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News and Commentary on Workplace Health & Safety, Labor and Politics

Sunday, April 24, 2005


Weekly Toll: Workers Memorial Day Edition

Thursday, April 28, is Workers Memorial Day, a day set aside by labor unions and workers around the world to "mourn for the dead and fight for the living." Below is the last Weekly Toll before this year's observance. At the bottom, I've added links for all of the Weekly Tolls for the past year.

A few comments:

First, as you've probably noted, the "Weekly Toll" is misnamed, it's actually a bi-weekly toll.

Second, as I've said before, this is only a partial count. I generally list "only" between forty and fifty workplace fatalities every two weeks, yet over 200 workers die in workplace accidents every two weeks in the United States. Many never get listed in the newspapers where I get my information, and others I just can't find.

Third, between 1900 and 2300 workers die every two weeks from work-related disease, many from work-related cancers. Very few of those names will ever appear in the news media or on the Weekly Toll.

Finally, if you haven't done so, click on some of the links. It's never ceases to shock and depress me how short some of the articles are and how little information they contain about what caused the incident and how it could have been prevented. Many of the articles don't include the name of the worker killed because the names are being temporarily withheld until the family is notified. But the press has often lost interest by then, and we'll never know their names.

So what's the point? When I was at AFSCME I wrote a bi-monthly health and safety newsletter for a few years. An edition would never go by without having to report on the death of one or more of our members. I was told that some of the powers-that-be thought this list was too depressing and they didn't see the point. But I considered all of these deaths "teachable moments," for members doing similar work, for staff that should be assisting members to prevent these incidents, and for the leadership, some of whom had been away from the workplaces of their members for too long to remember the often life-threatening working conditions.

So why do we continue to do this terribly depressing list? I had asked myself the same qustion a few months into doing this Blog. It was a lot of work, and I wasn't sure what meaning it had or if anyone was even reading it. But gradually, I started hearing from people about how much more impact these stories had than just hearing numbers and statistics. Most meaningfully, I started hearing from the family members of many of the victims I listed. They found some consolation in seeing their loved ones names listed, and some measure of understanding to see their deaths put into a political and social context. Finally, I think many found some outlet to the anger and frustratoin they had been feeling.

For all of that, the labor (emotional and physical) of putting this together is worth it. But, even with all of that, I'm not sure I could have continued this long without the help of Tammy and Kelly who unfailingly spend hours compiling this list, while doing their own memorial webpage, United Support & Memorial For Workplace Fatalities.


THE WEEKLY TOLL


Local man dies in industrial accident

Phelps, KY -- A Whayne Supply employee died while working Thursday afternoon, officials have confirmed. "We've confirmed that we have lost an employee," said branch operations manager Mark Miller.

According to an accident report from the Mine Safety and Health Administration, Rocky J. Reynolds, 22, of Robinson Creek, was conducting repair work to the steering system on a Caterpilar 980G front end loader when he was fatally crushed in the articulation pivot area of the loader.

The incident, which occured around 2 p.m., happened at the Point Rock Tipple in Phelps, which is operated by Central Appalachia Mining. A company representative was not available for comment.


Man Killed in Trench Collapse

Madera, CA — A deadly trench collapse in Madera killed one man Thursday morning. It happened in front of the man's brother, who tried, but was unable to save him.

Excavation workers were in the process of digging and installing concrete irrigation pipe when tragedy struck, as a sidewall inside a trench collapsed. 28-year-old Mario Romero was working inside the trench when he was suddenly overcome by thousands of pounds of dirt.

There were no signs of any shoring inside the 12-foot deep trench.


Chillicothe officer Larry Cox was killed

Chillicothe, OH -- A manhunt was underway in Chillicothe Friday for a man who police say shot and killed an off-duty police officer during the attempted robbery of a gas station.

Police Chief Jeffrey Keener says the suspect stole a car from a restaurant and then tried to rob the gas station around 9 p.m. Thursday

Keener says off-duty officer Larry Cox had been on the force for 19 years. He was married and had a son.

Officials say Cox was walking home from his parents' house when he happened upon the pursuit.


Mechanic shot, killed

Benton, MS -- Eric Winford stood by his cousin's side as ambulance workers tried to revive the man after he was shot Friday morning.

"We were trying to get him to blink his eyes, but we had no luck with that," Winford said.

Winford's cousin, Clifton Patterson of Benton, was fatally shot at work in Jackson during a dispute over missing mechanic's tools, police said.

Eddie Mitchell, 51, of Vicksburg allegedly shot fellow employee Patterson, 43, multiple times, Jackson Police Department spokesman Robert Graham said. The men worked as mechanics at Anglin Tire Co., 926 I-20 West at Gallatin Street.


Missouri trooper hurrying to manhunt is killed in crash

A call for help took Ralph C. Tatoian away from his wife and three children before dawn Wednesday.

But in a sense, the Missouri Highway Patrol trooper took them along. A photo of his family was the only thing tucked in his pockets when he died in a car crash about 30 minutes later, while rushing to a manhunt.

On the back of the picture someone had written, "We'll always love you."

Tatoian, 32, was on his way to join fellow tactical officers in looking for a burglary suspect who wounded an officer in a gunfight in Gasconade County several hours earlier.


Two electrocuted while working on power lines

COMFORT, Texas - Two utility workers were electrocuted Thursday while upgrading a power line in this town about 50 miles northwest of San Antonio.

The men were inside a bucket truck working on a 345-kilovolt line at a substation. One was a 26-year-old LaGrange man and the other a 48-year-old Wimberly resident, Kendall County Sheriff's Lt. Louis Martinez said. Their names were not immediately released.

Both were employees of the Lower Colorado River Authority.


OSHA investigating working conditions that led to Boise man's death

BOISE -- The Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating whether working conditions at a site where a 58-year-old Boise man died complied with safety regulations.

James Wonacott died from extensive head and neck injuries after he was hit by a chain while clearing trees near the Boise River Tuesday. Ada County Coronor Erwin Sonnenberg says the chain was wrapped around a tree. It got caught in a chipper, which threw the chain at Wonacott.

OSHA reports say he was working for Hailey, Idaho-based Sawtooth Wood Recycling.


Worker killed in fall at mill in Madawaska

MADAWASKA, ME - An electrician wiring a motor atop a nearly 30-foot-high empty mixing tank died Wednesday morning when a grating platform he was standing on collapsed and he fell into the tank, a Fraser Papers official said. The early morning industrial accident at Fraser Papers paper mill killed Marc Baron, 49, a first class electrician and a 27-year veteran at the mill. Baron was believed to have died instantly from blunt force, according to a company spokesman. The incident was reported to mill security personnel at 9:11 a.m. It was the first industrial accident at the mill since the early 1950s.


Truck driver dies in crash; nearly 50 firefighters sent to hospital

NAUGATUCK, W.Va -- A truck driver has died and nearly 50 emergency workers and others have been treated for hazardous chemical exposure after an accident in Mingo County.

The flatbed truck crashed and burst into flames just before midnight Thursday night on U.S. Route 119 near Millers Creek and Naugatuck. The four-lane highway remained shut down in both directions Friday because of the accident and police are asking drivers to avoid the area.

The truck was carrying barrels of a polyurethane-based sealant called Retneau that is used to fill the tires of off-road coal mining equipment to prevent flats and as a wood sealant.

Firefighters responding to the accident first thought the leaking liquid was oil but they soon began complaining of breathing problems and other ailments. They were taken to Williamson Memorial Hospital for treatment and decontamination.


3 Pilots Die in Crash of Firefighting Plane

Chico, CA -- A firefighting aircraft that was scheduled to operate for the U.S. Forest Service next month crashed in a northeastern California forest Wednesday evening, killing three crew members aboard.

The wreckage was spread over an area of steep, rocky terrain on the edge of the Lassen National Forest and caused a fire that consumed more than two acres on impact, Forest Service spokeswoman Heidi Perry said. Forest Service and local firefighting crews were able to contain the fire by yesterday morning, Perry said.

Government safety investigators who arrived at the scene 30 miles outside Chico, Calif., yesterday said they could not determine the cause of the crash, but the accident renewed safety experts' concerns about the continued use of aging military planes to fight fires under difficult conditions that they were not designed to fly in. The National Transportation Safety Board cautioned the Forest Service about its use of converted military planes to fight fires last year after two fatal accidents in 2002, when the planes literally broke up during flight because of cracks caused by fatigue.

Among those killed in the crash were Aero Union's chief pilot, Tom Lynch, and pilots Brian Bruns and Paul Cockrell, the company said.


Memphis, Tennessee Firefighter Dies While Driving Firetruck

A 38-year-old Memphis firefighter died Wednesday after he collapsed behind the wheel of a fire engine on a routine alarm call.

Shortly after 11 a.m. David O'Conner, driving Engine 7 west on St. Paul, collapsed, sending the fire engine onto the sidewalk, MFD Deputy Director Alvin Benson said.

Lt. Kenneth Lepard jumped over the console, grabbed the wheel and steered it clear of a fence, Benson said. It's unclear how fast the engine was moving.

Firefighters were unable to revive O'Conner, Benson said. He was pronounced dead at Methodist University Hospital.


Pittsburgh man killed in turnpike accident

Mt. Pleasant, PA -- A Pittsburgh businessman was killed Tuesday morning in a one-vehicle accident on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Mt. Pleasant Township.

Alexander Shvets, 35, of Greenfield, died after his 2003 Chevrolet Express van left the roadway at 5:50 a.m. at mile marker 82.8, said Westmoreland County Deputy Coroner Joseph Musgrove.

Shvets was traveling west when the van failed to negotiate a curve and overturned, state police said. He was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the vehicle, according to police.

Shvets owned a food service company in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill section and was transporting restaurant supplies in the 15-seat van when the accident occurred, Musgrove said.


Remote control claims another victim

CLEVELAND, OH -- A Union Pacific switchman was killed in a remote control switching accident in Riverdale, Utah, on April 11, underscoring the dangers of unregulated remote control train operations. Early reports indicate that a lack of training may have contributed to the fatality, the latest in a string of serious remote control related accidents. The victim in the accident -- a 38-year-old switchman named Anthony L. Petersen -- had eight months of total railroad experience at the time of the accident. It was only his second day on the job at Riverdale when he was killed.

“Right now remote control operators only get two weeks of training,” BLET National President Don Hahs said. “That’s not enough and sadly, Anthony L. Petersen paid the ultimate price for this lack of oversight.”

It is believed that the switchman, who was not wearing a beltpack device, was riding on the side of a rail car when he fell and was run over.


Arena Football player dies from injury in game, Lucas was hit, presumed to damage spinal cord

LOS ANGELES - Al Lucas, a lineman for the Los Angeles Avengers, died yesterday afternoon after suffereing an apparent spinal cord injury while trying to make a tackle early in the Arena Football League team's game at Staples Center, officials said.


FAMED DOC KILLED

New York, NY- One of the country's leading breast-cancer surgeons was killed yesterday by an ambulette as she crossed the street less than a block from her job at Memorial Sloan-Kettering. Renowned specialist Dr. Jeanne Petrek, 57, was on her way to work after apparently visiting her elderly mom, who lives down the street, at around 10:15 a.m., when she was struck walking across East 64th Street at Second Avenue, witnesses said.


Store clerk shot to death in Gaffney

GAFFNEY, S.C. - The clerk at a gasoline station here was found shot to death in a restroom and police said her boyfriend turned himself in to sheriff's deputies in Georgia. A co-worker found the body of Pamela Ownby, 43, of Gaffney about 6:10 a.m. Tuesday, Police Chief John O'Donald said. Ownby had opened the store at 5:30 a.m.


Worker killed by falling tree

LOVELAND, KY LOVELAND, Ky. A Kentucky man trimming trees at a home northeast of Cincinnati was killed when a tree fell on him.

James Napier was pronounced dead yesterday at University Hospital in Cincinnati. The 35-year-old was from Dayton in Campbell County.

He worked for Scottie's and Son Tree Service. He suffered head and neck injuries


Investigators looking into death of employee at Lawton Goodyear

LAWTON, Okla. - Authorities believe the death of an employee at the Goodyear tire plant in Lawton is an accident, but they don't know exactly what happened. Curtis Eary was found late Sunday tangled in a piece of equipment. He was taken to a local hospital where he died and his body is now being sent to the state medical examiner's to determine the cause of death. Comanche County Sheriff Kenny Stradley says Eary may have had a heart attack, or may have gotten his arm caught in the machine.


Slain Paper Deliveryman Is Mourned

Los Angeles, CA -- While the rest of the city slept, Alejo Ortiz Amador collected several hundred freshly printed editions of the Los Angeles Times and headed out into the darkness in his pickup truck.

His delivery route of gas stations, pharmacies and liquor stores crisscrossed the streets of South Los Angeles.

After three decades on the job, he had told friends and family he was looking forward to the day -- two years from now -- when he could retire with his wife, Alma, on property in his native Mexico.

But early Sunday morning, the 56-year-old father of seven had barely made it out of his red Toyota near the corner of East 95th and Main streets when he was confronted by an unknown gunman. The assailant shot him once in the face at close range, police said.

The gunman took Amador's wallet, police said, and left him to die beside the same bundles of newsprint that he had distributed for years to help support his large, close-knit family.


Two Evanston Firefighters Killed in Town House Blaze

Evanston, UT -- Two Evanston firefighters died Monday and three were injured, apparently from an explosion while they were searching for children believed to be in a burning town house complex.

Thirty-eight year old Robert Henderson and 23-year old Jacob Cook, both volunteer firefighters, died in the blaze.

City Employee Dies After Crashing Into Pole

CHICAGO, IL -- A city employee was killed Monday when the city vehicle he was driving veered across two lanes of traffic and crashed into a utility pole. William Ashby, 68, was pronounced dead at about 6:30 p.m. at a local hospital. Officials said Ashby was driving a city-owned vehicle west on 79th Street when he lost control of the vehicle. Officials were investigating whether the crash killed Ashby, or if he had died from a medical condition that caused him to lose control, police said.


City files charges in trench death

White Plains, NY -- The city is charging a contracting company with building code violations after a foreman was crushed to death by an unshored trench that collapsed as he was installing a drainage system for a single-family home on Wednesday. "Not only was there no shoring provided by the contractor, but that work was not included in the approved plans that we issued the permit for," Noel Shaw, the city's deputy commissioner of development, said yesterday. "This was a huge oversight. It's a shame that people have to lose their lives because of not following the proper safety precautions." Meanwhile, federal safety officials opened an investigation into the trench collapse, which killed Thore Christensen, a 59-year-old Garnerville resident. U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations require that trenches deeper than 5 feet be shored up to prevent them from caving in, said the agency's area director, Diana Cortez. Police said the trench where Christensen was buried was more than 8 feet deep and 5 feet wide when the unsupported sides collapsed.

The general contractor, Carmine Giuliano, and his company, Carroe Construction, based in Scarsdale, will be held responsible for any violations, even though the company subcontracted the work to Christensen.


Family mourns woman killed in work accident

CHESTER, SC -- Just more than three weeks ago, Margaret Diane Gallman McAbee was planning her wedding. On March 26, she remarried her former husband, Billy McAbee, and they recently celebrated three weeks of marriage.
That was Saturday.

Now, Billy is preparing to say goodbye.

Diane McAbee, 49, of 22 Peay Ridge Road died Sunday morning after a machine fell on her as she worked at a local manufacturing plant.


Firefighter Dies Battling Blaze

Burke, NY -- A volunteer firefighter died while battling a blaze at his own house on Saturday.

53 year-old Dale Monica was at his home in Burke, New York when the fire broke out. He rushed to the fire station and collapsed shortly after he arrived with fire crews back at his home.
Fire officials say the fire started on the first floor of the building. It was quickly knocked down and no one was hurt fighting the fire.

Monica was found laying on the ground outside the building. He was brought to the hospital where he died.


Charcoal plant worker died today

Poplar Bluff, MO -- David P. Hendrix, 28, of Grandin, who was critically injured in Friday's explosion at the Royal Oaks Charcoal Plant in Ellsinore, died at 12:12 a.m. today in Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, according to the Medical Examiner's Office in St. Louis.

Tim Tanksley, 38, of Ellsinore, who also was injured during the explosion, remains a patient at Saint Francis Medical Center in Cape Girardeau.

Carter County Sheriff Greg Melton reported the steel doors on one of the plant's charcoal kilns were blown off when a violent explosion occurred inside the kiln. Hendrix and Tanksley were working near the doors.


Detective Is Killed in Interrogation at Station

PROVIDENCE, R.I., April 17 (AP) - A city detective was killed at police headquarters on Sunday by a man being questioned who managed to take the detective's gun, the Providence police chief said.

The detective, James Allen, 50, was shot in a conference room while questioning the man, Esteban Carpio, about the stabbing of an 84-year-old woman, Chief Dean Esserman said.

Mr. Carpio was not under arrest at the time, and his handcuffs had been removed, the chief said.
Mr. Carpio, 26, grabbed the detective's gun, shot him, broke a window in an adjacent office on the third floor and jumped onto a service road, Chief Esserman said at a news conference. Mr. Carpio was captured after a struggle a few blocks away and was charged with murder.


One killed and one injured in industrial accident

Valdosta, GA - The Cook County coroner released the name of the subcontractor who died Tuesday in Adel during construction of a feed mill.

Felipe D. Ramires, 22, died of crushing trauma to the body, Coroner Ron Lipsey said.

Although Ramires was living in Austell, his body will be sent back to Mexico. Another worker was taken to South Georgia Medical Center for injuries.

Sources at the scene said workers were putting up precast panels when one of the panels toppled over, dropping concrete on one of the workers and pinning the other man.


Fall From Building Kills Lakeland Man

Orlando, FL -- A Lakeland construction worker died Monday morning in Orlando after he fell from the wall of a condominium building, according to an Orange County Sheriff's Office report.

Santiago Arriaga, 24, was working at the Blue Heron condominiums at 13418 Blue Heron Beach Drive when the accident happened.

A crane operator at the scene said Arriaga was on the top of a 17th-story wall. The wall was hooked to a crane, and when Arriaga unhooked the crane, the wall started to lean. Arriaga's coworkers grabbed the wall and tried to hold it, the sheriff's office reported.

Arriaga held onto the wall for 10-15 seconds before trying to swing to a platform one story below him. Instead, he hit a safety cable, bounced off and fell 15 stories.


WORKER DIES IN CEMENT MIXER

SEMINOLE COUNTY, FL -- A 19-year-old construction worker was killed Thursday while operating a cement mixer at Wilson Elementary School west of Sanford, authorities said.

Seminole County firefighters found Garvin Gayle of Orlando partially trapped inside a portable cement mixer just before 2 p.m.

Gayle, who had been working on a pre-kindergarten classroom, was dead at the scene. The Seminole County Sheriff's Office and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are investigating.


OSHA looks into fatal incidents

Nassau County, NY -- The recent deaths of three vinyl siding workers in Nassau County, who were killed in two separate incidents when their aluminum scaffolding poles touched high-voltage power lines, are being investigated by federal safety officials.

"This appears to be a tragic coincidence," said Det. Lt. Dennis Farrell, commanding officer of the Nassau Homicide Squad. "It may be a question of education, or training. It would seem that, for whatever reason, they're not cautious enough or aware enough."

Elkin Astaiza Ceballos, 19, and David Coy Sanchez, 25, lost control of a 30-foot aluminum pump jack while taking it apart Thursday, and were hit with a blast of electricity from a 13,000-volt primary LIPA wire, said Joseph Monahan, a Floral Park Police dectective.

Besides a new investigation into last Thursday's incident, OSHA has a continuing investigation into the Nov. 14 electrocution death of vinyl siding worker Santos Garcia, 34, of Hicksville, said OSHA spokesman John Chavez. He declined to comment further on the investigations.


OSHA to investigate oil-field worker's death

SHIDLER, OK -- The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration will investigate an accident in which an oil-field worker died after falling 50 feet from a crane.

Joel Richard Brothers, 51, died Friday, three days after he fell, landing on Tim Sletto, who sustained several fractures to his leg, shoulder and ribs but is expected to recover, said Curtis Biram, the attorney for Lamamco Drilling of Skiatook, which was drilling the well where the accident took place.

The lanyard, or strap, that was attached to Brothers' safety harness broke, and he fell from a pulling unit -- a crane with pulleys that is used in oil-field drilling.



WORKER KILLED AFTER FALLING 50 FEET OFF SILO

St. Lucie County, FL -- A construction worker fell 50 feet to his death Wednesday afternoon after slipping off the top of a concrete silo at the Tarmac America concrete plant along Selvitz Road, the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office said Thursday. Scott Rehm, 43, of Massillon, Ohio, died instantly. He worked for Ohio-based Mast-Lepley Storage Structures as a concrete finisher, according to a sheriff's office report. An autopsy has been scheduled, and the sheriff's office continues to investigate. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is also looking into Rehm's death.


2 die in I-95 construction zone crash

ORMOND BEACH, FL -- The driver of a tractor-trailer is blamed for a crash that killed two day laborers early Friday, when the construction trailer they were riding in was mowed down in a work zone on Interstate 95, authorities said. Richard Wilkes, 45, of Holly Hill and a 26-year-old Deltona man whose name was withheld pending notification of next-of-kin, were placing traffic barrels in a construction zone around 12:20 a.m. near State Road 40. The men were working on a six-lane widening project between State Road 40 and the Flagler County line. More here.


Missing cab driver found dead in Hall County

GAINESVILLE, Ga.-A missing taxicab driver has been found dead, lying in a wooded area about 10 miles from his abandoned cab. Jose Roberto Gomez-Javier, 37, was discovered by a passer-by Thursday night. His wife reported him missing the previous Monday. An autopsy confirmed the driver for El Mexicano Taxi service in Gwinnett had been shot, although authorities have not said where the wound was. More here.


Ponchatoula strawberry farmer killed by freight train

Ponchatoula , Alabama- A 64-year-old strawberry farmer was killed when she was struck by a freight train traveling through this town on Saturday afternoon, Ponchatoula police said. Scottie Kupper was a longtime strawberry farmer and frequently sold her strawberries along tracks where vendors line up to sell their vegetables, fruits and goods, Sgt. Chad Miller said.


Woman killed in crane accident at the Port of Miami

A Port of Miami employee died just after midnight Thursday morning after she was run over by a crane, Miami-Dade Police said.

The woman, identified 50-year-old Audrey McCollum, was on break at pier No. 164 at 1306 Port Blvd. when a crane ran over her at about 12:01 a.m., police said.

Construction worker dies in fatal fall

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. A north Alabama construction worker was killed yesterday afternoon when he fell three-stories to his death. It happened about 1:45 p-m at a new apartment/condominium development off University Drive.

The worker, 44-year-old Carlos Lopez of Madison, was pronounced dead at the scene.


Officer dies on way to accident scene

BELMONT, N.C. – The Belmont police force is in mourning Sunday for a fellow officer who died on the job. Capt. Byron Carpenter collapsed behind the wheel of his cruiser Saturday while rushing to an accident, one that claimed the life of a 13-year-old.


Man falls to his death at industrial park

AMBRIDGE, PA - A man died around 1:15 p.m. Monday after falling about 60 feet through the roof of the WorldClass Processing Corp. plant in the Port Ambridge Industrial Park, Police Chief David Sabol said. Beaver County Deputy Coroner Bill Pasquale said the Honduras native, Saul F. Martinez, 27, of North Carolina, who was working with a subcontractor's crew replacing the plant's roof, died almost instantly after the fall. Pasquale said the coroner's office didn't have an official cause of death Monday evening because an autopsy was not complete.


Worker Killed on Interchange Project

Burke, VA -- A 35-year-old iron worker on the Virginia Department of Transportation's Springfield Interchange Project was killed in an accident on site on Saturday, April 9.

According to project manager Larry Cloyed, Darren Havermale of West Virginia, a foreman with Williams Steel, the steel contractor for the seven-phase, seven-year project, was killed while working overnight in a man-lift installing large beams to form part of a bridge connecting I-395 South to I-the Outer Loop of 495 East.

Cloyed said both VDOT and the Department of Labor are still conducting investigations into the particulars of the accident, but details reveal that Havermale was working in the lift, 70 feet in the air, in proximity to a steel beam when his head became "pinched" between the man-lift cage and the beam.


Pensacola Construction Worker Killed in Partial House Collapse

PENSACOLA, FL (AP) -- Workers for Ambercombie Construction say they were trying to elevate a house in Pensacola when a construction worker died. They say the side of a house collapsed and pinned him under it.

An Escambia County emergency management spokeswoman says that's when the house either shifted or its center beam collapsed. The spokesperson says 22-year-old James Peter Griffith of Pensacola died, and another worker suffered a leg injury.


Worker dies in elevator shaft plunge

Boston, MA -- A 35-year-old elevator repairman plunged to his death last night when he fell down an elevator shaft in a Beacon Street office building. The man was working inside One Beacon Street yesterday at 8:40 p.m. when he fell 20 feet from the ground floor to the basement and suffered head injuries, said Scott Salman, spokesman for the Boston Fire Department. Salman said the man was repairing the elevator, but it's unclear what caused the fall. Ladders were left in the area, he said. Boston police and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are investigating.


Worker dies of explosion injuries

Louisville, KY -- An employee of Transformer Decommissioning LLC, a transformer recycling company located at Marble Hill, died Saturday after an empty transformer he was working on exploded Friday.

Rodney Dwayne “Rod” Skirvin, 40, of 219 W. Skyline Drive, was taken by Stat-Flight to the University of Louisville Hospital. He died Saturday due to massive brain damage, his wife, Donna Skirvin, said today.

Rob Van Vliet, president of Transformer Decommissioning LLC, said it is not known what caused the transformer to explode, but the company is investigating. “It was an accident, plain and simple,” he said.


Store clerk shot to death in Gaffney

Gaffney, GA -- The clerk at a gasoline station here was found shot to death in a restroom and police said her boyfriend turned himself in to sheriff's deputies in Georgia.

A co-worker found the body of Pamela Ownby, 43, of Gaffney about 6:10 a.m. Tuesday, Police Chief John O'Donald said. Ownby had opened the store at 5:30 a.m.

It appeared she was shot several times while moving some merchandise that had been stored in the restroom, O'Donald said.

Mark Pearson, the victim's boyfriend, turned himself in to sheriff's deputies in Franklin County, Ga., shortly before noon Tuesday, O'Donald said.


1 worker dead, 1 hurt in Kearny

KEARNY, NJ - One man was killed and another injured yesterday after the pair fell about 20 feet from a manlift while fighting a transformer fire, authorities said. Roldan Lauro, 37, of Pacific Street in Newark, was pronounced dead at University Hospital in Newark yesterday, police said. Carlos Fonseca, 32, of Windsor Street in Kearny, was listed in fair condition at the hospital yesterday, a hospital spokesman said.


Employee dies at Dan River facility

DANVILLE, Va. - Dan River officials say a long-time employee died today when a forklift she was operating flipped over. Human Resources Vice President Calvin Barnhardt says 58-year-old Joanne Deshazor had worked at the Martha Lane distribution center since 1967. It happened around 11:30 this morning. Danville Police Lieutenant Scott Eanes says the lift bar on the machine was up, and that as Deshazor drove down an aisle, the bar struck an overhead shelf. That caused the forklift to overturn. Police say she likely died instantly. The company is cooperating with an Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigation.



Deputy killed during late-night standoff

Wichita, KS -- Ron Potter said he knew there was trouble brewing Saturday across the street in Newton when he saw the six patrol cars. About 3 a.m., all hell suddenly broke loose.

"I heard about a half-dozen, maybe nine shots," Potter said. "Pow-pow-pow-pow-pow-pow -- it was just that quick."

Hours later, Potter and the rest of Newton learned that those gunshots had killed Harvey County sheriff's Deputy Kurt Ford, 38. They left Hesston police Detective Chris Eilert, 33, critically injured.

Investigators said the officers were shot when they tried to force their way into a house where they could hear a man beating a woman.

The shooting marked the second time this year that a Kansas law enforcement officer was killed in the line of duty. Greenwood County Sheriff Matt Samuels, 42, was shot to death in January while serving a search warrant.


Road flagman killed in hit-run

Denver, CO - A construction flagman died early Friday morning after being struck by a vehicle near Porter Adventist Hospital.

The victim's identity and his employer were not released Friday.

According to Denver police, a witness saw a pickup crash through road barricades on South Downing Street and Vassar Avenue and strike the flagman.


Weekly Tolls Since Workers Memorial Day 2004

April 10, 2005
March 27, 2005
March 13, 2005
February 27, 2005
February 13, 2005
January 30, 2005
January 16, 2005
January 2, 2005
December 19, 2004
December 5, 2004
November 22,2004
October 25, 2004
October 12, 2004
September 28, 2004
September 13, 2004
August 13, 2004
August 1, 2004
July 18, 2004
July 7, 2004
June 20, 2004
June 5, 2004
May 23, 2004
May 9, 2004


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