Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Weekly toll

According to my rough count, we have 8 deaths from falls, 5 from electrocutions, and three each from confined space suffocations and trench collapses. Just another couple of weeks in the American workplace

Worker, 22, dies checking on ride

SEASIDE PARK, NJ — A 22-year-old employee of Funtown Pier was killed Saturday night — apparently while working on a ride — and the federal worker-safety agency is investigating, police said.

Charles J. Carpenter, 22, of the Lanoka Harbor section of Lacey was found unconscious late Saturday night in the service area of the Arctic Circle ride, Seaside Park police Patrolman Stephen Shadiack said.

"He was attempting to research a problem on the ride, and it appears he touched one of the motors on the ride," after which he collapsed, said Lt. Robert Urie of the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office.

Car wash employee loses control of Rolls, kills fellow worker

Brooklyn, New York -- An 18-year-old car-wash employee was killed Saturday when another employee, who does not have a driver's license, lost control of a car and pinned him, police said.

The accident happened at 1 p.m. at the Utica Car Wash at Utica and Maple avenues.

Germain Rodriguez Manguia, 18, was drying the back of a 2002 Ford Explorer when another employee, Alton Gilling, 47, pulled a 1980 Rolls-Royce out of the car wash and hit Manguia, police said.

Gilling then tried to reverse the car, and Manguia got tangled up underneath and was pinned face down against the sidewalk. He was dead at the scene, police said. "I heard a big boom," said Kendra Jordan, 19, who ran from next door to the scene. "His bone was sticking out of his right leg."

Big rig hits truck, kills one

RIVERSIDE, CA - A 55-year-old landscaping worker was killed Friday afternoon in a five-vehicle collision on Highway 60 at Market Street when his pickup was rammed by a big rig, causing traffic to back up about seven miles to Pedley, police said.

A CHP officer surveys the scene of a five-vehicle accident on the eastbound Highway 60 above Market Street in Riverside. Traffic was backed up for seven miles to Pedley.

Killed was Jose M. Gonzalez, who worked for J.P. Landscape Maintenance. His identity was confirmed by his employer, John Piscatella, and by a CHP news release Friday evening.

Construction Worker Electrocuted At Local Site

DETROIT, MI -- A construction worker was electrocuted at a site on Detroit's east side on Friday afternoon.

Antonio Sanchez was one of two workers building a wall of cinder blocks as part of a construction project to add classrooms for a charter school at Dwyer and Miller streets, Local 4 reported.

Police said Sanchez was attempting to lower a 20-foot steel rod onto the blocks when the pole touched a power line and he was electrocuted.

People at the scene tried to warn Sanchez that he was getting close to the wires, but it was too late, the station reported.

Three die in CareFlight helicopter crash near Mancos

MANCOS, CO — Three people were killed in the crash of a Tri-State CareFlight helicopter about 2 p.m. Thursday en route from Mercy Regional Medical Center in Durango to an industrial accident in Montezuma County.

The distinctive red-and-white painted helicopter familiar to Durango residents for its daily flights to and from the hospital crashed in a skunk cabbage meadow ringed with aspens about seven miles into the San Juan National Forest near Mancos.

Montezuma County Coroner Charlie Rosenbaugh said two emergency medical technicians and the pilot were killed. No patients were aboard.

Rosenbaugh said the Tri-State CareFlight helicopter was preparing to land at the site of a logging accident when it crashed.

Store worker shot, killed in Riviera

RIVIERA BEACH, FL — A convenience store worker was shot and killed during an armed robbery in Riviera Beach on Thursday.

Imran Chagani, 36, of North Palm Beach was found dead at about 12:15 p.m. in the Stop Save Shop & Go, 3343 Broadway, Riviera Beach police said.

Thursday's murder is the second killing during daylight hours at a Riviera Beach convenience store in two months. A clerk was killed during an armed robbery at H&M Discount Beverage Market, 1361 Ave. E, at about 2 p.m. on April 30.

Farm worker drowns

Syracuse, NY -- A Guatemalan worker is dead after drowning in a pond on a farm in Cayuga County.

It happened at the Willet Dairy on State Route 34 in East Genoa.

A woman told the Cayuga County Sheriff's department that Eric Lopez dove into the pond at about 6:30 last night, but didn't return to the surface.

Construction Worker Electrocuted At School

ALEXANDRIA, Ind. -- A construction worker somehow touched a high-voltage line and was fatally shocked while working at Alexandria Middle School, police said.

Thomas L. Morrow, 47, of Alexandria, was working in an area above the ceiling of a restroom hallway at the school Wednesday afternoon when he was killed.

Morrow had begun to rewire a fixture when he accidentally came in contact with a 220-voltage wire at the school about 40 miles northeast of Indianapolis.

Construction workers could not find the circuit breaker box to turn off the power, police said. The power was turned off by a school maintenance worker three to four minutes after police officers and firefighters arrived at the scene.

Worker Dies In Forklift Accident

DES MOINES, Iowa -- A man is dead after a forklift accident at a Marion County company.

Pella emergency crews were called to Harvey Products Inc. just after 10 a.m. Wednesday.

The Marion County Sheriff's Office said that 43-year-old Rob Wiley was found pinned beneath a forklift.

One worker dies, another hurt while repairing septic tank valve

One man died and another was critically injured late Wednesday morning while working on a septic tank outside a home on Lake Murray in western Lexington County.

Duane Howell, 29, of Swansea, died after being trapped in the 200-gallon tank with no oxygen. Authorities suspect he inhaled high levels of methane gas.

Verno Huggins, 58, of Gaston, attempted to save Howell but had to be rescued by volunteer firefighters from the narrow shaft leading into the tank.

Huggins was revived once he was pulled to the surface and rushed to Lexington Medical Center.

A third worker, Jimmy Lykes, 59, summoned rescue workers.

The three-man crew worked for the Lucas Septic Co. of Gaston. Bobby Lucas, owner of the company, declined to comment.

Howell was trying to repair a float valve on a septic tank at 170 Bob Sharpe Point when he was overcome by methane gas and a lack of oxygen, Sheriff James Metts said.

When Huggins entered the shaft in an attempt to save Howell, he, too, was overcome by the fumes, Metts said.

Second man dies after construction accident in Reedsburg

A second man has died after being exposed to toxic gases at a construction site in Sauk County.

Todd Labansky, 44, of Reedsburg, died Monday night at the University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison, Sauk County Coroner Betty Hinze said.

Labansky and La Valle Village President Duane Nobs were working in a manhole at about 11 a.m. Friday where a subdivision is being built. Nobs, 56, died Sunday at the hospital.

They worked for B & L Excavating of La Valle.

Both men died from exposure to toxic gases, Hinze said.

Man Dies When Ditch Collapses

GROVE CITY, Ohio -- One man died and another man was injured Thursday morning when a ditch they were working in collapsed, NBC 4 reported.

One man died at the scene. The other was transported to Grant Medical Center. He was listed in critical condition.

The names of the victims have not been released.

Construction Worker Killed

Leesburg, VA -- A construction worker died Wednesday, June 22, after he fell from the second story of a home under construction near Leesburg, according to the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office. Jose Omar Robles Melgar, 18, of Alexandria, was working on the single-family home in the 20580 block of Myers Place when witnesses say around 2:50 p.m. he fell approximately 20 feet and struck his head. Melgar was airlifted to Inova Fairfax Hospital where he would later die as a result of his injuries. The accident is under investigation by the Sheriff's Criminal Investigations Division.

Man fatally injured in fall

Harford, CT -- According to police, Richard Gregoire, 57, of Southington, died from injuries he received in the fall shortly after arriving at Hartford Hospital by Life Star helicopter.

"The house is framed without a roof or walls and it appears he either tripped or fell into a 4-foot by 4-foot hole in the floor and landed in what will be the basement of the house," Lt. William Tyler said.

Brothers say victim needed more training

Roanoke, VA -- Donald Hemstock thinks a $5 pair of canvas work gloves could have saved his brother's life.

He thinks Chris Hemstock would be alive today if he had received proper supervision and training and been adequately outfitted in safety gear. He feels certain his brother would have joined Saturday's first birthday celebration for Chris Hemstock's son, Daniel, if Roanoke Electric Steel Corp. had shut down a 480-volt "hot rail" powering an overhead crane that was the focus of Chris' routine maintenance.

Chris Hemstock's death by electrocution remains under investigation. It has not been officially confirmed that the "hot rail" played a role but Donald Hemstock believes it did. On Wednesday, Sam Miller, Roanoke Electric Steel's director of human resources and safety director, did not disagree.

Temporary worker killed on job

DANVILLE, IL – A Danville man was killed early Wednesday morning in a machine operation accident at ThyssenKrupp Gerlach Machining Division.

Lindon M. Campbell, 19, was operating a crankshaft lathe when he became tangled in the machine, according to a statement released by the Vermilion County coroner's office.

Truck boom collapses, kills two in 60-foot fall

Winona, MN -- Two men fell 60 feet when a boom on a lift-truck collapsed while the men repaired a barn silo Monday night on a farm in rural Mondovi. Both men died as a result of the fall.

Buffalo County Sheriff's Deputy Mike Schmidtknecht said emergency responders found the men dead at the scene after the sheriff's department received a 911 call at 7:33 p.m.

The victims were identified as Bernard A. Walsky, 50, of Galesville, Wis., and Mark A. Helgeson, 32, of Independence, Wis.

The accident happened on a farm in the town of Canton, where a boom truck with attached lift-bucket was extended for working on the outside of a silo.

Schmidtknecht said investigators determined that the boom truck's extended basket malfunctioned.

"It appeared that the two males had the boom extended and (were) working on the outside of the silo when the boom collapsed," Schmidtknecht said.

BNSF employee dies after train strikes him

HEREFORD, TX - A Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway employee died Friday morning after a company train struck him near Hereford.

Robert G. Chavez, 47, of Clovis, N.M., was pronounced dead at a railroad crossing about a mile east of Hereford, according to a Texas Department of Public Safety report.

Chavez was a BSNF trackman responsible for maintaining the company's right of way, said Joe Faust, a spokesman for the company. Chavez had worked for BSNF for 21 years, Faust said.

Chavez's death marks the second railroad death in the Texas Panhandle in the last six months. Gene Blackburn Harrison, 42, a contractor for BSNF, died Jan. 5 after a train hit him near Farm-to-Market Road 2373 and U.S. Highway 60 in Carson County.

Tree service worker dies after touching power line

Tumwater, WA -- A tree service worker was killed this morning in Tumwater after a branch he was cutting touched a power line.

The incident happened shortly after 9 a.m. near the intersection of 9th Ave. W and Ferry Street. The man was working about 40 feet up in a tree at a private residence.

Rescue crews responded immediately, but were unable to go to the man’s aid until the power was cut. Crews removed the man from the tree shortly after 10 a.m.

Road worker's death ruled accident

Akron, OH -- An autopsy of a Cuyahoga Falls construction worker killed Saturday on Interstate 76 determined the death was accidental, authorities announced Monday.

The Summit County Medical Examiner's Office ruled Thomas J. Huscroft, 48, of the 300 block of Scala Drive in Cuyahoga Falls, died of multiple blunt-force injuries.

Huscroft was standing in a marked construction zone on the bridge over the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway, just east of County Road 18 in Brimfield Township in Portage County.

Federal officials investigating fatal mine accident

SEATTLE, WA — Federal officials are investigating a fatal accident earlier this month at Cadman's Sky River gravel mine in Monroe.

Eric Bennett, 33, of Sultan, a mine worker, died June 18 at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle from head injuries he'd suffered on the job the previous day.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration, a branch of the U.S. Labor Department, is conducting the investigation.

Man falls to death from scaffold

St. Louis, MO -- A construction worker fell to his death from a scaffold while working on a smokestack in the Central West End on Tuesday afternoon, St. Louis police said.

Authorities said Michael Townsend, 31, of Poplar Bluff, Mo., was working on the roof at the Washington University School of Medicine near Taylor and Scott avenues just before 3:30 p.m. when he fell. Police said Townsend was standing on a scaffold inside the smokestack when the platform somehow broke away, sending him about 250 feet down.

Gerard Chimney, the company Townsend worked for, had no comment about the accident Tuesday night.

Man Killed In Trench Collapse

SHELTON, CT — A 37-year-old man from Brazil was buried alive and suffocated after a trench wall collapsed on him Saturday as he helped dig a house foundation, offi-cials said. Police said the man’s four co-workers frantically tried to dig him out by hand for 20 minutes before calling police, but he had suffocated by the time they partially unearthed him. Officials at the scene said the 11-foot-deep trench was essentially a death trap, since its walls were not shored up, as required by most building regulations. "The vibration caused the trench to cave in," said Shelton Assistant Fire Chief Mike Ullrich. "It hap-pened too quick, too fast to do anything about it." The man, whose identity was not released, was the cousin of Marcio Lira, owner of Edwardo Osello Ma-sonry. The victim, visiting from Brazil, was married, police said, but it could not be determined if he had children.

They dug a trench 11 feet deep and 2½ feet wide, but didn’t shore up the sides of the trench as required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, officials said.

Dairy worker dies when run over by truck

Denver, CO -- A worker at a dairy plant in Denver died Monday morning when he was run over by a truck in a job-related accident. The man, identified by police as Donald L. Wilson, 44, was killed about 6:30 a.m. at Robinson Dairy, 2401 W. Sixth Ave. Wilson had crawled under a dairy truck to repair a broken drain while the truck was being loaded, said John White, a Denver Police Department spokesman. After the truck was loaded, a driver pulled it away from a dock at the plant, located near Interstate 25 and the South Platte River.

Authorities Identify Trench Collapse Victim

HARBOR CITY, Calif. -- Authorities Wednesday identified a worker who died in the collapse of a trench in which he and two relatives were working beneath a mobile home in Harbor City. Jorge Ordonez, 31, of Gardena died at the scene of the accident, which occurred at about 11 a.m. Tuesday at 1501 Palos Verdes Drive North, said Craig Harvey of the coroner's office.

The other workers also trapped in the trench were freed by Los Angeles Fire Department firefighters. The men -- two brothers and an uncle -- were employed by A-1 Plumbing and Heating in Harbor Gateway, The Daily Breeze reported. The three were working to replace a sewer line in the mobile home park when they became trapped when the walls collapsed in the trench, which was about three feet wide and up to 10 feet deep, the LAFD reported.
Firefighters said the trench was not properly shored up. Cal-OSHA will investigate the trench collapse, said Jim Wells of the LAFD.

Construction Worker Drowns

JULINGTON CREEK, FL -- A 19-year-old Duval County man was found dead in a retention pond near a construction site off Racetrack Road on Wednesday. St. Johns County Deputies were called to the scene off East Kelsie Lane Wednesday afternoon. Witnesses say that the victim, whose name is being withheld until his family is notified, and two other men were on a lunch break from a construction site. After lunch the victim and one of the other men jumped in the pond to cool off and began to swim across. One of the men made it to the other side, however, the victim was unable to get out and was last seen going under the water. The witnesses attempted to save the victim, but were unable to pull him out. The Sheriff's Office Dive Team responded and located the victim's body shortly after 3:00 p.m.

19-year-old died when lawnmower toppled

PETOSKEY, MI - The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the recent death of a greenskeeper at the Bay Harbor Golf Club.

Justin Conklin, 19, of Boyne City, died June 13 when he and the riding lawnmower he was operating fell off an elevated tee box and down a steep incline on the club's Quarry course.

Conklin was pinned under the mower and found dead nearly four hours later by a fellow greenskeeper.

More here.

P.G. police officer shot, dies after surgery

Greenbelt, MD -- A Prince George's County police officer died Tuesday afternoon, hours after a traffic stop outside a Laurel apartment complex escalated into a shootout that left the alleged gunman wounded. Cpl. Steven Gaughan, 41, of Greenbelt was wearing body armor but not a uniform when he was shot in the arm and abdomen, police said. The 15-year veteran died after surgery at Prince George's Hospital Center. "This is one of the hardest things for a police chief to deal with," said Prince George's Police Chief Melvin C. High. "Corporal Gaughan was just like my own son."

Two shot, one killed at restaurant

Riverdale, GA -- One employee was killed and another critically wounded Thursday in a shooting at a restaurant in Riverdale, south of Atlanta, police said. Riverdale Assistant Police Chief Samuel Patterson said the victim who was killed was shot in the back of the head and the other was shot multiple times at the Salt and Pepper Fish House along Ga. 138, Assistant Police Chief Samuel Patterson said.

Construction Worker Killed On The Job

Nashville, TN -- The man was killed in the construction zone at Interstate 40 near White Bridge Road on Saturday evening. According to police, a construction worker whose name has not been released, was working along I-40 west bound when he was run-over by one of the construction vehicles. Crew workers say their co-worker was killed after being blindsided from behind by a striping truck that was going at a 5 mile per hour speed. The accident occurred in one of the interstate lanes already blocked by crews. “One of the contract workers inadvertently got behind one of the vehicles in the blind spot, what we think to be a blind spot at an extremely slow speed. The driver could not see the worker because he was in a blind spot of the mirror and he rolled over the construction worker,” said Metro Police Sergeant, Ryan Casada.

Globe settles suit over death at Alabama plant

Beverly, GA -- The death of a Waterford man last week at Globe Metallurgical Inc. near Beverly was not the first fatal accident at one of the company’s facilities, which has come under scrutiny for safety practices in recent years.

Just days before Christopher Bennett, 23, of Buchannon Road, was killed at the Beverly plant, Globe officials entered into a settlement agreement for safety violations that led to the death of an Alabama man who was killed last June while working at the company’s Selma, Ala., plant.

At least eight people have died at one of Globe’s two plants since 1983, including four locally.

Bennett was fatally injured June 23 at the Beverly plant while cleaning out a tap hole on a furnace. Molten metal reportedly blew back and caught the man’s clothing on fire, according to a report completed by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

The fire left burns covering 90 percent of Bennett’s body. He died early the next morning at a Columbus hospital.

Worker dies in fall

Barrington, IL -- A 44-year-old construction worker from Oak Forest died Thursday after falling from an aerial lift behind Barrington High School.

William McKoin was pronounced dead at 2:02 p.m. at Advocate Luther General Hospital in Park Ridge, a spokesman from the Cook County medical examiner's office said.

"It appears that no means of restraining him into the basket was utilized," said John Maronic, OSHA assistant area director. "They're supposed to have a harness on there in case they should get flung out so that they don't fall to the ground."

Bulldozer accident kills Perry man

Jackson County, KS -- A Perry man employed as a heavy equipment mechanic for Hamm Co. was crushed under a bulldozer at a work site near Delia and died Saturday.

Jackson County sheriff's Deputy Larry Collins said Charles S. Summerville was at a construction work site on 158 Road in Jackson County at 2:18 p.m. when he died. Collins said Summerville was changing the track on the side of a bulldozer when the track fell and crushed him.

It was Summerville's 40th birthday.

Electric worker falls to his death in Jefferson Co.

JEFFERSON COUNTY, TN -- An electric lineman in Jefferson County fell nearly 70 feet to his death Monday.

The sheriff's department says David Gray was working in a bucket truck Monday afternoon on Brotherton Road at Sam Martin, near Dandridge, when it got caught in trees.

Investigators say Gray was moving the bucket when its elbow got caught. That caused a sling-shot motion, throwing Gray from the bucket.

He worked for Dillard Smith Power Company.

Man Killed While Unloading Propane Tanks

LOUDON, N.H. -- A worker died Monday morning after he was crushed when unloading propane tanks at a Loudon business.

Police said that Robert Romig Jr., 64, of Bowerston, Ohio, was killed instantly when a 2,000-pound pallet of empty propane tanks landed on top of him. The accident happened at a facility owned by Eastern Propane, but Romig was not employed by the company.

"The pallet of tanks fell on top of him, and he didn't have time to jump out of the way," Police Chief Robert Fiske said.

Police said Romig was delivering a truckload of tanks for Baker Highway Express Inc., a small trucking company based in Dover, Ohio.

Blast kills one, rocks small town

ARCADE, GA - A cigarette or static electricity may be to blame for a fatal explosion at an oil facility in this south Jackson County city Sunday night, authorities said Monday, but state officials considered the incident to be an accident.

Scott Dwayne Brown, 42, was thrown about 15 feet from the top of an oil tanker as he was loading some type of oil Sunday night around 10:15 p.m. at Joe Sikes Oil Service Inc. on Athens Highway, authorities said. Brown's wife witnessed the explosion.

"He never knew what hit him," Arcade Police Chief Dennis Bell said. A second man who was standing on top of a storage tank, helping Brown load the truck, survived the explosion and subsequent blasts.

Man dies when truck ‘bucket’

CHAPEL HILL, NC — A 31-year-old Person County man died Wednesday when the tree-trimming bucket he was in fell to the ground, according to law enforcement officials in Chapel Hill.

Kevin James Dunevant of 309 Charlie Jay Rd. died at the scene of the accident on Severin St. in Chapel Hill shortly after 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Dunevant, who was employed with Brad's Tree Service of Person County, reportedly fell approximately 30 feet to the ground when a boom holding the bucket up malfunctioned.

Police identify worker

Fredericksburg, VA -- Police have identified the man killed in a Friday afternoon construction accident on Lafayette Boulevard. David W. Kruckenberg, 65, of Stafford County was killed when a large concrete sewer pipe fell on him while it was being lowered into a ditch, said Gary Sullivan, spokesperson for the Fredericksburg Police Department. Kruckenberg, who owned one of the companies doing the utilities work, was the only person in the 17-foot-deep ditch at the time. Three other workers were injured in the rush to free Kruckenberg from the heavy pipe, which essentially broke in half as it was being lifted off Kruckenberg, Sullivan said.

With help from Kelly Heilert