accident

MARION, OH -- John Price, 58, 264 Uncapher Ave., was killed between 10 a.m. and noon at Ohio Heartland Community Action Center, said Marc Comianos, Marion County Coroner. He died almost immediately. Robert Jordan, executive director of Goodwill Industries, Price's employer, found the body between 4-5 p.m. that day. Price was a 17-year employee with Goodwill Industries, and did independent contract work for the community center at 1183 Bellefontaine Ave.

Comianos said Price was thrown from the tractor when he hit a 15-foot-long, 4-by-4 piece of wood in the field and fell beneath the pull-behind Bush-Hog style mower. It is unknown where the piece of wood came from, according to police reports. And there is no indication that there were any witnesses to the incident.

Millersburg worker dies in freak shop accident

MILLERSBURG, OR — An accident at a small Millersburg shop Wednesday killed the business's sole employee, investigators said.

Casey Stewart, 20, was operating a high-pressure hydraulic press at Oregon Livestock Equipment, 1410 Old Salem Road, when a hydraulic fitting exploded off the press, hitting him in the chest, according to Linn County Sheriff Dave Burright.

Mercer man dies in accident at Bright Leaf treatment plant

HARRODSBURG, ky - Keith Casey, 53, of Mercer Avenue, died Thursday morning in an accident while he was working on the sewage treatment plant that serves his neighborhood in Bright Leaf Estates subdivision.

Casey had sprayed weeds to kill them and was putting gravel on the space using a small front-end loader, a Mustang Model 2204, that had been rented for the job.

Catlett said Casey was familiar with the equipment, having used it several times. He was putting down gravel over a 6-foot fence in a narrow area. The loader would not fit in the area where the gravel needed to be placed. After dropping the gravel, Casey would have gotten off the loader and spread the gravel with a rake or similar tool. The loader was sitting on an incline, and that led to the accident, Catlett said.

"It's my opinion that after he dropped the load of gravel, he had the shovel fully extended," Catlett said. "As soon as the rock left the shovel, (the loader) slid down the incline with the bucket extended. The bucket broke the top strand of barbed wire, slid down the incline and did a backwards flip and landed upside down."

Catlett said Casey was using all of the safety equipment on the machine, including a seat belt and a roll bar, but something went wrong with the seat. "The latch which held the seat came loose," he said. "It sprung like a mousetrap and pressed him to the front of the thing. ... He should have been hanging upside down held by the bar and the belt, but the seat let go."

OSHA probes port death

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration has begun the investigation into Tuesday’s accident that claimed the life of Stevedoring Services of America employee Roson Simmons.

Simmons died as a result of multiple trauma when he was crushed by rolls of paper, each weighing 1,000 pounds, as he worked at the docks of the S.C. Ports Authority Tuesday afternoon, Georgetown County Coroner Kenny Johnson said.

He said Simmons and three other men were helping to get the round bales of paper from a forklift to a harness when three of the four rolls on the machine fell. More here.

Worker Dies at Hanford

The Department of Energy says a worker at Hanford died in an accident late Thursday afternoon. The D.O.E. hasn't released the man's name yet. A spokeperson says the worker fell off an office trailer being moved on the 200 East area. The D.O.E. says it has launched a "Type-A" investigation, the highest kind of safety inquiry.

Worker Dies While Clearing Trees From Power Lines

Fairfax, Va. (AP) - Fairfax County police say a worker was killed Wednesday night while trying to clear trees from power lines.

Authorities say 56-year-old Bobby Hill of D.C. was clearing the lines about 10 o'clock in the 7,200 block of Barry Road in the Kingstowne area, when one of the trees fell and struck him in the upper body.

He was taken to the Inova Springfield Healthplex, where he was pronounced dead.

Hill was employed by the Asplundh Tree Expert Company - a contractor for Dominion Virginia Power.

Worker's death was electrocution

HAMILTON - A 46-year-old worker was electrocuted at a job site, the Butler County coroner has ruled, even though the wire he touched was not high voltage.

Dr. Richard P. Burkhardt on Wednesday said Daniel Anderson of Barnesville, in southeastern Ohio, died because he was wearing wet, muddy boots that helped electricity pass through his body as he handled an electrical wire.

About 6:30 p.m. Monday, Anderson and two fellow employees of Mid-Ohio Pipeline Co. Inc. of Lexington, Ohio, were working on Fort Hamilton Hospital's new intensive-care unit just north of the hospital on Eaton Avenue.

One of the workers knocked down an overhead wire with a forklift. Anderson, thinking the wire was a harmless cable TV line, began coiling up the wire, Burkhardt said.

"The current went through his left arm to his feet," Burkhardt said. During an autopsy Tuesday, Burkhardt found telltale signs of electrocution: an electrical burn on Anderson's left arm and tiny broken blood vessels in his feet.

Asphyxiation was cause of construction worker's death

A 34-year-old construction worker died from asphyxiation, an autopsy concluded Tuesday.

Glen W. Wilkins, of Benton, KY, died Monday afternoon while working on a sewer line for a new subdivision off Wiswell Road. A crew was digging the sewer line and in the process of making a man hole fell from a steel beam approximately 20 feet in the air.

Driver dies at mine

ELKO, NV - Dave Miller, 43, was killed at the Mineral Ridge Mine when his water truck went out of control, becoming the first mining fatality in Nevada this year.

Miller was killed on June 29, and U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration's initial report states that Miller apparently lost control of the water truck as it was traveling down a grade.

"He either attempted to exit the cab or was ejected and was fatally injured," MSHA states.

According to MSHA's Web site, Miller's death is the first for Nevada this year and the 12th death nationwide in the metals and nonmetals mining industries. There have been 14 fatalities in coal mining.

Worker hit by truck door dies

GREECE, NY — A construction worker died Monday after he was struck by the door of a truck at a work site at Greece Arcadia High School, 120 Island Cottage Road. Police did not release the man's name.

The man had just finished loading a compactor-type truck around 10:46 a.m. and was talking to the driver when the driver pulled away from the construction site, Officer Jim Leary said.

The 10- to 12-foot-high door swung out and hit the man, he said. The man suffered a significant head injury and was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital, where he died.

Construction worker dies in on-site accident

Austin, TX -- A construction worker died after falling from the roof of a garage early Sunday morning. The accident happened on the 10000 block of Courtney Way in West Travis County.

There were other construction workers at the site, but investigators believe the man was the only one who was working on the garage.

"We have a shell of a garage -- just the studs and the rafts are the only party of the structure and the concrete floor. He was in the process of putting a roof up. He was up on the shell of the roof and fell," Roger Wade, with the Travis County Sheriff's Office, said.

Valley construction worker dies after falling from roof

Opelika, AL -- A 54-year-old Valley man was killed this morning when he fell more than 25 feet from a roof construction site.

East Alabama Medical Center paramedics arrived at the West Point-Stevens plant around 10:00 a-m.

They found that Randall Wallace Pitchford, an employee of High Tech Roofing of Lanett had fallen after he apparently stepped onto a section of tin roof that was NOT supported.

Danbury man dies from fall off house

RIDGEFIELD, CT — The scaffolding along the right corner of this new home construction in Ridgefield apparently gave away, sending a worker falling to his death. A 45-year-old Danbury man died Friday when he fell from the second-floor scaffolding he was working on. Police said Jiri Hladky of Park Avenue, a roofer working on a construction site of upscale homes off Route 35, died of massive trauma.

Trench Collapse

Benton County, IA -- Construction worker Stacey Kusel of Elberon was the man who died yesterday after a trench collapsed around him.

Authorities say three men were in the 9-foot-deep hole when the it caved in. Two of the workers got out on their own. And rescuers did manage to get Kusel out, but he later died at a Cedar Rapids hospital.

State OSHA investigators were in Mount Auburn this morning interviewing people and looking at the trench. They say it could be months before they determine if any safety rules were violated. Regardless, working in trenches, or rescuing people from the can be very dangerous.

Captain Mike Fredericks is an expert in trench rescue techniques. He says nationally more than 100 workers die every year in trench collapses because they don't follow state OSHA regulations.

Fredericks says any trench over five feet deep must have a protective system or shield. He says once a trench collapses, it's much more likely a second collapse will occur. Rescuers must put in a protective device before attempting to get the victim out.

Worker killed in construction accident

Onalaska, WI -- George A. Gilbert Jr., a 52-year-old construction worker from the town of Campbell, died Wednesday morning after part of a basement wall collapsed, at an Onalaska home where an addition was being built.

"The ground was definitely saturated" from recent rainfall, which may have been a factor in the wall's collapse, Steers said. The wall collapsed outward, into an excavated area, he said.

Construction workers were in an excavated hole next to the limestone basement wall when the wall collapsed, pinning the victim under the wall, according to an Onalaska Police Department press release. Update here.

By the book, Company says safety rules were being followed at the time of employee's death, expresses 'hurt' and 'sorrow' at his loss

MUSCATINE, Iowa - A Union Tank Car representative said Wednesday that routine air safety tests made inside an empty railroad tank car showed no signs of depleted oxygen nor high flammability or toxicity levels before a fatal accident at the plant.

An autopsy was scheduled to be performed by a state medical examiner Wednesday on Union Tank Car employee and Columbus Junction resident Jeffrey Paetz to determine a cause of death, the company official said.

Paetz, 36, was found by a co-worker inside a tank car at the company's Muscatine Railcar Maintenance and Coating Shop, 2603 Industrial Connector Road, around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday. According to company officials, he was working alone inside the car at the time of the accident.

Reno city worker killed in tree-cutting accident

A city of Reno tree maintenance worker fell 20 feet to his death Wednesday while removing a dead tree at Jones Street and Riverside Drive, officials said.

Scott McCall, 42, of Sparks, was pronounced dead in the Washoe Medical Center trauma center about 50 minutes after the 8 a.m. fall near the Truckee River, city spokesman Steve Frady said.

Witnesses said McCall, a 17-year city employee, was sawing a large branch from the elevated bucket of a truck. Two other employees were holding ropes tied to the limb.

When the limb became stuck and pinched the saw, the workers tugged on the branch to pull it away from the saw and the bucket, Frady said.

The branch struck the bucket, bouncing McCall several feet and out of the bucket. He hit the limb and fell to Riverside Drive, suffering injuries to his chest, Frady said.

Flag man on roadway dies when van hits him

A flag worker was killed Tuesday west of Boynton Beach when he was struck and killed by a minivan.

Vincent Berrick, 39, of North Lauderdale, was flagging motorists in the northbound lanes of Military Trail near Palm Gate Drive about 2 p.m. when a northbound minivan hit him, according to Palm Beach County sheriff's reports.

Two workers stricken, die in manhole

A federal investigation is under way into the deaths of two Berks County sewer workers who were stricken while working in a manhole in Newtown a week ago today. Robert P. Hampton, 43, of Leesport, died last Saturday an Bryn Mawr Hospital. Larry Dunning, 60, of Barto, died last Friday at Riddle Memorial Hospital.

Accident claims city worker

Roxboro, NC -- A City of Roxboro employee died Friday afternoon from injuries he sustained in a work-related accident.

Michael Wayne Ladd, 40, of 320 Johnny Palmer Rd. was dead when emergency authorities arrived on the scene of the accident behind the City of Roxboro Wastewater Treatment Plant, which is off of Cavel-Chub Lake Road.

"He was operating a street sweeper and got caught between the tailgate and the hopper," Roxboro Assistant City Manager Tommy Warren said. "He was behind the wastewater treatment plant. We have a place back there where we dump all the leaves and limbs that we collect."

Industrial plant blast kills 1, injures 1 in Pampa

PAMPA, TX -- An explosion killed one worker and injured at least one more at an industrial plant in the Panhandle today, officials said.

There was no immediate word on what caused the explosion and fire at Titan Specialties in Pampa, Gray County Sheriff Don Copeland said.

Karen Standefer, a Titan employee, died in the blast about 7:30 a.m., Copeland said. He said another employee, Merry Jenkins, suffered severe burns and was airlifted to a Lubbock hospital. She remained in critical condition Tuesday afternoon.

Public Utility Worker Electrocuted

A Mt. Carmel, IL public utility company worker is dead, and his partner is in a Louisville hospital Tuesday.

Both were working about two o'clock Tuesday morning trying to get power back on for the Mt. Carmel area. Forty-five-year-old Rick Henson was apparently electrocuted when he came in contact with a live power line. Fifty-year-old Kenny Kiefer was seriously hurt in the accident and rushed to a Louisville hospital.

Riders' helper killed in fall at Elk River rodeo

A horse-drawn hearse will carry Randy Tribitt to his final resting place on Friday, a cowboy funeral for a man whose habits were incongruous with the modern age.

A rodeo worker for more than two decades, Randy Tribitt died Sunday when a bucking bronco toppled his horse and sent him crashing face-first to the hard-packed dirt of an Elk River arena floor. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Airport construction fatality still under investigation

Gertie Mae Fennell will bury her 52-year-old son today.

"I'm going to miss him," she said. "He was a good child."

Nathaniel Fennell died July 1 while working on the south west perimeter road at the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport. He was employed by R.B. Baker Construction Inc., a company he had been with for several years. He was working in a manhole at the time of the incident.

A fellow construction worker, Johney Ellison, followed Fennell into the confined space to try to help him. His condition is unknown. Ellison had been listed in critical condition last week.

Fennell is the second person to have died while under the employment of R.B. Baker Construction Inc., according to OSHA records.