Tuesday, November 30, 2004

New Public Health Blog: Effect Measure

There's a new public health blog in town: Effect Measure, "a forum for progressive public health discussion and argument as well as a source of public health information from around the web."

Written by the highly secretive and reclusive "Revere," who is "a senior public health scientist and practitioner. His name would be known to many in the public health community and to a few others in his (very specialized) area of scientific research. Since he has a public persona that involves frequent advisory committee work and public testimony he prefers to keep his online and public lives separate."

No, I don't know who he is, but I'm pretty sure he's not Centers for Disease Control Director Julie Gerberding. Revere thinks she's not the worst person who's served in that position. So what's her problem:

Same as Colin Powell. She seems to have carried a lot of water for the Bush Administration. CDC, a once proud and effective public health agency, has itself become marginalized and morale is at an all time low according to long-time employees. Again to be fair, one told me he thought she was doing her best within the Administration in private to fight for public health. Shades of Colin Powell. At that level, fighting for public health has to be done publicly and you have to be prepared to lose your job. Being fired over public health priorities would in itself be a valuable contribution. She isn't going to be out on the street living in a Kelvinator box. She'll have an easy time landing an academic or other position.

Moreover, much of the loss of agency morale is said to be traced to poor management. Gerberding has put in place a wholesale reorganization of CDC that has disconcerted and upset many. Leaving aside its virtues as an organization chart (and there is much to criticize here), she did it by fiat with little or no preparation within Congress or the agency. Major changes like this, which must have been in the works for awhile, need a great deal of attention to getting everyone onboard, and if, in that process, modifications need to be made, they can be. I am told that none of that was done.

Other stories include a report of the US bombing of a health center in Falluja, the environmental catastrophe we are creating in Iraq, and the Avian Flu.

Oh, and why "Revere?"
Paul Revere was a member of the first local Board of Health in the United States (Boston, 1799). The Editor signs his posts "Revere" only to recognize the public service of a professional forebearer better known for other things. A blog's credibiity will only be earned by the quality and interest of its posts.

Learn something new every day.

Check it out.

Nothing Funnier Than A Trench Collapse

It is possible that some people think OSHA officials have no sense of humor. But I think former OSHA Regional Director Adam Finkel has a point here.* He forwarded me this article from the NY Times:
Bobcats May Drop Advertising Campaign

An advertising campaign for the Charlotte Bobcats scheduled to begin this week could become a casualty of Friday's brawl in Auburn Hills, Mich.

The television commercials by Boone/Oakley, an advertising agency in Charlotte, N.C., were produced weeks ago. Created in a slapstick vein, they were to introduce an ardent Bobcats fan, the Ambassador, who appears around Charlotte with cardboard cutouts representing star players on teams the Bobcats will play this season, including Kobe Bryant, Yao Ming and Shaquille O'Neal.

Under the care of the character, however, the cutouts are plagued by various exaggerated acts of mayhem that render them smashed, wrecked, soaked, buried or ruined. The O'Neal cutout falls into a barbecue grill at a cookout and is incinerated.

"In light of this past weekend's events, the climate has changed and we have an obligation to review what we've done," Ed Tapscott, president of the Bobcats, said in a telephone interview yesterday.

"We wanted to strike a note of humor, comedy, but we are going to take a look at our ad campaign to make sure it is not misinterpreted," he said.

A decision has already been made about one of the commercials, featuring Ben Wallace of the Detroit Pistons, who was suspended for six games for his role in the brawl. The commercial, in which the Wallace cutout is partly buried in sand in a construction-site accident, is being withdrawn because Wallace will not be playing when the Pistons play at Charlotte tonight.
Writes Finkel: "So the Charlotte NBA team was GOING to show an ad in which someone gets buried in sand in a construction accident, and only dropped it because of the ugly brawl at the Palace?"

He recalled a similar issue when he was RA in Denver and wrote a personal letter "to the marketing director for "Mike's Hard Lemonade," which was then in the middle of an ad campaign in which all of the ads made fun of workplace accidents."

April 25, 2001

Dear Mr. ****:

I hope your company will take the opportunity to re-evaluate the wisdom of trying to sell your product by making light of serious occupational injuries. Your current television commercial, featuring a construction worker who falls and impales himself on a steel rod and then retreats to a nearby bar for a glass of hard lemonade, is really in very poor taste. Putting aside the inexplicable subject matter (why do you apparently think that “Mike’s makes you forget you’re bleeding to death” is an attractive marketing concept?), the commercial is a graphic affront to workers, business owners, and government agencies who devote their careers to occupational safety. More importantly, I’m sure the families of the approximately 700 victims who die in similar construction accidents each year (not to mention the more than 90,000 workers who suffer serious but non-lethal injuries due to falls) are much more deeply offended than I am by your choice of “humor.”

I know it’s “just an advertisement,” and I do believe that political correctness can be taken to extremes, but making fun of preventable tragedy is simply not something people should “lighten up” about. At this point, your commercial is merely another example of how certain segments of our society just don’t understand how far we have to go to give America’s workers some fundamental protections and rights. I would be happy to discuss this issue with you at your convenience.


Adam M. Finkel,
Sc.D., CIH

I can hardly wait to see the comedy routines celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Bhopal disaster later this week.

*(Disclaimer: You may remember that Finkel was transferred out of his Denver Regional Administor position when he blew the whistle on OSHA for refusing to screen OSHA inspectors for berrylium disease. Although still officially an OSHA employee, Finkel is currently teaching at Princeton University under the terms of a settlement agreement the Agency signed in exchange for which Finkel dropped his lawsuit.)

Monday, November 29, 2004

Can a Crisis in Superfund Bring Hope To Democrats?

Can a crisis in Superfund contain the seeds of the resurrection of progressive forces in this country? It's up to us.

I'm managing to find a bit of time to read again and right now I'm reading a fascinating and infuriating book, Deceit and Denial, by Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner. The first half of the book covers the shameful behavior of the American lead industry and its efforts throughout most of the 20th century to cover up the havoc it was wreaking on American children and workers with promotion of lead paint and leaded gasoline as safe and essential for the survival of American economy and the American way of life.

Then, like a bad case of deja vu, I read this in last Thursday's Washington Post:
As a toddler, Elam Jacob used to cling to one of the front windows in his house to watch his father, Cory, leave for work. At the end of the day, Elam would climb back onto the sill to await his father's return, giggling as Dad came up the steps.

Unbeknown to his parents, Elam was inhaling lead-laced dust blowing in from outside, the legacy of a defunct smelter dating to 1871 and a handful of smaller industrial operations in town. After the sunny, blond 13-month-old, who had learned eight words, lost the ability to talk in 2001 and became hyperactive, his mother, Heidi, found a description of lead poisoning on the Internet and realized it matched Elam's symptoms. A blood test revealed he had lead levels of four times the safety threshold identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"He's permanently damaged. There's no reversal," said Heidi Jacob, 30, a mother of four who began crying as she recalled the discovery. "It's totally preventable. You know where it comes from, and nobody told us about it."

Elam -- who at age 4 speaks mainly gibberish and jumps around incessantly -- is one of more than 2,600 children with high lead levels in East Omaha, a largely poor inner-city neighborhood that ranks as one of the most dangerous toxic waste sites in the nation. The area was recently added to the Superfund federal waste-cleanup program and the bankrupt trust fund that was supposed to pay for it.

The cleanup effort here, however, is receiving only a fraction of the funding it needs, and the project could easily take a dozen years.
Superfund was created to be a super fund that would clean these sites up before lives and communities faced further damage –- either using money from employers who created the mess in the first place, or using public funds –- based on corporate taxes -- where those employers no longer exist.

Unfortunately, according to the Post, “the nearly 25-year-old program aimed at protecting Americans from industrial contamination is in crisis.”

What happened?

Republicans have declined to renew two corporate taxes that fed billions into the Superfund trust fund since 1980, and the program's spending power is shrinking. The Government Accountability Office calculated that the budget declined by 34 percent over the past decade, considering inflation.

The taxes -- one on oil and chemical companies, the other a general environmental tax on corporations -- expired in 1995. Bill Clinton pushed to reinstate them during his presidency, but Congress refused. Now that Republicans control both the legislative and executive branches, all sides say there is little chance the two levies -- which could bring in $16 billion over the next decade -- will be revived.

True, the Bush administration has made a token effort to increase funding for Superfund. But the effort was half-hearted. And that's apparently about half a heart more than Congressional Republicans have, because they responded to the lack of lobbying by the White House by cutting Superfund funding for next year. It just couldn't be helped:
"There is little question in my mind if Congress chooses to allocate more dollars this year as a priority, it can be spent doing important cleanups," said EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt, who visited the Omaha lead site in October. "The problem is, our pocketbook does not stretch across all the places our heart responds to."
That’s because their heart responds not to the Elam Jacobs of this country, but to their corporate supporters who prefer tax cuts for themselves over healthier neighborhoods for those whose lives they’ve destroyed.

This whole mess is an excellent lesson in the connection between electoral politics and human health. Hiding behind the fa├žade of fear of terrorism and so-called “moral values,” the polluters and other corporate allies of the Bush administration have just won an election that has, in effect, sentenced Elam Jacob and thousands more like him to lives of disease and retardation. As many as 9,400 children under 7 remain exposed to the same conditions that have destroyed Elam Jacob's life.

These are apparently the “moral values” that triumphed on November 2, although it’s painfully clear that almost none of those who enthusiastically voted for George Bush and his Republican colleagues were aware of the catastrophic effect that their votes would have on thousands of American children and workers.

The question for those of us who are aware of these crimes is how to wake millions of Americans to the sad fact that the wrong vote can destroy the health and lives of people in this country.

Echoing my post last week, the NY Times editorial page asked the other day how the EPA administrator Mike Leavitt can truly believe that the administration has a mandate for Bush's environmental policies:
For one thing, environmental issues - as well as related energy issues - rarely broke the surface of the campaign. That was a shame, since these are important matters and the candidates' views differed just as sharply as they did on other issues. But the electorate can hardly be said to have delivered a mandate on something they weren't even asked to think about.
The Times goes on to describe numerous local environmental victories on November 2:
  • A Colorado ballot initiative requiring electric utilities to generate 10 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2015

  • A Montana initiative that defied job blackmail attempts and upheld a prohibition on mining practices that pollute rivers and streams with toxic wastes, despite heavy industry lobbying

  • Approval of $2.53 billion worth of new bond issues in red and blue states to preserve open space despite Congressional cuts in financing for land acquisition.
What lessons can we draw here?

First, where the defense of the environment and peoples' health become election issues, those who favor a cleaner, safer environment can win, even in conservative "red" states.

Second, environmental issues can become election issues -- winning election issues --where the issues are local, visible and directly relevant to peoples' daily concerns. (For a fascinating discussion of how environmental issues can work for Democrats, even in a conservative state like Montana, check out David Sirota's article in the Washington Monthly about how winning Democratic gubernatorial candidate Brian Schweitzer united hunters and environmentalists in opposition to Republican efforts to sell off public access to outdoor recreation areas.)

Third, national issues emerge from thousands of similar local issues.

Fourth, where these local issues can be tied together into a cohesive theme that resonates with peoples' gut feelings and, yes, their values; and when those issues, themes and values can be articulated convincingly by a candidate, the candidate and progressive issues can win.

This may be a conservative country full of people that value individualism and even limited government, but this country also has a progressive tradition that comes alive when people realize that they are losing control of their economic well-being and the health and safety of their families to forces beyond their control.

The recent Republican victory was based in fear: fear of terrorism and fear of the “other” (gays). There are plenty of real hazards in this country to be afraid of if you live near a toxic waste dump, or work in a hazardous workplace, or breathe polluted air. By identifying those issues, by showing people the source of those problems and why they're not being addressed by their elected representatives, by making Elam Jacob a poster child of Republican values, and finally by articulating a vision of how our government has a responsibility to work for the people of this country, we may be able to win back many the hearts and minds that were lost to us this year.

It's worth a try.

Chemical Safety Board: Out With the Old, In With The New

Dr. Gerald Poje has left the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board after finishing his second 5-year term. Poje, who has served on the Board since its beginning, was the Board's last Democrat. The Board was authorized by the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 and became operational in January 1998. The Board is a independent agency, but the President appoints its members, who must be confirmed by the Senate.

Poje will be sorely missed by workers safety and environmental activists. His passion for the job and his tireless energy and enthusiasm helped shape the Board from its beginning. His focus on finding the deep social, economic and political root causes of hazards in the chemical industry earned praise from industry, as well as public interest advocates. And he relentlessly advocated adoption of Board recommendations by recipients, particularly the Board's 2002 recommendation that OSHA revise its Process Safety Managment standard to address reactive chemical hazards, and last year's recommendation that the City of New York revise its 90 year old fire code. OSHA has yet to adopt the Board's recommendation, although the City of New York has embarked on adoption of a new fire code.

Meanwhile, the Senate has confirmed Gary Visscher for a full five year Board term. President Bush had given Visscher a one-year recess appointment last year when the Senate failed to act on his nomination. The AFL-CIO and environmental organizations had opposed Visscher's nomination because of his lack of experience in chemical safety issues.

Prior to coming to the Board, Visscher was Deputy Assistant Secretary of the OSHA from November 2001 until August 2004. Prior to that, he was a lobbyist for the American Iron and Steel Institute he also served the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. In the mid 1990's Visscher was a legislative representative to Congressman Cass Ballenger when Ballenger was attempting to "reform" the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

Neither Rain, Nor Sleet...But Bullets?

There's a myth that the only thing postal workers have to fear is other postal workers or anthrax. Actually, like any worker who spends time in the public carrying valuable materials, postal workers are increasingly victims of violence.

Twice in the past month, robbers have targeted East Bay letter carriers, including a Nov. 10 shooting in Oakland, where the victim was gunned down after he submitted to his assailants.

Less than two weeks later, an El Cerrito postal carrier was robbed of her personal belongings as she delivered mail at an apartment complex on San Pablo Avenue.

The incidents have raised a red flag at the U.S. Postal Inspectors Office, the law enforcement arm of the agency, because the carriers -- not the mail -- have become the targets, said Postal Inspector Jeff Fitch.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Cabdriver Shot. A "Freak" Thing?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines "freak" as "a seemingly capricious (unpredictable) action or event."
A 45-year-old taxicab driver was in critical condition last night after being shot in what Montgomery County police suspect was an attempted robbery.... "This is an unusual, freak thing," said Lt. John Hack. "Hopefully, it is not a pattern. In Montgomery County, we just don't have these problems."
So how "freak" was this shooting of a taxicab driver? The article continues:
There have been several other recent incidents of violence against cabdrivers in the Washington area. Two weeks ago, Andrew B. Kamara, a taxi driver in Northwest Washington, was found slumped over his steering wheel, shot once in the head in the 6800 block of Ninth Street NW. D.C. police are looking into whether Kamara's death is connected to four other recent taxi robberies in upper Northwest.
The problem with believing that something is "freak," unpredictable or rare means that there's little you can do about it, which, especially for most workplace injuries or fatalities, is not the case.

And it couldn't be that "freak" or unpredictable if even OSHA has a factsheet that contains protective measures to prevent violence against taxicab drivers. And there's even an organization with its own website that addresses the hazards of taxicab drivers.

Conclusion: Far from being a "freak" occurance, violence against cabdrivers is unfortunately common.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Kill Workers = Small Fine; No Workers Comp = Go To Jail

I often get quite angry when obvious employer neglect causes the death of workers -- especially immigrant workers who may not know about safe working conditions or their rights, and may be too intimidated to confront their employers even if they have the knowledge. And then when it turns out that the employer hadn't even purchased workers compensation insurance....

So news like this warms my heart:

The owner of a Boca Raton construction company involved in a Hobe Sound building collapse that killed two workers was charged Tuesday with a single felony for failing to carry workers' compensation insurance for his employees.

Richard J. Meccariello Jr., 39, of Delray Beach was being held Tuesday in the Palm Beach County Jail on $25,000 bond. His arrest comes three months after the state fined two of his companies $2.4 million in civil penalties for not carrying the coverage.

State and federal investigations were launched after the July 22 collapse of a three-story condominium, which also injured five other of Meccariello's employees. Martin County buildings officials have found in their preliminary review that concrete for the third floor was too heavy and being poured too fast.


Gregorio Ruiz Aviles, 31, and Lauro Marquez Hernandez, 23, both Mexican nationals were killed in the collapse. Both men were married. Marquez Hernandez had a 4-year-old daughter; Ruiz Aviles had two girls, aged 5 and 7.

Meccariello can serve up to five years in prison. (More here on the tragedy.)

The requirement that employers carry workers compensation insurance was part of the deal made early in the last century in return for workers giving up the ability to sue their employers. Federal OSHA is still investigating the case, but whatever they find, the OSHA penalty for killing two workers will be a small fraction of the fine for not carrying workers compensation insurance, even if the violation of worker protection standards is found to be willfull -- in other words, even if the employer knew that he was violating standards and sending workers into a situation that could kill them, it is seen by the law as far less serious than not taking out a workers comp insurance policy. (For example, a Knox County, Tennessee employer was fined only $8,000 this week for sending a worker to his death in a 15 foot deep trench.)

I think the penalty here is appropriate, but I would just like the OSHAct to be rewritten to allow these kind of penalties for willfull violations that kill workers, not just for failure carry workers comp insurance. It's also ironic that these workers were killed just as Bush's OSHA was holding its window-dressing "Hispanic Summit", a conference which was allegedly intended to address the high rates of workplace fatalities among Hispanic workers -- a "summit" where no mention was made of raising penalties to the point where employers would actually be deterred from cutting corners and putting workers lives at risk.

Nursing Shortage: Bad for Patients & Nurses

The nursing shortage has become one of those phenomina that everyone talks about as the natural state of nature.

But the problem is serious, contributing to 19 percent of medical errors resulting in death or serious injury, according the a recent report by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), a nonprofit health care monitoring group.

And the patients aren't the only ones suffering:
83 percent of nurses who have remained in the profession have experienced a recent spike in the number of patients under their care, according to a 2001 study by the University of Pennsylvania. "Some nurses are looking after 20 patients at once," says Aiken. "They're beginning to think their jobs are impossible because they simply can't provide quality care."

The challenge has taken a physical toll, causing nurses to develop chronic back pain and repetitive stress injuries. It's taken a psychological toll, making them feel harried and overwhelmed. The study says 41 percent of nurses are dissatisfied with their jobs and 43 percent suffer from burnout. In addition, 75 percent of nurses believe the quality of care at their hospitals is declining, and 40 percent would not feel comfortable having a family member cared for at their facility, according to a 2001 survey by the Washington, D.C.-based American Nurses Association.
Part of the problem is growing demand for highly trained nurses:

there have been dramatic technological improvements in health care. There are more diagnostic tests to run, more medications to administer and more machines to monitor. Care is becoming more specialized, requiring a greater number of nurses and nurses with more comprehensive training. Nursing has consequently become one of the five the fastest-growing professions in the United States, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Department of Labor.

But the government's reduction in Medicare reimbursements have led hospitals to cut their nursing staffs, while HMO's pressure hospitals to cut corners.

In response, some states, with support from unions representating nurses such as American Nurses Association United American Nurses, SEIU, AFT and AFSCME, are passing laws and regulations limiting mandatory overtime:
California recently mandated a ratio of no more than six patients to every nurse. Ten states have limited overtime for nurses and 20 more states are considering similar measures
But much more needs to be done: "The American Hospital Association says 13 percent of nursing positions nationwide are vacant today and 20 percent are likely to be vacant by 2015. "

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Movie Review: The Machinist and Lockout-Tagout

It's Thanksgiving, I'm in New York and I've had a bit of time to see some movies and read some books. This is the first Confined Space moview review about The Machinist, probably coming soon to an independent theater near you.

It's a dark pschological thriller, reminiscent of Memento. The main reason I'm recommending it to all of you health and safety zealots is that it provides an excellent lesson in the importance of OSHA's lockout-tagout standard, and the dire consequences of ignoring it.

Repetitive Stress in Wallula: Injuries Happen

This is a good, but ultimately unsatisifying article. It's full of valuable facts and tragic stories about how repetitive tasks are wreaking havoc on the arms and shoulder of mostly immigrant workers at a Tyson's meatpacking plant in Wallula, Washington:
When [Amir Mustafic, 27] moved to the Tri-Cities from Bosnia six years ago, he took a job at Wallula because he had family working there. With almost no English, he didn't think he could find another job that paid as well.

His job as the aitch boner involves pulling a section of rump meat from a passing conveyor belt with a hook, carving the bone out, then passing the piece down the line while cleaning remaining meat from the bone.

He's done this four to five times per minute, five days a week, for the past five years.

"I've felt a lot of pain a lot of times," Mustafic said in a May interview. "Right now I feel it. It's kind of tingly in my hands, from my elbow to my fingers -- actually, my shoulders to my fingers. It wakes me up every morning at 7 o'clock." Like Hernandez, Mustafic said the company stresses proper work practices to workers who complain of chronic pain.

"They say you have to sharpen your knife good, you have to use it good," he said. "They try to explain to people how to hold the hook in the hand. But it doesn't help if people have hard jobs and they go too fast."
And some good discussion about what's causing the problem:

Analysis of injury logs filed with the federal government show that in 2002, Wallula workers were taken off their jobs for injuries or illnesses at a rate that was 2.5 times higher than the national average for meatpacking plants --
and 10 times the average rate for American workplaces overall.

Logs from past years also show reported injuries have increased since Tyson Foods, the nation's largest meat company, took over the Wallula plant with its purchase of IBP Inc. in 2001, according to a University of Massachusetts study. Union leaders claim it's because of increased pressure to speed production. Company officials say it's because more injuries are being reported because Tyson has placed greater emphasis on safety.


[Since Tysons bought the plant in 2001] some workers say they've seen fairer treatment from supervisors, more emphasis on safety and more acceptance of workers who report injuries, pain or other problems. But other workers agree with Teamsters Local 556 officials, who say Tyson has increased workloads without increasing the number of staff. That, they say, has led to short-staffed workers being overwhelmed -- and causing more injuries and ergonomics problems.

[Fernando Hernandez, 47, of Pasco] said since Tyson took over he's seen a trend toward reducing workers at each station on the line. At his position, he said, there used to be 11 to 12 workers, but Tyson reduced that to seven or eight.

"Everything's faster," he said. "You need to make the cuts faster. Your hands start to hurt faster because you're making your movements faster."

But then, without any supporting evidence, Tri Cities Herald writer Jeff St. John comes out with statements like this, clearly garnered from industry propaganda:
It is notoriously difficult to pinpoint the cause of such injuries, and workers and employers can have different views on whether long-developing medical conditions are caused by what people do at work.
Despite stories like this:
But Margarita Carrasco, 53, can't imagine what she could have done outside of her seven-year job at the Wallula plant to cause the problems that have led to four surgeries in the past three years.

Carrasco, originally from Jalisco, Mexico, has long, thin white scars up and down her right arm from numerous surgeries. She's had two pins and a metal bar implanted in her right forearm, but they haven't been able to restore use of her right hand -- her knife hand.

Her right wrist first started to hurt several years ago when she was working at the "trim knuckles" position, flipping over 7-pound pieces of meat and cutting out a central bone using tight, circular knife cuts. After she developed sharp, stabbing pains in her arm, she went to the company nurse and then to a doctor, who recommended surgery. The first surgery helped, and Carrasco returned to work on light duty for six to eight months. Then she returned to the trim knuckle job, and six months later she noticed a nodule forming in her right wrist. Then the pain returned. "It was a feeling like your hand was asleep," she said.

The pain persisted and spread down her forearm, so she went to the nurse and got another doctor's appointment. That led to another surgery, and the metal bar in her arm.

"My arm is now forever useless," Carrasco said in Spanish during an interview at her Pasco home. She can't write on a flat surface or hold a spoon with her right hand, and now uses her left hand to brush her hair in the morning.
Finally, no mention is made of the late, great Washington state ergonomics standard that was repealed in a scurrilous industry-funded campaign last year.

Because without an ergonomics standard, several things happen. More workers get hurt, people outside the workplace are confused about what causes the injuries, and employers have less incentive to educate themselves about the issue or to do anything real about the problem.

It means you get quotes like this:
[Plant manager Ray] McGaugh acknowledged accidents are bound to happen, and said ergonomics injuries are statistically inevitable in meatpacking work. In some cases, he said, workers need to be told they're not physically suited to the difficult work. But he rejected the contention that company policies or working conditions have made the Wallula plant more dangerous.


Ergonomic-related problems account for about 40 percent of all recordable injuries at the plant, McGaugh said, but because they develop slowly, workers and supervisors are trained to watch for them. Improvements in the past several years have brought fewer medical problems, he said.

McGaugh also stressed the plant's "neighborhood safety watch program," instituted at the beginning of this year, which encourages both workers and supervisors to watch for unsafe acts.

"Safety is an evolution," he said. "When you have a household of 1,800 people, you have to rely on each other. Too many times, team members rely on management for safety."
Translation: Injuries happen, workers may want to rely on management to eliminate unsafe workplace conditions (by putting more workers back on the line, changing the physical layout of the line, and reducing the weight that workers have to lift), but our plan eliminates inuries by having workers report on other workers' "unsafe actions."

Anyone out there in Washington want to give this Mr. St. John a call? Compliment him for good covereage of an important issue, but fill him in on a little of the politics behind it all. After all, your probably next governor -- Dino Rossi -- (by 42 votes) has major support by the lie-spewing terminator of your ergonomics standard, the Building Industry Association of Washington who see Rossi's election as a "big 'Fuck you!' to all the liberals out there."

Quote of the Day

"I'm grateful that the people of Washington have placed their trust in me."

-- Dino Rossi, Washington State Republican Candidate for Governor

Currently leading by 42 votes out of almost three million cast after the first recount. Hand recount to follow.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Good News for Cold War Energy Workers

This is a story that I haven't had time to keep up on. Happily, Workers Comp Insider is following the good news.

After four years of failure by these departments to get compensation to deserving workers who had been made ill working on our nuclear energy program, the DOL seemed to have made progress, but the DOE just couldn't get out of its own way. Whatever the reasons, it was not getting the job done, and sick workers were paying for it.

Last month, Congress decided to use some common sense and did the right thing for the workers. It took responsibility away from the underperforming DOE and gave it to the DOL.

Congress also eased the criteria for qualifying for benefits; workers no longer have to have cancer to get paid; exposure to any hazardous substance now qualifies. Moreover, the payment process has been streamlined.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

How Did Workplace Safety & Health Fare in the Budget?

Well, the budget deeds are done and according to the AFL-CIO, it appears that the Safety and Health agencies fared pretty well this time around, particularly given the tight budgets and conservative bent of Congress.

All the particulars are not yet available, but here are highlights:
  • OSHA was funded at $468.1 million (The Bush request was $461.6 million).

  • OSHA Institutional Cometency Training Grants continue for a 6th year. These were the 5-year grants that were originally issued during the Clinton administration, and thanks largely to Arlen Specter (R-PA), have survived despite the annual effort by the administration to get rid of them and cut the entire worker training grant budget by 60%.

  • The OSHA budget includes the Congressman Roger Wicker (R-MS) rider prohibiting enforcement of annual fit-testing for workers who wear respirators to protect themselves from tuberculosis. In the report OSHA is directed to withhold action on respirators until CDC updates its TB guidelines. Wicker, you may remember, is the Congressman from Mississippi whose life seems to revolve around making sure that OSHA is not able to protect health care workers against tuberculosis. (More on that here and here.)

  • MSHA was funded at $281.5 million (Bush's request was $275.6 million).

  • NIOSH was funded at $287.745 million (Bush proposed $278.9, the Senate proposed $294.6).

  • NIOSH has a separate line item in the budget opposing the controversial reorganization that would have sunk NIOSH further down into the CDC bureaucracy. The manager's statement says that House and Senate conferees agree with Senate language that states that
    the identity and stature of NIOSH should be maintained in the CDC reorganization, The committee report directs CDC to make no changes to NIOSH's operating procedure or organizational structure and to ensure that no funds or personnel will be transferred from NIOSH to other components of CDC other than by traditional reprogramming of funds.
    This victory is the result of the incredible bi-partisan support behind the effort to maintain the integrity of NIOSH.

(The manager's statement is here. OSHA and NIOSH are at p. 17-18. The CDC portion's begin at page 64 of the pdf file, the NIOSH sections at p. 81.The legislative text is here. The OSHA section at p. 15, MSHA at p. 18, and the CDC section starts at p. 29. )

So, all in all, as long as you're not a health care worker exposed to tuberculosis, the budget didn't come out too badly. And if you are a health care worker exposed to tuberculosis, there's always hope that the CDC will come out with guidelines recommending annual fit testing.

On the other hand, SEIU's Health and Safety Director Bill Borwegen reports that CDC is misleading health care workers, telling them that surgical masks may protect them against the flu.

. .. having health-care personnel mask (with a surgical mask) for close contact with the patient may prevent nose and mouth contact with respiratory droplets. However, no studies have definitively shown that mask use by either infectious patients or health-care personnel prevents influenza transmission.
Well duh! The reason that no studies have shown surgical masks to be effective is that they aren't designed to be effective. Surgical masks do not form a seal over the face and are essentially sneeze guards intended to keep the health care worker from contaminating the patient, not the other way around. How, after all of these years, CDC still doesn't understand some of these most basic industrial hygiene facts is beyond me.

Sure makes it easier to understand why there is so much opposition to burying NIOSH deeper within the agency, doesn't it?

What Am I To Make Of This?

E-mail from a "fan:"

I have scanned your "blog" a couple of times and know that you have some valid concerns and points. Total worker safety should be our goal. Your tone is so inflammatory and militant I suspect that some, if not many, people are turned off to your message. By any chance, are you Muslim? I'm sorry if you are offended by the question, but given current world events your tone makes me curious
Offended? Not at all. More like dazed, confused and stupified.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Shameless (and rabid) in Seattle

"'Fuck you!' to all the liberals out there"

Anyone remember the Building Industry Association of Washington? They were the main evil-doers behind last year's repeal of Washington State's ergonomics standard. Evil, because their campaign was based on lies and more lies -- up to including the suggestion that if you didn't vote for the initiative repealing the standard, your children would get sick and die. (Think I'm kidding, check here.)

Of course, they had to lie, because if they had told the truth (e.g. that the ergonomics standard protected people from back injuries and carpal tunnel syndrome, and was actually good for business), they would have lost. (Is it true that once upon a time, political battles in this country were actually fought over issues, as opposed to lies and red herrings?)

But it's one thing to lie. It's another to use public money to fund your lies:
City governments are helping fill the coffers of the Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW), the state's most aggressive conservative lobby. The cities' contribution to the organization's political efforts is not large, but it is ironic. The BIAW is known for rabid opposition to government regulation and a virulent campaign style. It's one of the biggest political spenders in the state. This past election cycle, it spent between $1.7 million and $1.8 million, mostly in support of three candidates: Republican gubernatorial hopeful Dino Rossi, Republican Attorney General–elect Rob McKenna, and conservative state Supreme Court Justice–elect Jim Johnson. Erin Shannon, the BIAW's public relations director, is thrilled with the results: "It was a big 'Fuck you!' to all the liberals out there."

Rossi, in particular, having been a real-estate agent, has long-standing BIAW ties. The group was instrumental in his first election victory in 1996, and he has voted the BIAW's way 99 percent of the time during his seven years in the state Senate. The Seattle Times has reported that Rossi and two BIAW lobbyists even bought an apartment building together.
How do they do it? BIAW runs a workers compensation insurance pool in which nearly two dozen municipalities participate. The workers comp contributions are pooled and when the contributions exceed the premiums required by the state, the BIAW rebates the money -- minus 20% with which it funds its staff -- and engages in political activity -- generally anti-labor political activity. The Washington State Labor Council, which thinks they may be a better use for workers compensation funds, is trying make municipalities aware that the BIAW uses some portion of its fees for partisan political activites and to change the way the state allows the fund to operate in order "to cut the funding out from under them."

The BIAW responded in its characteristically civil way. According to Erin Shannon, the BIAW's public relations director:
"We are kicking their ass. How many years have we whipped labor?" Indeed, the BIAW has been on a roll lately. It might have won the trifecta—governor, attorney general, and a Supreme Court justice—and in recent years it successfully blocked reform of unemployment insurance (Referendum 53) and ergonomic standards (Initiative 841). Shannon points out, and the state confirms, that cities were given the green light to participate in the BIAW insurance program. She argues that once the BIAW collects its fees, the money no longer belongs to taxpayers but to a private organization that can do what it wants with the cash. If you accept labor's logic about taxpayer funds, Shannon says, then the union dues paid by state workers that help fund the Labor Council's political activity is also government money. "We have never gone after labor unions' source of revenue," Shannon says. "But if they keep coming after us, the time is right to take some swings at labor unions—defund them."
I can't quite figure out how funding the BIA's political activities with cities' workers comp fees is the same thing as simply passing union dues from workers to the union, especially considering that workers paying union dues already have a right to have the portion of their dues used for politics rebated.

In any case, whose ass ends up being kicked by whom probably depends on who the next Governor of Washington is: Labor-supported Chris Gregoire, or BIAW buddy Dino Rossi. Right now Gregoire trails Rossi by 261 votes statewide -- out of 2.8 million votes cast. A recount is under way.

The Weekly Toll

After a month's absence, The Weekly Toll is back, thanks largely to my new helper, Tammy Miser, who laboriously assembled an entire month of workers killed on the job -- a task I probably never could have caught up with.

Like most of you reading this, Tammy's has a passion for workplace safety. Sadly, her passion was acquired through the tragic death of her brother, Shawn Boone:
Thirty-three-year old Shawn Boone died from severe burns over 90 percent of his body when a series of explosions rocked the Hayes Lemmerz International factory in Huntington on Oct. 29, 2003.

The explosion turned Miser into an activist.
Tammy also started her own website, United Support & Memorial For Workplace Fatalities, a memorial website "Dedicated to loved ones lost & those left behind in tragedy."

So, on behalf of all Confined Space readers and workplace health and safety activists, thanks for heeding my call for help. And welcome to the Confined Space team.

Man killed at plant

Greeley, CO -- A Western Sugar employee died Wednesday afternoon when he apparently got caught in a conveyor belt that was unloading sugar beets from a truck.

The name of the victim may not be released for days, according to the coroner's office, because his family must be located in Mexico.

Coroner's investigator Marcia Vincent said the man was working at the conveyor and a piece of his clothing may have been caught in the machinery. He was pulled into the machine and died immediately.

50,000-pound machine falls, crushes driver

A 50,000-pound machine crushed and killed a 36-year-old Kingston man after a crane collapsed at a Batavia company early Tuesday evening.

Police said Brian A. Zuberbier, of 31842 Hillcrest Road, was just finishing his shift when one of two cranes collapsed at 5 p.m. at Diamond Rigging Corp., 680 Kingsland Drive, in Batavia's east-side industrial park.

Hospital Worker Burned In Sanitizer

St. Paul, MN -- A worker at Regions Hospital died Friday after being fatally burned when she became trapped in a sanitizing room used to clean large equipment with hot water. OSHA investigators are looking into how the woman got trapped in the sanitizer while scalding hot water was shooting out of the jets.

A former manager says she urged Regions Hospital years ago to replace the walk-in washer that fatally scalded a technician, but that they resisted her advice because of the cost.

Police ID car fire victim, cite smoke inhalation as cause of death

GARDINER - The man who was found dead in a burned car at Wright's Farm Market was a 40-year-old migrant farm worker who succumbed to smoke inhalation, state police said on Tuesday.Troopers at the Highland barracks identified the man as Jorge Ramirez. Ramirez was found dead after firefighters extinguished a fire in his car early Sunday

Cable worker electrocuted near St. Louis

O'FALLON, Mo. - A 29-year-old St. Louis area cable worker was killed Friday when he came into contact with a power line and was electrocuted. The man's name was not released pending notification of relatives. He was employed by Americon.

GM Worker Dies When Machine Falls On Him

An employee at a General Motors Corp. plant died early Friday after he was crushed by a machine, Local 4 reported. Marcel Chagnon, a 20-year employee at the GM Powertrain plant on Mound Road and Nine Mile, died at about 4:15 a.m. while repairing the machine.

Yankton police officer killed in crash

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - A Yankton police officer died in a two-vehicle traffic accident near Tyndall on Thursday, authorities said. Mark Deffenbaugh, 45, of Yankton, died from injuries at the scene of the accident on state Highway 50. The crash occurred shortly after 1:30 p.m. five miles east of Tyndall. The driver of the other vehicle, Susan Hersman, 64, of Tyndall, and her 9-year-old passenger were hospitalized.

Trench collapse suspected in deaths of two workmen

MARSHALL, Texas Two workmen were found dead today in a ditch along U-S Highway 80, just west of Marshall. The dead are identified as 73-year-old Howard Hopkins and 54-year-old Terry Kelly.

Berea man dies after accident at steel plant

A Berea man died yesterday of injuries sustained in a machinery accident where he works. Lt. Ken Clark of the Berea Police Department could not elaborate on what type of machinery it was that killed Randall Coleman, 47, or exactly what went wrong at Kentucky Steel Center Inc. at 1101 Mayde Road in Berea.

Worker electrocuted during stadium work

A worker was electrocuted Wednesday afternoon while stringing wire at the Aliquippa High School football stadium in Beaver County. Theodore Berg, 28, of Warren, Ohio, died at Aliquippa Hospital about an hour after the accident at Carl Aschman Stadium on the school campus along Harding Road, said Beaver County Deputy Coroner Teri Tatalovich-Cordes.

Man killed at plant

A Western Sugar employee died Wednesday afternoon when he apparently got caught in a conveyor belt that was unloading sugar beets from a truck.

Tree kills Asplundh worker

LANCASTER COUNTY, PA - A 42-year-old man died Wednesday while cutting down a tree in Conestoga Township, police said. Gerald R. Hess of Wapwallopen, Luzerne County, was pronounced dead at the scene of the 11:48 a.m. accident

Putnam County Jail Officer Killed in Fatal Crash

Investigators say 24-year old Zachary Vibbert had just turned north onto County Road 0 when he drove into the path of a utility truck. Vibbert was pronounced dead at the scene. He was not wearing a seatbelt.

SFCC employee dies in stabbing attack

Denise White, 35, of 2930 SW 23rd Terrace, Apt. 1402, was stabbed in office No. 241 at the Employment Training Center on the second floor of Building R. Her husband, Samuel White, 36, entered her office in violation of a restraining order filed against him during their separation, said Jim Troiano, Alachua County Sheriff’s Office spokesmen

Worker dies from 30-foot fall at steel mill

CRAWFORDSVILLE, Ind. -- A contract worker who fell 30 feet from a furnace deck onto a dirt floor at the Nucor Steel Corp. mill has died at an Indianapolis hospital. Donald Vanhoose, 27, of Cookville, Texas, died Tuesday, the Marion County Coroner's Office said.

Worker Killed In Highway Construction Accident

A construction worker was killed when a tractor-trailer hit his lift-truck. The accident happened around 12:30 a.m. at the Route 273 overpass. Authorities said the private contractor was getting the bridge ready to be repainted.

Boeing worker is killed by Renton School District bus

RENTON -- A 57-year-old Boeing Co. custodian was struck and killed by a Renton School District bus Tuesday morning as he was crossing Park Avenue North at North Sixth Avenue. Renton police identified the victim as Gary Taylor of Seattle.

Worker Killed In Accident At Manhattan Construction Site

A 60-year-old construction worker was killed in a construction accident in Manhattan Wednesday. The fatal incident happened at a site on West 53rd Street between Eighth and Ninth avenues. The city's Department of Buildings says Glenn Gornert was attempting repair work on a crane when he fell 40 feet to the ground.The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Police Department are investigating the incident.

Cause of Deadly Pipeline Explosion That Killed Five Investigated

Now that authorities have recovered the bodies of two welders killed in a ferocious explosion in Walnut Creek earlier this week and accounted for the last of the victims, their focus shifted Friday to determining what caused a tragedy that left five men dead and four others injured.

East Bay Municipal Utility District officials pledged to find out what went wrong and denied that Mountain Cascade, the contractor installing a huge water main where Tuesday's blast occurred, had been pressured to meet deadlines, possibly jeopardizing safety.

The explosion occurred at about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday when a backhoe operator ruptured a 10-inch fuel line, releasing a torrent of fuel that was ignited by two welders using a blowtorch inside the five-foot-diameter water main.
The resulting blast damaged several homes and forced the evacuation of two schools.

Killed in the explosion were Tae Chin Im, 47, Javier Ramos, 36, Israel Hernandez, 36, Miguel Reyes, 43, and Victor Rodriguez, 26.

More here.

Five people killed in car-train collision

GRANITEVILLE, S.C. Five textile mill workers were killed Wednesday morning when their car collided with a Norfolk Southern research train about 12 miles from the Georgia-South Carolina state line.

All five victims were in the car, which was dragged about two-tenths of a mile down the track by the train. No one on the train was hurt, officials said.

Guard Run Over, Killed in Warehouse Incident

Debbie Perez, a security guard at the Foster Farms facility in Modesto, Calif., was run over on Nov. 7 by a powered truck in the warehouse. She later died at Doctors Medical Center in Modesto.

Business closed after one man died and another was injured in accident

MARLBOROUGH -- State authorities yesterday shut down a local automotive shop where one man died and another was critically injured Saturday night while working on a minivan. Josias Peres, 59, of Marlborough, was killed and 39-year-old Sergio Silva, also of Marlborough, was critically injured after the green Ford Aerostar the men were repairing unexpectedly lunged forward, pinning both men against a wall at Anluser Automotive and Sales Inc., located at 315 Maple St.

Domino's Pizza employee shot, killed

Benton Harbor, MI - Benton Township Police are on the lookout for the man who shot and killed a pizza shop employee during a robbery. Police say 43-year-old Isaac Lee Washington was killed when a masked gunman robbed the Domino's Pizza store on Napier Avenue around 1:30 AM Saturday. The victim was still alive when police arrived, but later died on the way to the hospital. So far, police have made no arrests.

Store Owner Killed After Pushing Employee Away From Gunfire Police Looking For One Man In Shooting

PHILADELPHIA -- The owner of a check-cashing store in Philadelphia was killed during a robbery, but not before he pushed his employee out of the line of fire. Harold Wexler usually met a security guard in front of his business at 8:45 before he opened each morning. However, at about 8:40 a.m. Monday, a robber showed up first. The robber forced Wexler and the janitor inside the store. Police said Wexler pushed the employee out of the way as the robber started shooting.

Highway worker, driver killed in I-44 crash

SARCOXIE, Mo. - A crash on Interstate 44 in southwest Missouri on Monday left a highway worker and a driver dead. The accident happened about 1:20 p.m. as a five-person crew from the Missouri Department of Transportation was installing a mile marker along the shoulder of the eastbound lanes of I-44 near Sarcoxie, authorities said.

Flagler County Employee Killed In Accident

BUNNELL, Fla. -- A Flagler County Public Works employee was killed Friday morning when the dump truck he was driving crashed on County Road 205. Lloyd Derreberry Jr., 37, of Palm Coast, was killed instantly when he was ejected and landed under the dump truck.

Construction worker electrocuted on Long Island

ELMONT, N.Y. (AP) _ A construction worker was killed and his partner was critically hurt Sunday when scaffolding they were adjusting touched live power lines, Nassau County police said. The two workers were preparing to install vinyl siding on a house when the accident occurred at around noon, Nassau County police said in a news release. Santos Garcia, 34, of Hicksville, was pronounced dead at the scene, police said. His partner, 33-year-old Jose Alvarenga, was in critical condition at the Nassau University Medical Center, said Police Officer Thomas Brussell.

Steel Worker Killed in Accident

Investigators are looking into an industrial accident that killed a man on the Westside Sunday night. Police say some type of heavy debris that may have been from a truck load fell on top of a worker. The accident occurred at Canam Steel located on South Ellis Road. The victim’s identity has not yet been released, but investigators are expected to reveal more about the accident on Monday morning.

TB suspected in Foxwoods worker's death

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- After a dishwashing supervisor at Foxwoods Resort Casino apparently died of tuberculosis, several of his co-workers were tested for the infectious disease and the results came back negative, tribal officials said. The man was a Haitian immigrant who lived in Norwich. He did not have direct contact with casino customers and did not wash dishes, the casino said. Casino and public health officials withheld the man's name citing privacy laws.

High Winds Blamed For Postal Worker's Death

MIDLAND PARK, N.J. -- Police blame high winds for a fatal accident in Midland Park, New Jersey. A large tree fell Friday on a postal service truck, killing the driver. The 50-foot maple tree was apparently rotting at the base. The victim is identified as Julio Cruz, a 44-year-old postal worker. Cruz, a father of three who lived in West New York, New Jersey, was employed out of the post office in nearby Ridgewood. Police say a doctor appeared on the scene immediately after the tree fell, but it was too late to save the Cruz.

Roofing Employee Dies After Falling From Cargill Roof

DAYTON, Ohio -- A worker repairing part of a roof at a Dayton plant fell and died on Monday afternoon. The accident happened at the Cargill plant on Needmore Road. A spokesperson at the plant said an employee of Sturgil Roofing was working on the plant roof when he fell. Investigators are trying to determine the cause of the accident. They believe the man fell about 50 feet to the ground.

SU employee dies after being struck by van on highway

A Syracuse University employee was struck by a moving vehicle Tuesday while helping a coworker refill her gas tank, and died later that night in University Hospital. Stephen J. Melcher, 57, a large press operator at SU printing services, went to help Marianne McCarthy when her car ran out of gas at the 3-E Fayetteville exit off of Interstate 481.

Public works employee lived in Collinsville

COLLINSVILLE - An employee of the East St. Louis Public Works Department died when he wrecked his personal vehicle near his Collinsville home Saturday morning. Earl L. Childress, 43, of 103 Roger Drive died of asphyxiation after he was thrown from his 1997 Chevrolet Blazer and trapped under it, said supervisory investigator Roger D. Smith of the Madison County coroner's office.

Worker dies at construction site

HAMILTON, Ohio - A worker trying to load a piece of heavy equipment onto a flatbed trailer was killed when the earth mover rolled over on him, officials said. The Butler County coroner identified the victim as Marc Hudson, 36, of Bethel. Hudson was working alone when the brake on the earth mover apparently failed, Sheriff's Capt. Mike Grimes said. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration was investigating the death Wednesday.

Restaurant employee found dead, Shreveport man charged

When Alonzo Ragster saw Kevin Shields working at Herby K's Restaurant on Tuesday evening, as he always does, he never thought it would be his last time seeing the longtime employee.

Hours before the restaurant in the 1800 block of Pierre Avenue opened for business Wednesday, Shields, 36, was found dead behind the restaurant.

Second MGH worker found dead

A worker at Marin General Hospital has collapsed and died in a hospital bathroom, the second MGH employee to die on the job in less than two weeks. Gregory Bradford, 44, of Richmond was found dead Tuesday afternoon. Assistant Coroner Gary Tindel said Bradford's death was "sudden and unexpected," and the cause was still under investigation. Bradford's death follows the Oct. 22 death of Rhonda Williams, who was found in a restroom in the maternity area. Williams, 45, of Vallejo had worked at the hospital for more than six years.

OSHA begins investigation into accident Two workers continue recovery

The two construction workers who were injured in the fatal construction accident on Thursday continue their recovery as the Federal Occupational Safety an Health Administration (OSHA) investigates the accident. A mechanized scaffold fell over on Thursday afternoon, throwing the four men inside 35 feet onto the paved driveway on the southwest side of Scruggs Hall. Jim Edwards, of Tuscaloosa, was injured, but has been discharged from Baptist Memorial Hospital in Oxford. Steven Patrick Nance’s condition was upgraded from serious to critical over the weekend. Nance is in the Critical Care Unit at The Med Regional Medical Center in Memphis, where he has been since he was airlifted to that facility following the accident Thursday afternoon. Raymond Holton, 18, and Calvin Hoda, 20, both of Kiln, were killed in the fall. Holton died at the scene, and Hoda died at Baptist Hospital three hours after the accident.

Worker dies in Pittsburg construction accident

PITTSBURG - A 50-year-old construction worker from Brentwood died this week when a crane mounted on a truck tipped over while lifting a section of concrete pipe, pinning him underneath. The Tuesday accident killed Peter Corpuz at 740 Garcia Ave., a commercial construction site, before police arrived, Pittsburg police Lt. Brian Addington said.

Construction worker found dead in West Palm

WEST PALM BEACH — A 32-year-old construction worker was found dead with his head stuck in a cement mixing bowl while working at Bak Middle School Tuesday afternoon, police said. The worker, identified as Jason Nealie, was apparently cleaning the mixing bowl on a cement truck when a co-worker saw his head was stuck and that he was not moving, according to a West Palm Beach police report. Nealie, who was working for Tarmac America, was not wearing his hardhat, according to the report. His death was ruled accidental and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration was called to investigate.

OSHA to examine job site fatality

LONDONDERRY — Federal labor officials will probe this past Wednesday's death of a worker on an Akira Way construction site, said a spokesman yesterday for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Walter Robinson, 55, of Allenstown, was working on the new headquarters of Insight Technology when a wooden trash bin being emptied into a Dumpster fell off its forklift and crushed him, according to officials with North Branch Construction. Local police have thus far called the death accidental. An OSHA spokesman declined to comment on the case citing its open status.

Storm-cleanup worker crushed

PUNTA GORDA -- A 50-year-old Fort Myers man was crushed to death Thursday when a small excavator fell on him at a job site, police officials said. Police identified the man as Nelisido Cabrera. Cabrera, a self-employed contractor, was working alone on a demolition project at the Buttonwood Village mobile home park, where Hurricane Charley left a trail of damage, said police Capt. Jason Ciaschini.

Worker killed was from Ecuador

LITTLE EGG HARBOR -- Police have identified the person killed in a construction site accident Wednesday as a 40-year-old man from Ecuador. Eladio Igaguali, who was living in Newark, died Wednesday afternoon while working at the construction site for Four Seasons at Sea Oaks, a residential development. Officials have said 65 sheets of half-inch thick plywood fell on him while workers were transporting the wood on a four-wheel drive vehicle. Uneven ground caused the load's weight to shift and fall on Igaguali, officials have said.

Texas police officer dies after being run over by partner

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A police officer died early Sunday after she got out of her patrol car to chase a suspect on foot and was run over by her partner. Officer Amy Donovan was on patrol late Saturday when she and her partner, Officer Adrian Valdovino, saw someone engaged in "suspicious activity," said Police Chief Stan Knee. Donovan jumped from the car to question the man but he fled on foot. The suspect escaped. Valdovino put the car in reverse to try to stop the man and the car struck Donovan, the chief said.

Department of Justice Officer Dies After Being Shot on the Job

Milwaukee- A special agent with the Department of Justice who was shot on Milwaukee's northside last week has died. John Balchunas was shot by robbery suspects at this gas station on 32nd and Villard as he got a cup of coffee. Today not only is the Department of Justice in mourning but so is the Milwaukee Police Department where Balchunas worked for several years.

Police seek two suspects. The victim leaves behind a wife and four children.

SAN BERNARDINO - An ardent churchgoer with a wife and four children was fatally shot during a robbery early Saturday morning while working at a gas station in eastern San Bernardino, police said. Sami Sayah, 50, was described by his cousin and employer as religious and hardworking. "Really nice guy. Very mellow," said Anil Kumar, owner of the Valero gas station at the corner of Highland and Palm avenues. "He takes time off work to go to church." San Bernardino police are looking for two men suspected of shooting Sayah about 6:30 a.m. Saturday in the 3500 block of East Highland Avenue.

Taxi Driver Shot, Apparent Carjacking

BALDWIN PARK — A cab driver was fatally shot during an apparent carjacking involving at least three suspects in Baldwin Park today, authorities said. The driver, who was employed by La Puente-based Mid-Valley Yellow Cab, was found in the street following the shooting, which was reported at 3:25 a.m. in the 13500 block of Hamburger Lane. The taxi driver, identified as Manuel Navarro, was later pronounced dead at a nearby hospital, Baldwin Park police Officer Rudy Campos said.

County man, another killed in job site accident

An Eighty Four man and a Lawrence County man were killed Wednesday when a tri-axle dump truck backed over them at a state Department of Transportation construction site in Beaver County. Robert "Curt" George, 33, of 120 Myers Road, Eighty Four, and Dennis Kunz, 55, of Ellwood City were walking north along a closed portion of Route 51 near Aliquippa when a truck operated by Charles Orczeck of Greensburg began backing up behind the two men. The truck's reverse alarm was functioning, but "apparently that's a common noise that you hear all the time and you get used to it," Aliquippa police Chief Ralph Pallante said. Before nearby workers could warn them, the truck backed over the two men. The ambulance attendant first on the scene could not find vital signs on either man, Pallante said. George, an employee of Mosites Construction Co., died of head and neck injuries, and Kunz, an inspector for GAI Consultants, died of chest injuries, said Beaver County chief deputy coroner Renea Esoldo following autopsies performed Thursday.

Gillette man killed on job in explosion

GILLETTE - An employee was killed and two others were injured when a new propane-fueled water boiler exploded at the Viking Explosives & Supply Inc. plant 25 miles south of here. "There was a brand-new boiler, and they were trying light it, get it to work, and they had an explosion. It blew the front and back off the boiler," said Randy Sanders, assistant chief for the Campbell County Fire Department. Mark A. Haratyk, 25, of Gillette, died of massive head injuries Monday, Campbell County Coroner Tom Eekhoff said.

Worker dies after trench collapse in Rogers City

ROGERS CITY, Mich. (AP) -- A worker who was trapped when a trench being dug as part of a sewer line repair project collapsed has died. Anthony W. Darga, 22, of Rogers City, died Friday of injuries he sustained in the Thursday collapse, The Alpena News reported. Darga was buried for several minutes until rescue workers extracted him from the trench, authorities said. He was treated and transported to Alpena General Hospital, but died as a result of his injuries.

Woman working with husband dies in sewer trench collapse

TACOMA — A woman helping her husband dig a sewer line to a new house was crushed to death when wet soil collapsed into the trench and partially buried her. Tamara Kresse, 41, of Spanaway, mother of a teenage daughter, died at the scene Thursday afternoon despite the desperate efforts of her husband Tom and others in the work crew to dig her free.

Two die in trench collapse

A Greenville plumber and his assistant were suffocated and killed Friday when a wall of dirt collapsed onto them in the 12-foot trench where they were laying sewer pipe. Randy Rasler, 45, the owner of Rasler’s Plumbing, and his employee, Vernon Sarver, 26, were working next to the foundation of a new home in the Wheatfield Hills subdivision in Greenville this morning when a wall of dirt fell and buried them.

Two die in I44 accident

SARCOXIE, Mo. — Two people, including a Missouri Department of Transportation worker, were killed in a three-vehicle crash Monday afternoon four miles east of Sarcoxie. MoDOT crews were working shortly after 2 p.m. on the shoulder of the eastbound lanes of Interstate 44 when an eastbound white van veered from the right lane, struck a MoDOT worker and then slammed into the back of an empty MoDOT truck. The impact sent the truck into the driving lanes, where it was hit by a tractor-trailer. The van driver and the MoDOT employee were pronounced dead, said Sgt. Kent Casey, a public information officer for the Missouri State Highway Patrol. A passenger in the van was injured and taken to a hospital. The driver of the tractor-trailer was not injured. The victims were identified as Anna Lukosius, 78, of Camdenton, and Bert Vanatta, 44, of Miami, Okla. Lukosius was the driver of the van, and Vanatta was the pedestrian. Both bodies were taken to Housh Funeral Home at Sarcoxie. The passenger in the Lukosius vehicle was identified as Michael Cravatta, 79, of Camdenton. He was taken to St. John’s Regional Medical Center at Joplin.

Deffenbaugh Worker Killed In Accident On I-435

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- A Deffenbaugh worker was killed in an accident Tuesday afternoon at Interstate 435 and Woodend. The man was apparently picking up trash and was trying to cross the road when he was hit by a car. The man died at the scene. Police were talking to the driver. Officers blocked off I-435 at Woodend for hours. The highway was reopened to traffic at 5 p.m.


A Bronx bodega employee was killed last night by two masked bandits, police said.
The gun-toting men walked into the Forest Deli at 751 Forest Ave. in the Melrose section at 8:55 p.m. It was not immediately clear why they opened fire on the man (Afraenif Dumet), who was shot once in the back.

Police sources said the gunmen snatched cash and cigarettes, then drove off in their getaway car. A customer and another employee were in the store at the time.

The employee, who neighborhood residents described as a pleasant, hard-working man, was rushed to Lincoln Hospital, where he went into cardiac arrest as doctors worked frantically to save his life.

He died an hour after the shooting.

64-year-old worker dies in fall from Volusia County billboard

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - A man working on a billboard died after he fell 25 feet to the ground Thursday. Carson Gore, 64, of Chuluota, and his son were repairing a billboard near the intersection of Interstate 4 and Interstate 95, the Volusia County Sheriff's Office said. Both men were standing on top of the structure when Gore's son heard a noise that made him look over at his father in time to see him fall backward off the billboard.

Worker dies after falling inside of manhole

The state Department of Labor is investigating the death of a man who fell while working alone inside a manhole in Thomasville. Manuel Garcia, 37, of Graham, had worked for Carl Norris Construction Company for about a year and a half. Tom Barton, project manager for Carl Norris Construction, said that he's not sure what caused Garcia to fall. Alida Carolina Santacruz attended Restauracion En Cristo Pentecostal church with Garcia. She said that Garcia was a deacon at the church and "was a good Christian man."

Man died working to help wife

Hong Jae Ho wasn't supposed to die. In fact, he wasn't supposed to be working on Guam this year. On Wednesday afternoon, the 65-year-old husband and father died in what police officials have called an industrial accident. "Last year was supposed to be the last time he was working," said Tommy Chu, manager of K and A Construction company, Hong's employer. "He called me and asked to work one more year. ... His wife has cancer. So they need the money to pay the doctors and the medicine." Chu said officials from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration had visited the construction site, but could not say if they had made any determination on the site's safety. OSHA officials could not be contacted as of press time. Chu added that Hong had been wearing his safety helmet while he was working, adding that employees had always practiced safety.

Second BP worker succumbs to injuries

TEXAS CITY — The second of three BP employees severely burned after a water line ruptured in September has died. Raymundo Gonzalez died Friday at UTMB’s John Sealy hospital. He was 54. According to the Galveston County Medical Examiner’s Office, Gonzalez died as a result of complications from injuries sustained Sept. 2. He was one of three craftsmen working on a water line in the BP refinery when it ruptured and the scalding water struck the men. Gonzalez suffered third-degree burns to 70 percent of his body. A fellow craftsman, Leonard Moore, died two days later after suffering burns to 90 percent of his body.

Asphalt roller strikes INDOT worker, killing her

Greensburg -- An asphalt roller struck and killed an Indiana Department of Transportation employee Thursday in Decatur County, state officials said. Joyce E. Williams, 43, Edinburgh, was killed in a work zone near Ind. 46 and County Road 750 West. She was standing about 5 feet away from the asphalt roller when it suddenly accelerated forward and crushed her. Two other state transportation employees nearby dodged the roller.

Gunman shoots three, then kills self at St. Petersburg mall

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - Investigators are trying to get to the bottom of three deaths at Three a Radio Shack store in a St. Petersburg strip mall. A gunman shot a shopper and an employee before he killed himself. Police say 23-year-old Kenneth Powell, a store shopper, and 19-year-old Joanna Cruz, a clerk, died in surgery last night at Bayfront Medical Center. Another employee, 30-year-old James Dolan, was seriously injured and underwent surgery last night.

Tire store manager slain, worker questioned

An 18-year-old man is being questioned by police this morning in the shooting death of a Park Forest man who managed a tire store in Gary, CLTV reported. Police said they were called about 8 a.m. Thursday to the Firestone Tire and Service Center at 6223 E. Melton Rd. after employees arriving for work found the doors locked and saw through the windows the body of a man lying on the floor. The store's manager, Norbert Abiagom, 37, was found dead of a gunshot to the head, CLTV reported. Investigators found no sign of either forced entry or items taken from the business.

Former St. Albans selectman dies in work accident

ST. ALBANS, Vt. A former Saint Albans (Vermont) town selectman has died in a work accident in New York state. Forty-seven-year-old Tim Trombley was a lineworker for P-A-R Electric Contractors. He was attaching new power lines to a pole in Troy, New York, when a nearby power pole snapped and hit the bucket he was working in.

Construction worker falls 20 feet to death

OCEAN TOWNSHIP -- A Hudson County man died after falling about 20 feet from a scaffold at the Monmouth Processing Plant, police said yesterday. Sergio Bustamente, 57, of Harrison was rushed to Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Neptune, where he died yesterday morning, police Chief Robert Swannack said. The cause of death would not be known until an autopsy is performed, but witnesses told police that when Bustamente fell, he hit his head on the ground.

Napan killed after saw he was using hit his neck

A Napa man died Thursday afternoon when the skill saw he was using cut him in the neck. Gerardo Perez, 37, was taken to Queen of the Valley Hospital where he was pronounced dead, sheriff's Lt. Jean Donaldson said.

Benson officer dies after car collides with deer

RALEIGH, N.C. - A Benson police officer found dead inside of his car at the bottom of a creek hit a deer before running into the water, the state Highway Patrol said. Sgt. Ronnie McLamb, 25, hit the deer on U.S. 301 outside Benson and veered into a stand of trees before landing in the creek Sunday. Family members found his Ford Mustang, with McLamb trapped inside, on Monday.

Murdered woman a seven-year employee

The sales assistant fatally shot in Adelaide's Rundle Mall Myer store had worked for the company for seven years, a spokesman says. Spokesman John Gillman said Carole Schaer, 61, was first employed in 1997. She originally worked in the cosmetics department but later moved to handbags. "People have been saying wonderful, wonderful things about her," Mr Gillman said. "She will be very sadly missed by the team here in the store. It's a big family, the Myer team here, and she was a loved member of the Myer family."

Killed on bike

Cops say messenger was struck by opening truck door as he tried to dart between two vehicles in midtown. A bike messenger was killed yesterday morning when he fell headfirst from his bike in midtown after a deliveryman opened a truck door and knocked him down, police said. But officials from the truck company blamed the accident on a police van they say hit the cyclist and threw him into the truck.At 10:45 a.m., the messenger, Dell Covington, 42, of Woodhaven, was riding north on Eighth Avenue near 49th Street. He tried to negotiate a narrow space between a double-parked delivery truck and a police prisoner transport van while holding a cup of tea in one hand and a large muffin in the other, police sources said.

Truck Rollover Causes Fatality

A 19-year-old Fredericksburg worker died last Wednesday, Nov. 10, in a single-vehicle rollover accident on U.S. Highway 290 East. Larry Lance Scott, who lived in Johnson City and worked as a machinist at Heartland Enterprises in Fredericksburg, was pronounced dead at the scene along U.S. Highway 290 at a point 2.6 miles east of Ranch Road 1376 (near Fredericksburg Trade Days). Law enforcement officials said they believe Scott fell asleep at the wheel and never braked as his vehicle left the roadway.

Beware deer in headlights

More than 2,000 Utah crashes a year involve the animals. In October, three employees of Contemporary Services in Salt Lake City were killed when the vehicle they were riding in tried to swerve to miss a deer in Parleys Canyon. The vehicle rolled several times. The group was returning home at 2:20 a.m. from an assignment in Denver.

Worker killed by chipper at sawmill in Port Gibson

A sawmill worker was killed Tuesday morning after being trapped in a wood chipper at V&B International Inc. in Port Gibson. Andrew Lee Byrd, 46, of Port Gibson died about 6 a.m. Byrd's sister, Reather Byrd, said her brother had worked at the company about two years.

Deffenbaugh Worker Killed In Accident On I-435

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- A Deffenbaugh worker was killed in an accident Tuesday afternoon at Interstate 435 and Woodend.The man was apparently picking up trash and was trying to cross the road when he was hit by a car. The man died at the scene. Police were talking to the driver. Officers blocked off I-435 at Woodend for hours. The highway was reopened to traffic at 5 p.m.

Employee fatally shot at convenience store

A 55-year-old convenience store employee died Monday night after being shot at his business in the 1000 block of South Zang Boulevard earlier in the day. Keshav Lal Shrestha was found injured in the back office of the Zang Food Store about 1:20 p.m. with gunshot wounds to his face and stomach. A witness told police that Mr. Shrestha was at the front of the store during the shooting and called home before stumbling into the back office. He was taken to an area hospital, where he died about 7:30 p.m. No suspects or motive have been identified,

Ormond Beach officer killed while investigating accident

ORMOND BEACH, Fla. - A police officer died after he was struck by a car while investigating a minor traffic accident. Officer Robert F. Grim, 60, was killed instantly after he was hit by a car driven by 21-year-old Mishanna Coates late Friday night, Florida Highway Patrol spokeswoman Kim Miller said.

No clues in car-shop shooting

QUARTZ HILL -- An auto shop employee was shot to death execution-style Friday while working inside an SUV, detectives said. Detectives said they didn't know the reason for the slaying of Neil Hacker, 24, of Lancaster, who was shot in the back of the head and left with his feet hanging out the SUV's rear doors in an auto-detailing bay.

UT police officer killed in crash on I-40

KNOXVILLE, KY -- A UT police officer was killed Thursday night when his pickup truck was hit by a tractor trailer on I-40. Officer Benjamin Bohanan, 28, was on his way home from work when the crash occurred near I-40 and the James White Parkway exit.

Flagler County Employee Killed In Accident

BUNNELL, Fla. -- A Flagler County Public Works employee was killed Friday morning when the dump truck he was driving crashed on County Road 205. Lloyd Derreberry Jr., 37, of Palm Coast, was killed instantly when he was ejected and landed under the dump truck. Derreberrry was hauling dirt to a storage area at the Flagler County Fairgrounds

Worker killed was from Ecuador

LITTLE EGG HARBOR -- Police have identified the person killed in a construction site accident Wednesday as a 40-year-old man from Ecuador. Eladio Igaguali, who was living in Newark, died Wednesday afternoon while working at the construction site for Four Seasons at Sea Oaks, a residential development. Officials have said 65 sheets of half-inch thick plywood fell on him while workers were transporting the wood on a four-wheel drive vehicle. Uneven ground caused the load's weight to shift and fall on Igaguali, officials have said.

OSHA to examine job site fatality

LONDONDERRY — Federal labor officials will probe this past Wednesday's death of a worker on an Akira Way construction site, said a spokesman yesterday for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Walter Robinson, 55, of Allenstown, was working on the new headquarters of Insight Technology when a wooden trash bin being emptied into a Dumpster fell off its forklift and crushed him, according to officials with North Branch Construction.

Man killed in accident on western New York farm

WEST BLOOMFIELD, N.Y. A 53-year-old worker died after an accident yesterday on a western New York farm. State police say Thomas Powers was working in a grain storage bin at Bonnaterra Farms in West Bloomfield, 15 miles south of Rochester, when the accident occurred yesterday. Troopers say Powers was pushing grain to the middle of the bin when his pant leg got caught in a floor augur, pulling him into the machinery. Other workers found Powers unconscious and called for help. Powers was taken to the hospital in nearby Canandaigua, then airlifted to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester where he died from his injuries.

Hotel worker died of natural causes, coroner says

The Westmoreland County Coroner's Office has ruled that a 30-year-old hotel worker died of natural causes. But Chief Deputy Coroner Paul Cycak said Monday that authorities were unable to pinpoint what led to the death of Brian Keith Domke, of Scottdale. "We can't find anything that caused his death," Cycak said yesterday. An autopsy ruled out foul play or injuries, he said. Tests showed no evidence of disease or drugs, either.

Guard killed at Foster Farms Warehouse

Vehicle runs over woman making her rounds at Modesto plant.

A security guard died Sunday following a workplace accident at the Foster Farms plant in Modesto last week. The guard, Debbie Perez of Modesto, was making the rounds Thursday night when she was run over by a warehouse vehicle that was hauling trailers, said Dean Fryer, a spokesman for Cal-OSHA.

Bus driver error likely led to death

BEAVERTON -- An accident that killed a TriMet bus driver Tuesday was probably the result of driver error, a Beaverton police investigator concluded Friday. The accident at the Sunset Transit Center killed Diane Joyce Boothe, 56. It was the first bus accident in TriMet history in which a driver was killed.


GOODING, Idaho (AP) -- A worker at a Gooding cheese plant died yesterday while trying to fix a conveyor belt.

51 year-old Merlyn Monson of Wendell apparently triggered a sensor for a hydraulic arm when he leaned over the belt. The arm came down and crushed him.

Gooding County Sheriff Shaun Gough says an autopsy shows Monson died instantly and that Monson was simply in a hurry to fix the belt. Gough says the death was an accident and that it's the first such accident at Glanbia Foods.

Police Retire Star, Shield Of Officer Killed By Drunk Driver

CHICAGO -- In a ceremony serving as "a reminder of how precious life is," Chicago police Thursday retired the star and shield of Officer Michael Gordon, killed when his squad car was struck by the vehicle of a drunk driver.

Man's death closes coal mine

Antelope mine in northern Converse County closed for about 12 hours after an electrician died of an apparent heart attack Tuesday evening, officials said. The Douglas man, whose name was not available this morning, was an employee of the mine owned by Kennecott Energy. The Mine Safety and Health Administration was called in to determine whether the death is chargeable as a mining accident or attributed to be natural causes,said William Denning, MSHA staff assistant in Denver.

Man dies after weekend work injury

A 31-year-old Rock Hill man has died after being struck by a piece of machinery while working at Metromont Materials in Rock Hill this weekend. Tim Freihammer, 818 Patriot Parkway Apt. 304, died Saturday night at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte of massive head injuries, York County Coroner Doug McKown said.

Miner killed in Dismal accident

Virginia’s third mining-related fatality happened last Friday when a Buchanan County mine electrician died of burns from an Oct. 23 accident. Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy spokesman Mike Abbott confirmed Monday that Dennie Leonard, 56, of the Dismal community died around 2 p.m. Oct. 29 at Vanderbilt Burn Center in Nashville, Tenn.

Railroad worker dies after being struck by train near Glasgow

GLASGOW -- A railroad worker died early Monday after he stepped away from an idle train and a westbound train hit him, said a spokesman for Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway. Gus Melonas said the BNSF train struck the man 53 miles west of Glasgow at about 5:20 a.m. MST. Melonas did not identify the BNSF employee, who was based in Havre. The main rail line was blocked while an investigation continued, Melonas said.

APD Officer Killed

She's the first female police officer in Austin to die in the line of duty. Thirty-seven-year-old Amy Donovan was killed while chasing a suspect in Central East Austin.

Two killed at Sherman industrial plant

SHERMAN, Texas – Police were investigating the deaths of two men killed Friday at a manufacturing plant. The men apparently became trapped under a metal-cutting machine as they worked at a Cooper B-Line plant in Sherman, said police Sgt. Charley Smith. He said an employee reported the incident to police shortly after 5 p.m. "There were no witnesses. They were found after the fact," Smith said. "The only reason we're investigating it is as a precaution. The victims were Maurice Vickers, 37, of Sherman and a 44-year-old man from Southmayde who was not identified because his family had not been notified, Smith said.

Cable TV worker electrocuted in O'Fallon, Mo.

A 29-year-old cable worker was killed this morning when he came into contact with a power line in an O’Fallon, Mo., subdivision and was electrocuted.

Investigators look into worker's death at factory

BAD AXE - State investigators are examining the Thursday morning death of a 23-year-old Bad Axe man killed at a factory in this Huron County city when a steel shaft pierced his body. Matthew O. Gaeth, a 1999 graduate of Laker High School, died in the incident at Thumb Tool and Engineering Co. at 354 Liberty St.

State, federal officials investigate Charleston port accident

CHARLESTON, S.C. - State and federal workplace safety officials are investigating the fourth major accident since July at the state's port facilities. Michael Clarkin, a 34-year-old dockworker, was critically injured early Thursday at the State Ports Authority's North Charleston terminal container storage yard when an empty shipping container fell on his vehicle.

Taxi driver dies in robbery attempt in Plantation Plantation

A cab driver, lured to a darkened, dead-end street early Friday morning, was shot in the back of the head and killed as he tried to flee a robbery attempt, police said. The killer ran away empty-handed. Daniel Desir, a driver for Yellow Cab, was dispatched to the Village Square Condominiums in the 7500 block of Northwest 16th Street just before 1 a.m., said Plantation Police Sgt. Al Butler. The caller gave the correct address but a false apartment number. Desir, 36, searched for the unit with the complex security guard before giving up and deciding to leave. Just then, a man walked out from behind a row of shrubs and flagged Desir down, said police. Neighbors heard a loud argument, then a cry for help and two gunshots. When they looked out of their windows, they saw the cab resting against a tree on the side of the road. Desir was dead behind the wheel, according to police.

Death highlights need for OHS training, construction group says

The Northern Territory Construction Association says the death of an 18-year-old road worker on Thursday night highlights the need to have safe working procedures in place. The teenager was killed when he was run over by an industrial street sweeper. The association's Peter Donovan says although no one has been blamed for the incident, it is an unfortunate reminder tragic accidents do occur in the workplace. He says if reports the worker had music playing inside his hearing protective device are true it highlights the need for Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) training. He says companies also need to be aware of their responsibilities.

Bar Worker Shot Dead In Brooklyn Co-Worker Arrested For Crime

NEW YORK (AP) A Brooklyn man has been arrested in the fatal shooting of a co-worker inside a bar where they both worked. Police say James Pallonetti walked into BR Stars in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn around 2:20 AM. He apparently fired several shots at James Trippett, who was working at the bar. Trippett was hit four times in the torso and later pronounced dead. He was 34 years-old. Charges against 45 year-old Pallonetti are still pending.

Construction accident fatal

An electrical worker was killed Saturday afternoon after being struck by a heavy machine used to lay underground cables, police said. Local and state agencies are looking into the cause of the accident. Donald Lemen Jr., 49, of Mount Pleasant, was killed during a construction accident near the Medical University of South Carolina. He was an employee of Metro Electric Co., officials said.