Wednesday, November 30, 2005

OSHA's Belated Hex Chrome Standard: "Sorry I'm Late Dude, But There Was This Humongous Hurricane, and uh...."

Every disaster has a silver lining. OSHA has even found a silver lining in Katrina: a convenient excuse for being a bit tardy in handing in its final hexavalent chromium standard to the Office of Management and Budget so that it can be reviewed and finalized before the court-ordered deadline -- January 18, 2006 -- about a month and a half from now. OSHA was supposed to submit the standard to OMB by September 15 in order to allow 90 days for review.

OSHA is blaming its tardiness on Hurricane Katrina. According to Inside OSHA, OSHA told OMB that its "progress on the rule was impacted by the activation of the Federal Government's National Response Plan after Hurricane Katrina."

Maybe. But it seems rather curious considering it's mainly inspectors down on the Gulf Coast, not the toxicologists and regulatory experts working on the standard.

OSHA had orgininally promised to issue a rule in 1997 after a lawsuit brought by Public Citizen. At that time, OSHA told the court it expected to produce a proposed rule by 1999, but by 2003 no progress had been made because OSHA said it had "other rulemaking priorities."

Considering that the agency's rulemaking has basically ground to a halt with the exception of this court-ordered standard, clearly the agency can't blame "other rulemaking priorities." I guess Katrina was the best thing they had at hand.

Of course, the court may not be convinced. Someone on OSHA's standards office wore a prison outfit to the agency's Halloween party -- perhaps as a reminder to Acting Assistant Secretary Snare that it's not nice to mess with federal court deadlines?

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

GUILTY! Successful Homicide Prosecution Against Company That Killed Two Workers

In Arizona, "A person commits negligent homicide if with criminal negligence such person causes the death of another person." "Criminal negligence" is defined as “gross negligence so extreme that it is punishable as a crime,” "aggravated assault" is committed if a person causes serious physical injury to another and “endangerment” is defined as “recklessly endangering another person with a substantial risk of imminent death or physical

Knowing these definitions, can anyone tell me why an employer who sends a worker to his death in an unmonitored confined space or an unprotected 12 foot deep trench shouldn't be prosecuted under any of the above felonies -- as opposed to the Occupational Safety and Health Act, where the maximum penalty for willfully killing a worker is a misdemeanor with a maximum of six months in jail?

Well, just prosecuting under the OSHAct certainly didn't make sense to the Arizona Attorney General's office. Prosecutors Christina Fitzpatrick and Mark Horlings last month convinced a jury to find the Far West Water and Sewer Company guilty on five of the six felony charges filed against it.
The jury....convicted the water and sewer company of negligent homicide, aggravated assault, violating a safety standard causing the death of an employee and two counts of endangerment in the deaths of James Gamble, 26, and Gary Lanser, 62, who were overcome by toxic sewage gases while working on an underground sewer tank on Oct. 24, 2001, in Mesa Del Sol.


Far West had been charged with two counts of manslaughter, one for each of the deaths, but the jury, composed of nine women and three men, found the company not guilty on both counts.

Each count of manslaughter the water and sewer company was facing carried with it a lesser included charge of negligent homicide. While jurors found Far West guilty of negligent homicide in Gamble’s death, the jury was unable to come back with a verdict for the negligent homicide charge in Lanser’s death.
Santec Corp. a subcontractor that employed Lanser, pleaded guilty last year to a felony charge of violating a safety standard causing the death of an employee. Under the plea agreement Santec was required to implement a safety program that complies OSHA confined space standards, pay $30,000 in restitution and will be inspected annually by Arizona OSHA.

This tragedy was unfortunately typical of confined space incidents, where one of the workers killed was the attempted rescuer and two other rescuers narrowly escaped death:

Gamble entered the tank to remove a plug that was blocking a line into the tank and died after being overwhelmed by hydrogen sulfide fumes when a pump that ran raw sewage into the tank from a different line was turned on.
Lanser went into the tank to try and save Gamble, he, too, was overcome. A third worker, [Nathan] Garrett, went down a ladder in the tank but didn’t make it all the way down. Forewoman Connie Charles went down the ladder after Garret and she, too, breathed the toxic gas and had to be rescued.
Garret has suffered permanent lung damage.

Enclosed areas or “confined spaces” in sewers and wastewater treatment plants (or anywhere where there is rotting organic material) are notorious for accumulations of hydrogen sulfide which can kill workers and their rescuers. Confined spaces can also develop life-threatening oxygen deficiencies and generate explosive methane gas. For this reason, OSHA has a detailed Confined Space standard which requires the air to be monitored, a means to safely rescue workers if they are overcome by fumes, and extensive training.

According to the prosecutors on the case, the violations were so blatant, and it was so obvious that the workers had no idea of the danger inherent in confined spaces, that a criminal prosecution was completely appropriate. The air in the tank had not been tested during the day of the incident, the workers weren’t properly trained and the required safety and rescue procedures weren’t followed. Unlike Santec, which admitted guilt prior to the trial, Far Western decided to fight the case, at one point arguing that the workers had mysteriously suffered simultaneous heart attacks. But the prosecution was strongly supported by Dr. Daniel Teitelbaum, a Denver toxicologist who has been a long-time fighter for workers' rights.

The AG’s office originally filed against both the company and its executives, although the judge separated the case into two trials. Far West president Brent Weidman will be tried for manslaughter, aggravated assault and endangerment in February.

Look back at the definitions at the beginning of this article, then consider that under the OSHAct, the penalty for causing the death of a worker by willfully violating safety laws is half the maximum for harassing a wild burro on federal lands. I'm very happy about the results of this case, and about the recent decision to charge Ken Formica, owner of Staten Island, New York-based Formica Construction, with manslaughter in the 2003 trenching death of a Mexican laborer. But these are only two cases.

As far as I'm concerned, every single trenching and confined space death should automatically be referred to state or local prosecutors for felony manslaughter and negligent homicide charges. I'm sick of waiting for Congress to increase OSHA penalties when all they seem interested in is weakening enforcement and making sure that the good companies don't have their feelings hurt by mean OSHA inspectors.

Carol Borieo, the mother of James Gamble, said she would like to see an example made of Far West because she is worried what happened to her son could happen again if the company isn't punished.

And in that spirit, here's our New Year's resolution: Familiarize yourselves with these cases. Download and print out the articles. And every time you see a trenching, confined space or other workplace fatality that any jury could see was preventable, contact the local media and the local prosecutor or state Attorney General and demand that felony charges be brought.

Advanced Management Strategies: Dealing With The Press After You've Killed Someone

Injured or killed anyone in the workplace lately?

Then you'll probably need some help with the press. Good news! For only $147, Eileen Wixted of is presenting a audioseminar called The Uninvited Guest: How to Deal With the Media After a Workplace Incident.

OK, I can see the benefit of learning to deal with the media, how to answer questions and all the nuts and bolts of dealing with reporters. It's the Eileen's "four-pronged message strategy techniques for crisis" that I find a bit, um disgusting:
  1. Showing your concern and why this can help you 'save face'
  2. Detailing how you have practiced 'due diligence' in this incident and proving that reasonable actions were taken
  3. How to demonstrate your cooperative attitude and how this benefits you
  4. Showing that you have a resolution
But what if your 'face' doesn't deserve saving because you 'forgot' to practice 'due diligence' or neglected to take 'reasonable actions?'

What about admitting that you screwed up? Or maybe apologizing to the injured and families of the dead? How about resolving to comply with safety standards and best practices.

Otherwise, save the money and just follow George Burns' old saying: "Sincerity is the key. If you can fake that, you've got it made."

Manufacturing Doubt On The Highways

I have to admit, after reading a couple of articles about new government regulations concerning how many hours truckers are allowed to work without rest, I'm totally confused.

But I don't think I should be.

New government regulations say that truck drivers can spend up to 11 hours a day behind the wheel before taking a break. Prior to 2003, the limit was 10 hours. The Bush adminstration recently revised some trucker rules, but the 11 hour limit remains. On the other hand, their total workday has been shortened from 15 to 14 hours and drivers are now required to rest for at least 10 hours in a row, eight of which must be in their sleeper berth.

So is all this good or bad?
Trucking company and government transportation officials contend the new rules strike a proper balance between the need to keep goods moving and the need to keep people on the road safe. Truck drivers can spend more time behind the wheel, but their rest is much more regulated than before.


Beth Bandy of Somerville, N.J., thinks truckers need more rest.

Her father, Bill Badger, died Dec. 23 when a tractor-trailer rear-ended his cherry red Chevrolet Cavalier, crumpling it, as he was on his way to catch a plane to see her. The driver, nearing the end of his shift, admitted falling asleep.

"We wanted to get together for Christmas and instead, we were making funeral arrangements," the 47-year-old former receptionist said, fighting back tears.

Bandy belongs to a group, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways, that is pressing the government to reduce truckers' driving time. They also want the government to scrap a provision allowing drivers to spend as much as 17 more hours on the road per week on top of the 60 hours they were allowed under the old rule.

"That is twice the time that most Americans work, and they have to be alert and able to drive that big truck so it doesn't destroy other people," said Joan Claybrook, president of Public Citizen, a non-profit consumer watchdog group that sued to toughen the 2003 rules. "The result is that drivers are pushed beyond their capacity ... causing horrific crashes."
Company owners think the new rules are great:
Adding an 11th hour doesn't necessarily mean driving an additional hour, said Dave Osiecki, vice president for safety, security and operations for the American Trucking Association.

"There's downtime for loading. There's downtime for unloading," he said. "A driver has to stop and go to the bathroom, (and) stop for fuel ... safety inspections."

A study by Virginia Tech found that drivers may be getting more sleep under the new rule -- almost six and a half hours a day.
Hello? 6 1/2 hour is a lot? This is more than they were getting before?

And I'm not entirely clear about this:
Cutting a trucker's driving time any further would make the roads less safe because more rigs would have to be deployed to deliver the same amount of freight, trucking companies argue.

"What you would do is actually increase the likelihood of large truck crashes," said Don Osterberg, who oversees driver training and safety at Schneider National, a Green Bay, Wis., trucking firm with nearly 16,000 drivers.
Now it gets really confusing:
The trucking association, citing federal research, says most deadly crashes involving large trucks happen in the first four hours of a shift, while only 4 percent occur after eight hours on the road.
OK, but then there's this:
The crash risk for truck drivers in the last hour of a now legal 11-hour day behind the wheel is more than three times higher than during the first hour, a Penn State research team has found.

For 60 years, federal rules limited truckers to driving 10 consecutive hours. However, in January 2004, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration raised the limit to 11 hours and reaffirmed the change in October this year.

Paul Jovanis, professor of civil engineering, faculty associate at the Pennsylvania Transportation Institute, and study leader, says, "Our analysis of data from three national trucking companies during normal operations in 2004 shows that the crash risk is statistically similar for the first six hours of driving and then increases in significant steps thereafter. The 11th hour has a crash risk more than three times the first hour."
Now, as I said back at the beginning, I'm confused, but I shouldn't be.

Why not?

Because I can't believe that with all the research going into astronauts' sleep requirements, and the fatigue factors of fighter pilots and other high performance jobs, that no one can figure out how long a trucker can drive safely. I mean, how long have people been driving trucks? The stakes are far too high for this stupid "he said, she said" bullshit.

Full Disclosure: My entire family came close to being obliterated eight years ago on the Interstate outside of Allentown, PA when we were rammed from behind by a trucker who had probably fallen asleep. My kids still have nighmares. I still get shivers.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Another One Of Those Workers Comp Cheaters....

This is a rare and unusual article. Unfortunately, it's not a rare or unusual story.
After an accident at work ripped his knee to shreds, Kendall Brown's life fell apart. And he fears there's nothing he can do to put it back together.

"I'm drowning. I'm one step away from the street," the Massapequa man said. "God forbid my wife lost her job."

It took a permanent disabling injury in 2004 for the husky trucker of 28 years to decide there is something wrong with the state's workers' compensation laws.

Under New York labor law, Brown, 47, cannot sue Master Mechanical Corp., the owner of which ordered Brown and three other workers to slide a 1,200-pound boiler into a basement stairwell, Brown said.

Brown said the company didn't prepare the crew to do the job. "We didn't have the proper equipment," he said.

Joel Shufro, head of the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health, said a state law passed in the early 1900s bars workers from suing their employers.

"The deal was that workers gave up their right to sue [in exchange] for prompt wage replacement and adequate medical coverage," Shufro said. "Unfortunately, the bargain has been broken here."


Two weeks ago, the doctor for Brown's insurance company met with him and determined "within five minutes" that his already meager disability income should be cut, Brown said. Now, Brown and his own doctor have to fight to get the payments back.

Brown earned about $3,500 per month before the injury. Now, he gets about $150 per week after $108 is deducted for child support.
Actually, every state has a workers comp law that prohibits employees from suing their employer, no matter how negligent the employer was. A few states have begun to make some very narrow exceptions to this rule, but the basic story is the same for injured workers: Chew 'em up, spit 'em out and forget about them.

Goodbye (and good riddance) To The Duke

It was a dark and stormy night, March 7, 2001....

Actually, it was only dark and stormy in my memory. On the evening of March 7, 2001, I was holed up in a small office in the US Capitol building watching CSPAN while the House of Representatives conducted a "debate" that spelled the final chapter in the short life of OSHA's ergonomics standard.

The entire specticle was revolting. The House scheduled only one hour of "debate" to trash ten years of work and the hopes of tens of thousands of American workers. Now, four and a half years later, only a few "highlights" stand out in my mind. One was the speech by Randy "Duke" Cunningham, who resigned today from the US. House of Represenatives after confessing to evading taxes and conspiring to pocket $2.4 million in bribes, including a Rolls-Royce, a yacht and a 19th-century Louis-Philippe commode.

Cunningham's speech during the ergonomics "debate" was one of those all too common moments when, while listening to a Congressman or Senator speak, you slap yourself on the head and wonder "How the hell did that guy ever get elected to Congress?"

Mr. NORWOOD. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from California (Mr. CUNNINGHAM), my friend.

Mr. CUNNINGHAM. Mr. Speaker, in California we have an energy crisis. We have several small businesses going out just because of the costs of energy. We have restaurants that are on a very narrow margin. Those people employ workers.

My colleagues that are opposed to this are generally from a liberal philosophy of government control. If we fall out of line like the blacklisting that the union, the Clinton-Gore administration, put out last year*, then we can control you. We can control your private profit. We can control education. We can control your business. If you do not comply, yes, we will send in the IRS or OSHA or EPA, and what we are saying is that, yes, that my colleagues would make people think that we do not want workplace safety, we are for the evil business. That is just not true.

We support the working families, and we want to give them tax relief, but my opponents, I would guarantee that over 90 percent of them that are opposed to this do not want tax relief, and they did not want the balanced budget and they did not want welfare reform, because they want government control.
* Cunningham is referring to the federal contractor responsibility rule issued by the Clinton administration in December 2000 that required federal contractors to comply with federal public health, safety, environmental and anti-discrimination laws in order to be eligible for government contracts. The regulation became effective on January 19, 2001, but was later repealed by the Bush administration.

New NYCOSH Update

The new NYCOSH UPDATE ON SAFETY HEALTH has been published (and it's a hell of a lot more valuable than those worthless OSHA Quicktakes).

The Contents

Worker Safety Takes a Back Seat in the Gulf Coast: Federal Agencies Offer Advice that is Either Useless or Wrong

Disputed $125 Million Aid for Injured Responders Restored to the Federal Budget, Again

Proposed Cutback In Community Right-to-Know Reporting Widely Opposed

New York City Workplace Fatalities Increase in 2004

Contractor Faces 15 Years in Prison for Fatal Trench Cave-In

AFL-CIO Launches New Research Tool Linking OSHA Records to Other Federal Agency Information

Sunday, November 27, 2005

The Survivors of BP

We've written so often about the March 23 explosion at BP Amoco's Texas City refinery that the numbers 15 and 170 -- killed and injured -- are seared in my brain.

One tends to dwell on the deaths, and think of the injured as the "lucky ones." In a sense, they were, but as the Houston Chronicle reports, many "remain nonetheless trapped by physical and emotional debris that may never be lifted."
Some lost limbs or the ability to have children or the chance of ever walking normally again.

Some were severely burned on the outside of their bodies, others literally on the inside.

Some have years, if not lifetimes, of physical therapy ahead.

Some can't sleep, remain deeply depressed or need medication to function normally.

Some blame BP for their injuries. Some don't. Many are just trying to move on.

"You can't keep looking at all the bad," said Alisa Dean, 32, who not only lost her father in the blast but also suffered severe burns and other injuries that kept her hospitalized for four months. "Because all you are going to do is be depressed."
And then there are those who are entering their first holiday season without the loved ones that they said goodbye to on the morning of March 23.

Linda Hunnings is spending her first anniversary in 30 years without her husband Jim, who was killed in the explosion:
“He was a wonderful man,” she said. “He is really going to be missed during the holidays.

“It is not easy going each day without him — it really isn’t. Jim Hunnings was a blessing. A godsend. He was everything that was good.”

For Linda, this holiday season is another in a series of steps she knows she has to take to get by. She admits she is at times angry.

“I hurt,” she said. “I hurt a lot. It is really, really painful. There is a big void in my life.

“There are times when I get angry. I get angry with BP, angry with God, angry with Jim. I guess that’s all a part of the process you have to go through.

More BP explosion stories here.

Burying the Evidence -- And The Workers

A new report by Hazards, the TUC-backed health and safety magazine, concludes that the there are two to four times as many work-related cancers in the United Kingdom than had been previously estimated. The report, called Burying the Evidence, suggests that 12,000 and 24,000 workers die each year in the United Kingdom from cancers they contracted from on-the-job exposures to such carcinogens as asbestos, benzine, coal tar, second-hand cigarette smoke and other chemicals.

The report criticizes the famous Doll-Peto study, conducted in the 1980's that estimated that only 4% of all cancers were caused by work-related exposures with the vast majority caused by "lifestyle issues" such as smoking and obesity. the end result of such as serious understatement was less attention paid to workplace exposures, and less focus on restricting workers' exposure to cancer causing substances.
This was good news for some, but a death sentence for others. “The companies were ecstatic when Doll/Peto came out, because it posed the whole thing politically as a lifestyle issue,” Stirling University occupational cancer authority Dr Jim Brophy (right) told Hazards. “That had consequences for prevention, in that it effectively ended any chance of a structured and well resourced strategy to combat occupational cancer.”
Some of the many problems with the Doll/Peto study was their failure to
  • count any cancer deaths in persons above the age of 65 (despite the long latency period of most cancers, combined with peoples' longer life expectency),
  • take into account cancers by women or African Americans
  • to designate certain common cancers -- such as melanoma and breast cancer -- was work-related
  • To take into account that the risk of getting cancer is often intensified by the interaction of several different exposures. For example, exposure to smoking and asbestos exposure greatly magnifies the chances of getting cancer beyond exposure to each substance alone.
In addition, the Doll/Peto study only included 16 substances or industries thought to be carcinogenic to humans, a small fraction the true number.

Burying the Evidence focuses on cancer in the UK, but the same figures can be applied to the 570,000 cancers deaths each year in the United States. According to Doll/Peto, "only" about 22,800 of those deaths are caused by occupationally related cancer. But using the estimates in Burying The Evidence, the number of workplace cancer-related deaths in the United States may be more like 45,000 - 90,000.

The report also contains a number of recommendations for the workplace, as well as for national policies.

Two Internal BP Report Highly Critical of Company's Safety Practices

Government agencies and industry always like to announce unpopular news on Friday afternoon so that it will be buried in the weekend papers. Even better for releasing unpleasant news than a typical Friday is the day before a national holiday, which the news media calls "Take Out the Trash Day."

BP chose to take out its trash on the day before Thanksgiving, releasing the "Stanley Report," and audit of BP safety procedures conducted by former OSHA Deputy Assistant Secretary Jim Stanley, as well as the Telos Report, survey of employees conducted two months before the March 23 explosion. BP had witheld the two reports since June as "confidential." They were released only after the Houston Chronicle and the Galveston County Daily News sought a court order to release them on the grounds of public safety.

According to the Chronicle, a close inspection of hundreds of comments in the Telos survey
shows a consistent pattern of worker concern about safety at the plant.

Many were highly critical of not only the priority that output was given over safety, but also the condition of the refinery.

"Employees often feel pressured to bend the safety rules, but often it is just the consequence of how we push production," one wrote.

Added another: "Fixing something without having a shutdown is what gets rewarded; we get rewarded to keep the unit running."

Many workers said they often witnessed unsafe acts or conditions.

"Our deferred maintenance over the years is now hurting us," one worker wrote when asked about workplace conditions. "Our processes have now changed. We now have much higher corrosion."

Many others reported thinning pipes, a condition that can lead to fires and explosions.

"The pipe thinning issue is my biggest worry," one worker wrote. "I am not sure we know the extent of it or the nature of the risk."

Several others agreed. "Pipe thinning worries me the most," another wrote. "Its failure could be catastrophic with little warning."

And yet another wrote: "The potential for major hazards is unacceptably high. We need to look with metallurgists and do a complete assessment of this site."
The Stanley Report, meanwhile, criticized BP management
for allowing workers and mid-level managers and supervisors to get away with not following proper procedures and safety protocols within the refinery.

That failure, according to the report resulted in “a tolerance for noncompliance with those processes and procedures.”

The audit team also found that BP management failed to learn from previous incidents, audits and peer reviews. That led to “complacency towards serious process safety risks, driven by a lack of awareness of potential consequences,” the report reads. “The lack of awareness of risk is also reflected in day-to-day operational activity.”

Despite the March 23 explosions, the audit also found that supervisors and employees within the refinery still do not consistently follow Control of Work processes. Control of Work is the method of how procedures within the various units are supposed to be handled. But even those methods were questioned.

“The existing Control of Work process does not provide adequate assurance that risks are being effectively managed,” the report states.

The audit also found workplace conditions within the refinery to be below par. It noted that areas of the refinery did not appear to be well maintained and the work environment in some control rooms were inadequate to allow operators to have a full focus on unit control.
The Galveston Daily News has made both reports available here.

More BP stories here.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Peddle Your Wares Here

I'm apparently sitting on a gold mine.
Businesses have noticed the growing readership and influence of these Internet postings and are spending $50 million to $100 million this year on blog advertising and marketing, said Charlene Li, an analyst at Forrester Research, a company that looks at the impact of technology on business and consumers. Recognizing that blogs have become more mainstream, companies are paying for advertisements or mentions on blogs, courting blog writers with public relations efforts and inviting writers to come blog on one of their corporate sites.

The blogosphere, companies said, is an important place to have a presence, and blog writers are not shying away from the attention.
Here I am. Lookin' for a bit of attention. Not a bit shy. This way.

But seriously folks. How would you feel about a bit of advertising on Confined Space? Google-type context driven ads? Lefty political blog ads? Would they undermine my integrity? Do I have any integity to be undermined?

Friday, November 25, 2005

Take four bulldozers and put them on your chest. Then put an elephant on top of those bulldozers.

That's how Gerald Morgan describes trying to breathe with lungs irreversably damaged by popcorn butter flavoring chemical, diacetyl. Morgan requires 24-hour breathing assistance:
"I’ve got oxygen tubes stuffed up my nose all the time," said Morgan, 56. "You don’t get enough oxygen to do anything.

"I hardly leave my house anymore."
Settlements have now been reached in the 57 lawsuits filed by former workers of the Glister-Mary Lee popcorn plant against th maker of diacetyl, International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. Fifty four cases were settled and four cases involving seven plaintiffs resulted in jury verdicts totaling nearly $53 million.

The trials had shown that International Flavors and Fragrances and Bush Boake Allen, the manufacturers of the diacetyl had known that their butter flavoring was hazardous, but failed to warn the workers at the plant where the chemical was used of the dangers or provide adequate safety instructions.

The workers' lawyers introduced testimony showing that tests done as far back as 1993 indicated that diacetyl could cause severe lung damage and, they noted, workers at the factory that made the chemical wore respirators, unlike the workers at the popcorn plant who had insufficient warning of the dangers of the chemical. The Material Safety Data Sheet given to the popcorn factory had contained the phrases "no known health hazards" and "respiratory protection is not normally required."

This brings to an end the lawsuits against IFF, but it's only one small chapter in the stuggle of American workers' for the right to work safely with chemicals. Battles are still to be fought against industry-led "tort reform" campaigns that would weaken the ability of workers and consumers to sue the manufacturers of harmful products. There are battles to be fought against those who are trying to "manufacture doubt" in the little science we have that attempts to identify harmful chemicals before they sicken and kill workers. And there are battles being fought in Europe (battles that will hopefully be fought and won here, at home) about whether government regulators should continue to consider toxic chemicals to be innocent until proven guilty.

And without the possibility of lawsuits or a significant change in the chemical approval and regulatory practice, what are workers left with? A paltry workers comp payment and an apology from the manufacturer? In the case of diacetyl, we didn't even get the apology. Instead, we just get statements from IFF that "Our product is safe when used as directed (you stupid workers who obviously didn't use as directed)"

Even winning lawsuits and settlements are poor consolation for a man's lungs. As Morgan said, regarding the settlement: “I’d rather have my health back.”

More on popcorn lung here.

"I'm surprised more people weren't killed,"

Senator Mike Enzi, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education and Labor, thinks that OSHA's wings need to be clipped because "most employers are concerned for the welfare of their employees and are fully prepared to comply with laws aimed at enhancing their safety on the job."

The Tiberti Construction Company must be one of those that isn't:
A man who worked on the Southcoast project earlier this year, but no longer does, says the construction company didn't enforce on the job safety. A worker fell to his death at the Southcoast site on Tuesday. It's the second death at the construction site in the last two months.

Construction progressed as usual at Southcoast site on Wednesday except for one small difference. The Tiberti Construction Company gave their workers the option of leaving for the rest of the day without penalty. All of the iron workers there decided not to work Wednesday out of respect for the iron worker who died after falling there Tuesday.

Eyewitness News has learned the name of the ironworker killed. He is 32-year-old Richard Reid. While his death has been ruled accidental, we do know a toxicology report is also being conducted.

One former worker, who did not want to be identified, says this project has a number of safety issues, which is why is he left. "I wasn't surprised at all. Actually, I'm surprised more people weren't killed," he said.

This former construction worker says he was hurt while working on the Southcoast Casino in May because safety rules were not being followed. He told Eyewitness News that essentially workers safety is out the door because it's all about getting the job completed on time. "Contractors get high-dollar jobs and if they prove that they did the last one on a fast-track their gonna get the next one on a fast-track."
Oops, uh, Senator Enzi, here's another one:
For the third time in five weeks, Fraser Paper Inc. has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and faces more fines totaling $115,000.

On Oct. 14, Fraser was cited for failing to record 65 injuries within seven days of their occurrence in the period between March 2002 and February 2005. The company was fined $55,000.

On Oct. 17, the company was fined $90,500 for five willful and serious violations after the April 20 death of Marc Baron. Baron fell to his death while working atop a huge tank.

Last Friday, the U.S. Department of Labor's New England OSHA office cited Fraser for failing to record 65 injuries and illnesses that occurred at the company's Madawaska mill and fined the company $170,000.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Nursing As a Reality Show? Whose Reality?

Ahh, the life of a nurse. The rewards of being able to help people and being appreciated by sick and disabled patients, the knowledge that you're doing one of the most difficult jobs there is. That, combined with high rates of back injuries, exposure to communicable diseases, toxic drugs and chemicals, mandatory overtime, and a birds-eye view of declining health care quality for those who can't afford the best.

Sounds like the basis for an internet-based reality show? You bet! Someone has already thought of it and is looking for "real nurses" to cast the show.

But I'm not sure exactly how many "real" nurses can relate to the "reality" being portrayed:
An Internet-based reality show about nurses made its debut Wednesday in a bid to improve the image of the profession and attract more nurses to California.

The show, "13 Weeks," started Webcasts on . It follows six nurses recruited from across the nation as they live in a rented $10 million mansion, go surfing and sky diving in their spare time and work in hospitals in Orange County -- home of MTV's reality show "Laguna Beach" and the hit Fox TV drama "The O.C."

Sounds good to me. Where do I sign up?

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

When The Slaughter Resumes…

Sometimes corporate spokespersons speak the truth without being aware of how true their words are:
OTTUMWA (AP) --- Some production areas of a meatpacking plant, where a man died in an accident last week remained shut down as investigators
continued to look into the cause.

Paul McCrory, 41, died Wednesday in an accident at the Cargill Meat Solutions plant, a pork processing plant. Authorities said he was trapped for about 40 minutes when a rail on a conveyor system collapsed. He was taken to Ottumwa Regional Health Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Cargill spokesman Mark Klein …. said he could not offer an estimate of when the slaughter operation would resume.
Indeed. Does it ever end?

Laughing About Lung Disease

Now, some may take exception to this article from The Onion, feeling it isn’t appropriate to find humor in work-related respiratory disease; that being unable to take in a full breath isn’t funny, that you shouldn’t laugh at the idea of people coughing up their lungs. And although as an asthma sufferer I have some sympathy for that opinion, I just have one thing to say: LIGHTEN UP DUDE. TAKE A CHILL PILL.

For is it not human to find humor in tragedy? (On the other hand, this could just be an artifact of my Semitic heritage)

I actually enjoyed the humor, but more interesting is the fact that the author had clearly done his homework on the biology and politics of work-related respiratory disease.
Cases Of Glitter Lung On The Rise Among Elementary-School Art Teachers

CHICAGO—The Occupational Safety And Health Administration released figures Monday indicating that record numbers of elementary-school art teachers are falling victim to pneumosparklyosis, commonly known as glitter lung.

Dr. Linda Norr scans a sufferer who spent more than two decades in the classrooms.
Nearly 8,000 cases were reported in 2004, the most recent year for which statistics are available. This is the highest number since the arts-and-crafts industry was
deregulated in 1988.

Characterized by a lack of creative energy and shortness of breath, and accompanied by sneezing or coughing up flakes of twinkly, reflective matter, glitter lung typically strikes teachers between the ages of 29 to 60 who spend 20 hours per week in an art-class setting during the school year.

"When art teachers spend so much time in confined quarters with inadequate ventilation amid swirling clouds of glitter, it's only a matter of time before their lungs start to suffer negative effects," said Dr. Linda Norr, a specialist in elementary-school-related respiratory diseases. "Those sufferers who are not put on a rigorous program of treatment often spend their last days on respirators, hacking up a thick, dazzling mucus."

As incidences of glitter lung continue to rise, critics are accusing public schools
of not doing enough to protect art teachers.


"Most art teachers are afraid to come forward, for fear of losing their jobs," Winfield said. "At an absolute minimum, an art teacher should be equipped with a respirator, thick goggles, and a reflective-field smock. But schools don't want to stand up to Big Glitter, which continues to insist that this stuff is safe. Schools end up falsifying the safety reports and hoping they get away with it. And they usually do."

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Enzi Releases Turkeys Into Senate

Well he's gone and done it.

Despite a thorough trashing in Confined Space last week, Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) has introduced his OSHA Deform legislation: S. 2065 -- the Occupational Safety Partnership Act, S. 2066 -- the Occupational Safety Fairness Act, and S. 2067 -- the HazCom Simplification and Modernization Act of 2005.

As might be imagined, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM)praised Enzi's bills, for allegedly implementing "voluntary, solutions-oriented workplace safety initiatives rather than enforcing unrealistic standards that impose undue burdens on small companies."

They are, of course, full of crap.

In a rather ominous statement, NAM President John Engler "These bills are a good first step in bringing effectiveness and fairness to the OSH Act." A good first step? What else do these jokers have planned?

The AFL-CIO is preparing to mount a major campaign against the bills.

As I described last week, Enzi's "Partnership" bill (S. 2065) promotes partnering between OSHA and industry by promoting unproven voluntary programs and allowing companies to self-certify compliance through audits by third parties. But unlike Enzi's previous "partnership" bills, this one does not even require employers to set up a comprehensive safety and health program. And, as I mentioned before, in order to buy more business contributions support, it eliminates the provision in the earlier Enzi bill to make criminal penalties a felony instead of a simple misdemeanor, which they are under the current law.

The "Fairness" bill (S. 2066) unfairly penalizes workers by rolling back and weakening OSHA enforcement. It makes it virtually impossible for OSHA to cite employers, allows OSHA to penalize employees adopts Charlie Norwood's small business "relief" bills passed in the House last summer.

The HazCom bill (S. 2067) starts the process of bringing the U.S. up to international chemical Right-to Know standards by setting up a commission to examination the adoption of a globally harmonized hazard identification and communication system. It has widespread support.

Enzi, who clearly doesn't read Confined Space, justified the bills, saying that
Cooperation, not confrontation is essential in making our workplaces safer. The notion that employers care little about worker safety, or are prepared to sacrifice worker health in the pursuit of profit is a dangerous myth.

In fact, most employers are concerned for the welfare of their employees and are fully prepared to comply with laws aimed at enhancing their safety on the job. This package of bill will provide employers new opportunities to protect their important assets—hard working employees.
Yadda, yadda, yadda.

OK, Senator, so most employers are concerned about the welfare of their important assets. Maybe that's true, but what about the other ones, the ones who are, in fact, prepared to sacrifice worker health in the pursuit of profit. They will also be the beneficiaries of your version of "partnership" and "fairness."

In fact, they're already getting away with murder. How will these bills make it better? Particularly since you've even dropped the only crumb -- making criminal penalties a felony -- that would have made it easier to punish them.

What a turkey.

Happy Thanksgiving.


Monday, November 21, 2005

The Plot Thickens Over Deaths At Valero Refinery

There seems to be some dispute between Valero management and workers at the refinery over the reason that two workers, John Ferguson and John Lattanzi, died of nitrogen asphyxiation two weeks ago. As far as investigators know now, Ferguson may have tumbled into a tank while using wire in an attempt to fish out a dropped roll of tape; Lattanzi may have climbed in afterward in an attempt to help. The workers had been installing an elbow on top of the tank which had recently been purged using nitrogen gas.

The company claims that the workers had been warned of the gas and instructed not to open the tank. A co-worker disagrees:
There was no warning and no reason to suspect the presence of deadly nitrogen gas in a tank where two men died this month, a former supervising contractor at Valero has told federal investigators.

Missouri resident William Pyatt is disputing company accounts of the work environment on the night John Lattanzi and John Ferguson died at the refinery near Delaware City.

In a telephone interview with The News Journal, Pyatt said he was unaware of any nitrogen risk at the work area and questioned a company claim that the two men had received verbal instructions barring them from opening the tank where their bodies were later found.

"Those guys know the status when they're told the status. It's written on the permit," said Pyatt, a contractor who was supervising several activities at the refinery on Nov. 5, the night Lattanzi, of New Jersey, and Ferguson, of Springfield, Md., died in a reactor tank.

"There was no barricade. There was free access, and that's definitely not typical in that situation," said Pyatt, who said he was too shaken by the accident to remain on the job in Delaware.


A copy of the permit signed by both men described their task simply as "Install Top Elbow" pipe, and listed nitrogen gas risks as N/A, or not applicable.
The US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board is investigating the incident. Board investigator Steve Wallace noted that there had been at least one similar close call in the recent past.
Stephen Wallace, lead investigator for the board's investigation in Delaware, said he was seeking additional details about an incident in November 2004 involving a carpenter assigned to scaffolding work near the plastic-covered opening of a tank filled with nitrogen gas.

Another worker who was supplying the nitrogen gas from a truck spotted the carpenter and sounded an alarm that brought the employee out of danger.

"We're looking at all the near-miss reports. We're currently in the process of gathering information. That's about all I can say at this point," Wallace said.
The Board has published a bulletin warning of the hazards of nitrogen asphyxiation stemming from a 1998 incident at a Union Carbide plant that killed one worker and seriously injured another.

These deaths ocurred at the same plant, then owned by Motiva, where a worker was killed when a tank of sulphuric acid exploded. That incident was also investigated by the Chemical Safety Board.

NY City Board Of Ed Fails To Protect Workers From Hepatitis

More than fifteen years after OSHA's bloodborne pathogens standard was issued to protect workers against contracting bloodborne diseases like AIDS and hepatitis B and C, some employers still haven't gotten the idea.
United Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten accused the [New York City] Department of Education on Nov. 15 of ignoring federal law requiring it to protect educators at risk of exposure to life-threatening pathogens in blood or bodily fluid.

Weingarten introduced Queens paraprofessional Lori Baron who contracted the potentially deadly Hepatitis C virus while working with special education children.

“Lori is sick because of the neglect and indifference of the Department of Education,” Weingarten told reporters at a crowded news conference outside the Tweed Courthouse. “Educators are not being adequately trained. They are not being routinely offered the Hepatitis B vaccine.”

Weingarten contended that the Department of Education is flouting the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act and New York State guidelines that require employers, like hospitals and schools, to provide training and protective clothing, such as latex gloves, to workers at risk of being exposed to blood in the course of their duties. These workers are also supposed to get a vaccination for Hepatitis B, she said.

“The Board of Education routinely ignores these standards,” Weingarten said. “As a result, both staff, and in some instances children, have gotten sick.”

As many as 128 UFT members in schools have been exposed to blood-borne pathogens through scratches or bites, Weingarten said.

The union filed its first major complaint 10 years ago with the state Labor Department about the DOE’s lack of compliance with federal standards. After conducting investigations at several special education sites, the state has issued 13 citations against the DOE and levied fines totaling more than $50,000. The DOE is currently being fined $1,280 a week for failing to improve conditions at Beach Channel HS, where Baron works.
Hepatitis C is a particularly virulent, often fatal, type of hepatitis that can often lead to the need for a liver transplant.

As usual, the employer says it is doing all it can, but the workers and the state don't agree say that all is not what it seems. The Department of Education won't even give Baron workers comp:
After Barron’s diagnosis, the Public Employee Safety and Health Bureau conducted an investigation and found her school guilty of 14 violations, for which the Board of Education was fined tens of thousands of dollars.

The board asserts that it has practices in place, such as the use of gloves that should protect employees, but Baron claimed, “We were told directly that there were not enough gloves, so please use them sparingly. Or, we were told not to use them at all, because they make the children feel bad.”

Lou Heller, the chief attorney representing Baron’s case, said that his client is simply demanding that the Board of Education admit its negligence and take the necessary steps to right the situation.

“Correct the problem. Workers’ compensation doesn’t cure Hepatitis C,” said Heller.

View From The Shop Floor

I cross-post some articles on Labor Blog. This is a comment from the article I wrote last week about OSHA Deform legislation being introduced by Utah Republican Senator Mike Enzi. People who think that the best way for OSHA to protect workers' health and safety is form Alliances should read this:
This is pretty disturbing news. The last time I worked at a manufacturing plant I was designing punches and safety equipment for the punching machines themselves.

The reason the company wanted safety equipment installed, and the only reason, was that OSHA inspectors had told them they needed to do it or else.

One day one of the punch machine operators lost several fingers while using the machine due to an on and off switch that was so worn out that it was defective. When I saw the switch you could put it in any position and it might be on, and it might be off, there was absolutely no way of knowing by looking at it.

I told my supervisor that it looked like negligence and I was out the door within a week. The operator was a poor Mexican and from what I heard from my friends that still worked there was that the company hushed the whole thing up by paying off the worker with a ridiculously low sum.

Frankly I did not give a damn about losing my job once I realized what kind of scum I was working for. But I sure feel sorry for the guy that lost his fingers, those won’t grow back again.

Rob Payne

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Weekly Toll

A partial list of American workers killed on the job over the past two weeks.

Man crushed together by road grader

ALTON, N.H. --Authorities are investigating the death of a Brentwood man who was crushed by a road grader he had been driving.

Nathan Sims, 29, was working on a private driveway in Alton on Friday when he either fell or tried to jump from the grader. The vehicle then rolled over him into a ditch.

Alton police and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration are looking into whether the accident was caused by operator error or mechanical failure.

Lowell man dies from fall at Ayer plant

Lowell, MA - Fidel Mbony, 38, of 1301 Middlesex St., a maintenance worker at the Copeland Drive CPF Inc. plant, fell on Monday afternoon while he was trying to free something from a machine, police said. He struck his head when landing on the concrete floor and was transported to UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester by helicopter, according to police.

OSHA records show that CPF has been investigated at least three times since the 1980s, according to Chavez. All three investigations found serious violations, for which the company was fined $1,215, $1,750 and $2,275, respectively.

OSHA eyes mulcher fatality

BELCHERTOWN, MA - Officials from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration are scrutinizing the work-related accident that led to the death of Matthew P. Kosloski, 23, of Palmer. Kosloski, who lived in the Thorndike section of Palmer, died Tuesday afternoon at a work site on Warren Wright Road in Belchertown, after he apparently got caught in a landscaping machine that used an auger to churn mulch.

Kosloski worked for the Taylor Davis Landscaping Company of Amherst for the past eight months, said Kosloski's fiancee, Crystal P. Bleau, 23, of Palmer.

Bleau said officials and others at the scene told her Kosloski was apparently trying to unclog something blocking the machine when he slipped and fell into it.

Highway Worker Falls From Aerial Bucket, Dies

NORTH EAST, Md. -- A State Highway Administration employee working on an overhead sign at an intersection in Cecil County died Thursday after falling from the aerial bucket of his truck. According to state police, Mickael Locklear fell at about 12:30 p.m. Wednesday at the intersection of Maryland routes 272 and 273 in North East.

He fell about 20 feet and hit his head while working at an intersection in Calvert around noon Wednesday, police said.

Authorities said Locklear fell after a gust of wind blew him into the sign, entangling him in the sign and a traffic signal.

Locklear was not wearing a mandatory safety harness at the time of the accident, Buck and police said.

Department mourns death of firefighter

Joplin, MO -- Timmy Shane Hardy, 32, an 11-year-veteran of the Neosho Fire Department and the father of two children and stepfather of four more, apparently was killed when his equipment became tangled in a conveyor-belt support structure that he was using to carry him to the top of a bin at the Ragland Mills feed plant west of Neosho.

M'boro officer dies after motorcycle crash

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - A Murfreesboro police motorcycle officer died early Wednesday after a traffic accident. Officer Kay Rogers died just after 4 a.m. at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said hospital spokesman Jerry Jones. Rogers, who was in her fourth year with the department, collided with another vehicle Tuesday evening.

Worker Killed in Trench Collapse

Philidelphia, PA- November 8, 2005 - New Castle County police say a contractor repairing a septic system (John Jones Jr., of New Castle) died today when a trench collapsed, leaving him trapped beneath more than one thousand pounds of dirt. New Castle County police spokesman Corporal Trinidad Navarro says the 32-year-old New Castle resident was working in the nine-foot-deep, three-foot-wide trench shortly before noon when it collapsed for unknown reasons. The man has not been identified.

Fla. Construction Worker Dies After 8-Foot Fall

Orlando, FL- A 44-year-old construction worker died Wednesday after falling 8 feet off a ladder while working on the new north annex for Holmes Regio! nal Medical Center in Melbourne, according to Local 6 News partenr Florida Today. The accident happened about 7:56 a.m. at the construction site at 450 East Sheridan Road. The worker was identified as Chris Monochein of Melbourne.

Fall kills rig worker

Moab, Utah - drill rig worker was killed in a fall off a derrick Monday near Battlement Mesa. Larry D. Hill, 42, of Moab, Utah, was pronounced dead at the scene Monday, Garfield County Coroner Trey Holt said.

"He was trying to fix something on the rig," Holt said. "He wasn't tied off."

Hill fell 75 to 80 feet off the rig, Holt said.

Rig workers are required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to wear safety belts, said Herb Gibson, Denver area director. "We do require fall protection when people are working at heights," he said.

Operations resuming at iron ore mine where worker died

RICHMOND TOWNSHIP, Mich. - Operations are resuming at the Upper Peninsula iron-ore mine where a worker was killed over the weekend. Chad Weston of Ishpeming died Sunday when he became caught in some equipment at ! the Empire Mine. The 28-year-old was the first worker to die at the mine in more than six years.

Explosion at North Carolina asphalt plant kills one

KINGS MOUNTAIN, N.C. - A small explosion at an asphalt plant killed one person Thursday, authorities said. The victim was believed to be an employee, authorities said. No one else was hurt, they said. The explosion happened at about 7 a.m. at Rea Contracting Asphalt Plant here, about 30 miles west of Charlotte, county officials said. The blast did not create any fire or heat, said Police Capt. Derek Johnson, who arrived at the plant shortly afterward.

Danville police officer killed in the line of duty

Roanoke, VA- Officer Courtney Dickerson is the first Danville Police Department Officer to be killed in the line of duty in 84 years.

Dickerson was driving around a curve on Halifax Road on his way to an alarm call, when he skidded off the road and ran over the curb. He hit a telephone pole, shot up a small bank, and sailed roughly 50 feet, his cruiser bouncing off the ground, and slamming into the steps of Pleasant View Baptist Church.

Dunlap farmer killed in tractor-semi crash

Dunlap, MO -- Richard C. Grote, 72, Dunlap area farmer was killed the afternoon of Oct. 20 when a semi-tractor trailer passing his John Deere tractor on Highway 30, struck it. Iowa State Patrol Dist. 4's report said Grote was eastbound on Highway 30 approximately one mile east of Dunlap and attempting to turn left into his driveway at the same time that a semi, driven by John Miner, 62, Emerson, attempted to pass him. Both vehicles left the road and went into a ditch. The patrol did not have information as to whether Grote's turn indicator was on.

Worker Run Over By Garbage Truck, Killed

PITTSBURGH, PA -- Police said a garbage truck ran over a city of Pittsburgh refuse worker in Carrick around 10 a.m. Monday. According to police, three male refuse workers were on the job, with two of the men acting as spotters. 44-year-old Eugene Sunseri, of Carrick, was riding on the back of a waste removal vehicle in the 200 block of Stewart Avenue, when he apparently fell off the vehicle and was run over, police said.

Man Jailed in Slaying of Social Worker

Kitsap, WA - Police say Friday night's fatal stabbing was Poulsbo's first murder in 18 years. A man with a criminal history reportedly stabbed to death a Kitsap Mental Health employee Friday night when the case worker went to his home to evaluate him. The suspect, Larry William Clark, 33, was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder soon after the crime at his home in the Viking's Crest condominium complex. Clark is being held in Kitsap County Jail on $2 million bail. The victim, 46-year-old Marty Smith, was evaluating Clark for possible commitment when the attack occurred.

Wilma relief worker accidentally shot and killed by boss

Fort Lauderdale, FL - An Arkansas man who traveled to South Florida with his company to assist with Hurricane Wilma recovery was accidentally shot and killed by his employer behind a McDonalds in Lauderdale Lakes. The shooting occurred 1:50 a.m. Saturday at the McDonalds at 4400 North State Road 7, according to Broward Sheriff's Office homicide detectives. The man, Brian Bouzigard, 28, worked for Mojo Recovery Inc., a private relief and recovery contractor based in Malbern, Arkansas. He, three female co-workers and their boss, Jonathan Hearle, 43, also of Arkansas, drove to Florida, arriving in Lauderdale Lakes Saturday night. They were scheduled to drive to Homestead Sunday morning.

Worker Crushed To Death At Construction Site

DEERFIELD TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- A 22-year-old construction worker died after he was crushed while building a CVS pharmacy at about noon Monday, officials said. Christopher L. Pruitt, of Trenton, Ohio, was working for H&G Erectors near the intersection of Montgomery and Columbia Roads when he was smashed between a mobile crane and a stabilizing arm. He was rushed to Bethesda North Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Warren County Sheriff's Office are investigating the accident


Pocatello, ID - A sad update to a story we first told you about yesterday - the man critically burned in a farming accident has died. Staff at the University of Utah Hospital tell us that this morning, 68-year-old Jack Waddell died from his injuries. The Madison County Sheriff's Office and emergency responders were called to his farm near Archer Tuesday morning. Waddell was using a cutting torch to cut up an old piece of farm equipment for scrap metal when he hit the gas tank and it exploded. The blast sent Waddell - on fire - over a fence and into a corral. He suffered serious burns and was flown to the Utah Burn Center, where he died.

At least 3 killed when cement truck rear-ends landscaping van

HOUSTON, TX - Carnage at a northwest Houston intersection today. At least three people were killed today when a cement truck slammed into the rear of a van on State Highway 249 at Gessner, next to Willowcreek Mall. Investigators say the 15-passenger van was carrying at least seven landscape workers. Witnesses say some of the van's occupants were ejected on impact, while some others remain trapped inside. No clear word yet on how many were injured in the collision and what their conditions are.

Truck ramp crushes, kills driver

EAST DUNDEE, IL — A 34-year-old Arizona truck driver with a young son was trapped Tuesday by a heavy metal ramp as he worked inside his semitrailer and was slowly crushed to death. Police and fire officials believe Danny Joe Pennington, of Payson, Ariz., lay dead inside the truck for at least two hours after the accident before he was found.

Accident at LP fatal for county man, 49

Roxboro, NC - Allen Keith Whitfield of Hurdle Mills, who recently gave up farming to take a job with his brother-in-law’s welding firm, died suddenly Monday in an accident at Louisiana Pacific’s Roxboro plant. Details of the accident remained sketchy Tuesday pending further investigation by authorities, but Whitfield, an employee of Olive Hill Welding, was installing a catwalk above a plant conveyor, according to Person County Sheriff’s Department Captain Mike Clayton. While welding on the catwalk, said Clayton, the conveyor belt below it “cut on and caught him (Whitfield) in it.”

Safety glass mishap kills Dodge Arena employee

HIDALGO, TX — A work-related accident at Dodge Arena cost an employee his life Monday evening. Florentino Quintanilla, 41, of Hidalgo, died after some heavy-duty glass panels removed from the hockey rink’s dasher boards fell on him about 8:45 p.m., according to Lou Rivera III, the acting general manager of the city-owned events venue. (More here.)

Manager found dead inside store

Bonner Springs, MO - A manager at the Dollar General in Bonner Springs was found beaten to death in the store Saturday morning, marking the city’s first homicide of 2005. Police identified the woman as Robin Bell, 44, of Tonganoxie. Bell’s husband called police sometime after 2 a.m. Saturday, asking them to check on his wife because she hadn’t arrived home. The store closes at 8 p.m.

A Warner Bros. Records employee was found shot to death Friday night in his car on Chapel Avenue in east Nashville.

Nashville, TN - Eric Scott Mansfield, 33, had just called his roommate at 6:35 p.m. to find out if their driveway on the 1400 block of Greenwood Avenue was full, police said. He went looking for a parking spot on the street, and after the roommate didn't hear from Mansfield for several minutes, he went out to look for him. Mansfield's roommate found his 2002 Volkswagen Jetta pulled over near the intersection of Chapel and Greenwood avenues and broke through the window to get in. Mansfield was unresponsive with a gunshot wound to his chest, according to police.

Big-rig driver killed on I-80 identified

OAKLAND, CA - A man killed when his big-rig has been identified as 41-year-old Jorge Sanchez of Dixon, according to the Alameda County Coroner's bureau. The solo-vehicle accident occurred around 4 a.m. on an I-80 ramp that leads to southbound Interstate Highway 880. The truck driver was trapped in his cab, which was hanging over the edge of the ramp, according to CHP Officer B.J. Whitten. CHP Officer J.D. Cook said that earlier in the morning that the right lane and the shoulder were blocked, causing traffic to snarl.

Employee killed in mine accident

Duluth, MN - An employee of the Empire Mine near Marquette, Mich., died Sunday in a work accident. The victim, a 28-year-old Ishpeming resident, became stuck in a cooler, a machine that cools iron ore pellets, according to a news release issued by the Michigan State Police. He was transported to Marquette General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. His identity was withheld pending notification of relatives. An investigation is being performed by the Mine Safety and Health Administration.

OSHA looks into fatal construction accident

Great Falls, MT - Authorities Thursday identified the Great Falls man who died after a cement truck on a construction job site near Benefis East backed over him. Terry Richerson, 40, died at Benefis Hospital around 7 p.m. Wednesday from injuries sustained earlier in the day, said Cascade County Coroner Scott Wagner. Around 8 a.m., a 41-year-old driver with United Materials was backing a concrete truck up a 10-degree ramp to pour cement when the vehicle backed over Richerson.

Farmer dies in accident

Troy, AL- Shock turned to deep sadness Wednesday as word of the tragic death of J.R. Sanders began to circulate in Goshen. Sanders, a favorite son and prominent farmer died following a farm accident around noon, bringing grief and mourning to the small, close-knit community. "This is a very sad day in Goshen," said Nadine Johnson, a cousin and close friend of Sanders. "The flags here should fly at half mast. We have all lost a dear friend. "J.R. was an icon around here. He spent his whole life here after he came home from World War II. He lived in that one place and built what I consider an empire - a farming empire. His death shook up the whole town. He will be so greatly missed." Johnson said Sanders was moving hay bales and was killed when the tractor overturned.

Danville police officer dies in crash while responding to call

DANVILLE, VA - His cruiser crashed at turn in the road; he is survived by wife, son The city's police department is mourning the loss of an officer, 24-year-old Courtney Dickerson, who died last week after his police cruiser crashed while he was responding to a call. A funeral service for Mr. Dickerson is set for Monday at 1 p.m. at Bibleway Cathedral in Danville. Mr. Dickerson, of Dry Fork in Pittsylvania County, was driving west on Halifax Road to an alarm call Thursday just before 11:30 p.m. when he flipped his cruiser at a turn in the road near Pleasant View Baptist Church. Another officer, who had been traveling behind Mr. Dickerson, came upon the crash and called for help. Mr. Dickerson, who had been a member of the police department for 15

2 killed in plane crash

ANKENY, Iowa — Two people were killed when a small plane crashed Tuesday northeast of the Ankeny Regional Airport, officials with the Polk County sheriff’s office said. Chief Deputy Bill Vaughn said the plane went down about 10:20 a.m., about 2 miles northeast of the airport. Only two people were on board, he said. Vaughn said the plane’s pilot, Doug Dority, 63, of Des Moines, and a passenger, Harold Miller, 56, of Des Moines, died in the crash.

Truck driver killed in rear-end crash

Montgomery, NY – It was all over in a second. Michael Herman plowed his rig into the back of another 18-wheeler that was slowing down on Interstate 84 at about 9:15 yesterday morning. The impact crushed the cab of his rig, killing Herman.

Beauty shop worker convicted in colleague's shooting death

BLOOMINGTON, IL — A McLean County jury has convicted a Bloomington woman in the death of her co-worker during an argument at a beauty shop. The jury found Tauheedah Rasool, 58, guilty Tuesday of second-degree murder, aggravated battery with a firearm and aggravated discharge of a firearm but acquitted her of first-degree murder in the death of Billie Spiller, 42, of Bloomington. Police said Rasool shot Spiller in the back during a confrontation on Nov. 5, 2004, at the Beauty NU Barbershop Salon in Bloomington.

Well-liked MPD officer dies in motorcycle crash

Murfreesboro Police Officer Kay Rogers didn't like rushing to emergency calls while riding her motorcycle on duty because of safety concerns, Detective Ava Radley said. "She said she didn't want to get taken from her mother," Radley said. Rogers, 43, of Murfreesboro, died in the line of duty about 3 a.m. Wednesday after a Tuesday crash on Middle Tennessee Boulevard near Bellwood Elementary School.

Explosion kills worker at asphalt plant

KINGS MOUNTAIN, N.C. -- One person died Thursday after an explosion at a Cleveland County asphalt plant. The explosion happened around 7 a.m. at the Rea Contracting Asphalt Plant near Interstate 85, county officials said. No one else was hurt. "There was a small explosion, but it did not create any fire or heat," said Capt. Derek Johnson of the Kings Mountain Police Department. The victim was identified as Paul David Van Dyke, 58, of Stanley. He was an experienced employee, officials said.

Accident Kills Road Worker

Lakeland, FL - A Davenport road construction worker was killed Wednesday afternoon when he was struck by a sheet of steel at the U.S. 27 overpass near U.S. 17-92, Haines City police reported. Procorio Hernandez-Herrera, 54, was declared dead at the scene of the accident, according to a Haines City Police Department news release. A 20-foot-long, 2-ton steel sheet toppled over toward employees and struck only Hernandez-Herrera shortly after 3 p.m., the release said. Hernandez-Herrera was working for a Fort Lauderdale company named Freedom Pipeline Company, the release said. The body of Hernandez-Herrera, of 119 San Juan Court in Davenport, was taken to the Polk County Medical Examiner's Office, the release said.

Postley trial to begin Dec. 6

Battle Creek, MI - The trial of the man charged with killing a Battle Creek detective is scheduled to begin early next month.Jury selection is to begin Dec. 6 in the Calhoun County Circuit Court trial of Genail Postley Jr., 22, charged with the May 9 shooting death of Battle Creek Detective LaVern Brann.

Man Shot, Killed After Intervening During Robbery

LOS ANGELES, CA -- A well-known Oxnard resident was shot and killed Sunday at a donut shop. Benjamin Gomez, 52, was shot as he tried to intervene during a holdup at Sunshine Donuts. The store is in the 1200 block of South Oxnard Boulevard. "I ask myself, 'Why? Why did this happen?'" said Mary Lou Gomez, the victim's wife. "My husband, he was a hard worker. I want justice for somebody robbing me of my husband." Residents conducted a candlelight vigil Monday night. They said Gomez was involved in many community events. Family members described Gomez, a Marine, as someone who always tried to help other people.

Pool company faces fine in fatal crash

Elmira, NY - According to the Labor Department's investigation, the worker was driving a company-owned pickup truck this past summer near the town of Apalachin when the vehicle collided with a tractor-trailer. The 17-year-old and his 18-year-old passenger, also an employee, were killed in the crash. The names of the two men were not immediately available. The men had been working on a job site in Binghamton, and Chavez said they were returning to Waverly for parts needed to complete the work. Federal labor law prohibits 17-year-old employees from driving a vehicle for their employer beyond a 30-mile radius from their place of employment. Earlier in the day, the 17-year-old also was driving a dump truck at the work site, which Chavez said is also in violation of federal labor laws that regulate the employment of workers younger than 18 years of age, including prohibitions barring such workers from engaging in specified hazardous occupations. Richard Spicer, owner of the business, referred all questions to Waverly attorney Robert Miller, who could not be immediately reached for comment.

Accident At Steel Plant Crushes Worker
Government Records Show Company Has History Of Unsafe Work Environment

HOUSTON, TX -- A worker was crushed Tuesday morning during an accident at an industrial plant in Baytown, The accident happened at about 2 a.m. at the Jindal United Steel Works on East McKinney Street near James Road. LifeFlight transported the injured worker to Memorial Hermann Hospital with injuries to his lower body. Authorities have not released any details on the accident. (More here)

Officer shot, killed in hunt for suspect

Dallas, TX - Police were answering call about domestic disturbance. Marta Cruz had told police that her ex-boyfriend had been threatening her for weeks. But as he emptied his handgun in an act of rage early Sunday, police say, his last bullet found another victim. Dallas police Officer Brian Jackson died of a gunshot wound to his right underarm suffered in a gunfight on Madera Street near North Henderson Avenue in Old East Dallas.

Assistant principal killed in Tennessee school shooting honored at funeral

LAFOLLETTE, Tenn. (AP) — Teachers lined the streets of this mountain community Saturday to honor an assistant principal who was killed as administrators tried to wrestle a gun away from a student. Several hundred people attended a funeral Mass for Ken Bruce, 48, who was remembered as a peacemaker and a role model respected by students. "Children loved him. He wasn't the type to intimidate kids or anything," said Campbell County Sheriff Ron McClellan. "They knew they could come to him with anything." Following the service at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church, more than 1,000 teachers lined the route to a nearby cemetery.

Doc calls for probe in death of fighter

Las Vegas, NV - A longtime Nevada ringside physician has called for an investigation into the September death of a boxer who died in a Las Vegas bout, believing that it could lead to necessary health and safety improvements in boxing. Dr. Margaret Goodman, a Las Vegas neurologist who worked more than 3,500 bouts over the past 11 years, feels so strongly about the need for more stringent safety standards in boxing that she resigned last week from her ringside physician post to draw attention to the issue. "I gave up the very thing I love the most because I think the standards and the process we have to evaluate and take care of the boxers need improvement," Goodman said. "I've tried as best I could to work with the system in place but haven't been able to do the job I felt needed to be done." Goodman was one of the ringside physicians Sept. 17 when Leavander Johnson was pummeled by 409 punches from fellow lightweight Jesus Chavez. Before what proved to be the final round of that bout, Goodman quickly examined Johnson, conversed with him and concluded that he could continue with the bout, even though he was being thoroughly whipped. Moments later, the fight was stopped in the 11th round. Johnson collapsed after returning to his dressing room and died five days later.

Worker dies after falling 35 feet in Muskego

Muskego, WI - A contract worker died after he fell 35 feet onto a concrete slab from a ladder while working on one of the city's sewage lift stations Monday, police said. Officials refused to release the man's name because relatives had not yet been notified. Police Lt. John La Tour said the man, 53, was working above the lift station tightening a flange before his fall down a dry shaft along Woods Road, near Sandy Beach Drive. Another contractor who saw him fall called rescue workers at 11:23 a.m.

Services for rig worker set for Wednesday

Christi, TX - Roth fell to death at industrial yard; review under way Funeral services for the Kiewit Offshore Services subcontracted employee who fell to his death Sunday morning are set for Wednesday. Twenty-five-year-old Frank Warren Roth plummeted more than 100 feet at 9 a.m. Sunday while working on the construction of an offshore rig at Kiewit's industrial yard, said San Patricio County Justice of the Peace Charlotte Griffin.

Firefighter dies after being burned during training exercise

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - A firefighting instructor died Tuesday after being badly burned during a training exercise at the state fire academy. Robert Gallardy, 47, died Tuesday morning at Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, where he was being treated for the severe burns he suffered Sunday.

Jersey City robbers kill deli worker in heist bid

Newark, NJ - An employee at a Jersey City delicatessen who recently emigrated from Egypt was shot and killed during a robbery Wednesday night, authorities said yesterday. Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio said Nabile S. Sharoubin, 41, was shot once in the arm, but the bullet passed through his chest. He was pronounced dead at Jersey City Medical Center at 8:48 p.m. Wednesday. "That was a holdup that apparently, unfortunately went bad," DeFazio said yesterday.

Woman dies in workplace accident - 44-year-old fell from machinery

CITY OF PEWAUKEE - A 44-year-old woman died after injuries she sustained in a fall at her workplace Tuesday night, police said. The name of the Cedarburg woman was not released pending completion of the autopsy, which was conducted Wednesday, said City of Pewaukee Police Capt. Dave Funkhouser. The incident occurred at the Boelter Co. on Ridgeview Parkway at about 9:56 p.m. Tuesday when the woman reportedly fell from the top of an order picker, a machine similar to a forklift. She fell 12 feet to 17 feet, landing on the concrete floor below, Funkhouser said. However, there were only three people working the shift at the time, and she may have been on the floor for as long as 15 to 20 minutes before she was discovered in a semiconscious state, Funkhouser said.


Jersey City, NJ -- A deli worker with a wife, a child and another one on the way was fatally shot during one of three attempted armed robberies that were committed within a half-hour period Wednesday night, officials said. Police are trying to determine if the three robberies are connected. None of the stores that were robbed lost money to the gunmen. Nabil S. Sharoubin, 41, of Jersey City, was shot once inside the Superior Markets deli at about 8:30 p.m. on Jewett Avenue near Summit avenues, Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio said yesterday. He was pronounced dead at Jersey City Medical Center at 8:48 p.m.

Apprentice jockey killed in race at Beulah Park

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A 16-year-old apprentice jockey died after falling from his horse Wednesday while leading the third race at Beulah Park.

Josh Radosevich fell to the muddy track after Nyoka broke his right front leg at the upper stretch, and the horse rolled over the jockey, Beulah spokesman Joe DeLuca said.

Radosevich was pronounced dead at Grant Medical Center about 30 minutes after the fall, said Louis Tejada, a nursing administrator at the hospital. The horse was euthanized.

West Palm Beach worker dies under a ton of wet dirt near Vero Beach

Palm Beach, FL -- Jose Vega of West Palm Beach couldn't have seen it coming as he worked on an Indian River County construction site.

As the laborer bent over in a 5-foot-deep hole to work on a water pipe for a new upscale subdivision Wednesday, a ton of wet dirt fell on him.

And no one knew -- not even the backhoe operator who dumped the dirt, Indian River County sheriff's investigators said

Worker dies after accident at pork plant

OTTUMWA, Iowa -- An Ottumwa man died Wednesday morning after a rail on a conveyor system collapsed at a pork processing plant.

Paul McCrory, 41, was trapped under the rail at Cargill Meat Solutions for about 40 minutes before being transported to Ottumwa Regional Health Center and pronounced dead, authorities said.

The cause of the accident has not been determined but will be investigated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, said plant Manager Randy Zorn.

Arizona truck driver crushed inside trailer

EAST DUNDEE -- A truck driver apparently was crushed to death Tuesday in East Dundee as he worked inside a trailer for hauling cars, police said.

Preliminary autopsy results concluded Danny Joe Pennington, 34, of Payson, Ariz., died when a movable ramp in the trailer crushed him, the Kane County coroner's office said.

Working alone, Pennington apparently was readying the trailer before picking up a car at G. Schmitz & Associates Inc., 1089 Rock Road Lane, said East Dundee Police Detective Mike Seyller. The trailer was parked outside the business, Seyller said.

Pennington was pronounced dead at the scene.


Madison, WI -- A worker at Samuels Recycling Co., a metal recycling firm on Madison's East Side, was killed Friday morning when he became entangled in machinery.

The company identified the worker as Kevin Brown, 29, of Madison, who had been working at Samuels for seven months at its plant at 4400 Sycamore Ave. A statement from Gary Bachus, vice president of operations, said the company notified authorities immediately after co-workers discovered the accident.

The Dane County Coroner's Office said it was notified at 6:22 a.m. and that Brown had gotten caught in machinery that was part of a large shredding drum he was servicing. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Deputy Coroner Colleen Little described Brown's injuries as "crushing injuries."

CHP officer slain during traffic stop

San Francisco, CA -- A motorist shot and killed a California Highway Patrol officer during a traffic stop in Yolo County on Thursday, and more than 300 law enforcement officers were on a manhunt for the shooter.

The officer, a 13-year veteran with the agency, was identified as Andy Stevens of the greater Sacramento area. The 37-year-old officer leaves behind a widow.

Authorities said the slaying had occurred during a traffic stop at about 2:30 p.m. on the outskirts of Woodland, an area of back roads, farmland, small towns and casinos.

Construction worker killed in cave-in

Marshall County, IN - A cave-in at a Marshall County construction site killed a worker Wednesday afternoon when a trench collapsed as he was installing a septic system.

The incident happened at a truck stop on the east side of Plymouth shortly after 2 PM.

The worker, whose name has not been released, was trapped underground for approximately 15 minutes.

Aroostook County Truck Driver Killed In Maryland

Portland, ME -- A truck driver from Aroostook County was killed Wednesday in Maryland, when the tractor-trailer he was driving flipped over and caught fire.

23-year-old Brad Flewelling of Monticello died in the crash. It happened during the early-morning rush hour, on a Capital Beltway off-ramp near Bethesda, MD.

He was hauling potatoes in a refrigerated truck.

Maryland authorities plan to inspect the truck in the next couple of days, to see if they can figure out if it had any mechanical issues.

Truck driver killed in Dan Ryan accident

Chicago, IL -- A semitrailer truck involved in a fatal accident Wednesday morning blocks the southbound lanes of the Dan Ryan Expressway just south of Pershing Road. A 40-year-old man died when the semitrailer truck he was driving rear-ended the truck.

Man killed when co-worker accidentally runs him over

Tacoma, WA -- A 51-year-old man has died after a co-worker accidentally ran him over with a truck in Fife.

The man, who worked for Bartleson Transport Inc. in Edgewood, was inspecting semitrailers in the 4600 block of 20th Street East about 9 a.m. Tuesday when a co-worker thought he had completed the job and drove the truck over him, said Tony Budzius, a Fife police detective sergeant.

Robber Shoots Midland clerk

Tacoma, WA -- Pierce County sheriff's deputies believe a callous gunman might have committed more armed robberies after he shot and killed a 30-year-old store clerk in Midland on Friday night.

The robber waited until customers left the Plaza Guerrero Mexican minimart at 816 E. 72nd St. before entering and pointingSupervalu his gun at the victim's 10-year-old nephew, Troyer said.

When the nephew apparently tried to translate the robber's demands from English to Spanish, the gunman raised his weapon and killed Leonardo Velazquez-Vazquez, who was standing at the cash register. The shot came without warning. The gunman left without taking any money. There was only about $ 100 in the register, Troyer said.

Bus station guard dies after shooting

San Antonio, TX -- A security guard working at the downtown Greyhound bus station was shot and killed Thursday afternoon, police said.

The shooting occurred about 3:15 p.m. after the guard searched a man's bag and discovered a weapon, said San Antonio Police Department spokesman Sgt. Gabe Trevino.

Rural towner farmer dies in loader accident

TOWNER, N.D. - A McHenry County farmer was killed when the loader bucket of a tractor fell on him.

Gillman Sjong, 78, apparently was trying to fix a leak on a hydraulic hose.

"He took the hose off the main cylinder ... and the pressure went down," Deputy Jeremy Tofteland said. "The bucket went down on top of him and pinned him between the loader and the frame of the tractor."

Fire Chief Dies While Fighting Blaze

Benton, AR - The fire chief of a small Grant County community was killed while battling a blaze earlier this week.

A fire broke out at 8722 West Cherry Street around 10:00 Thursday morning.

Authorities say 59-year-old Ken Mitchell was pronounced dead at Saline Memorial Hospital in Benton. His body has been taken to the State Crime Lab for an autopsy.

The cause of the fire is under investigation and authorities say criminal charges could be filed in connection with Mitchell's death if the fire was deliberately set or was caused by criminal activity.

El Paso man crushed and burned in forklift accident

EL PASO, Texas — A 32-year-old El Paso man was killed Monday after being crushed and burned in a forklift accident, El Paso County sheriff's officials said.

Luis M. Castro was working on a forklift Monday when he got off the machine to toss debris into a fire bin at Kastro's Wood Pallets Inc. in east El Paso and was pinned against the bin, sheriff's spokesman Rick Glancey said.

Investigators believe Castro left the forklift in gear, allowing it to roll forward and pin him, Glancey said.

A man who answered the phone at the business said the company had no comment.

Officials with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which investigates work-related accidents, responded to the scene Monday.

Sioux Falls utility worker dies in fall from Minnesota wind tower

CHANDLER, Minn. - A Sioux Falls man was killed after falling more than 200 feet from a wind tower after it caught fire Friday morning near Chandler, authorities said.

Benjamin James Thovson, 26, died at the scene after falling about 210 feet, Murray County (Minn.) sheriff's deputy Randy Donahue said.

The victim was installing a Suzlon Wind Energy Corp. wind turbine, according to a statement released Friday evening by Suzlon and another company, Gary, S.D.-based Energy Maintenance Service.

The workers were replacing a bolt when the fire started, the Associated Press reported.

Two other employees of the Gary firm were injured and treated at a local hospital, according to the statement. They were able to climb down and escape.

Police say cab driver dragged to death by passenger

MIDLAND, Texas — A taxi driver tangled in his seat belt was dragged to his death after a passenger seized his car, police said.

Monica Palmer, 30, was arrested and charged with capital murder Thursday after Midland police said she fought with Richard Allen Cullum, 57, and partially forced him from the vehicle before driving off. Police said his body was dragged about a mile.

Authorities said it was the second time Cullum had picked up Palmer that night. Palmer was brought back the first time after telling Cullum she had no money. After Cullum picked up Palmer again later, he began driving before turning around and stopping the car.

Police said that's when the fight began. Palmer was arrested hours later after a tip led to police to a motel.

Bakery worker stabbed to death

TRENTON, NJ - A bakery worker was stabbed to death early yesterday morning in an alleyway behind a shop in the 500 block of Hamilton Avenue, police said.

The block-long alley called Baldassari Lane runs from Chambers Street to Anderson Street, behind a row of Hamilton Avenue businesses.

Gilbert Cascante, 53, of Quintin Avenue was rushed to St. Francis Medical Center, about a block away, but was pronounced dead from numerous stab wounds, police said. He is the city's 26th homicide victim this year.

Police did not disclose a motive for the attack, but a departmental spokesman, Sgt. Pedro Medina, said attempted robbery is a possibility. Investigators have no evidence to confirm that but, "It's in the back of our minds," he said. He said there is no indication gangs were involved.

According to the police press release, Cascante worked at Dave's Donuts on Baldassari Lane and left work around 12:30 a.m. About 15 minutes later, a co-worker found him behind the building suffering from apparent stab wounds and called 911, stated the release.

Ellerslie fireman killed in wreck

Columbus, GA -- A firefighter with the Ellerslie Volunteer Fire Department died Saturday after the truck he was driving went out of control on Warms Springs Road, authorities said.

Kevin Foster, 41, was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident which occurred about 3:15 p.m. just south of Georgia 85 in Ellerslie, said Harris County Coroner Lori Camp.

Scott Davis, chief of the Ellerslie Volunteer Fire Department, said Foster of Ellerslie was responding to a call when the northbound fire truck went out of control and crashed off the right side of the road. He said the truck had 1,000 gallons of water in it.

Manager found dead in store

BONNER SPRINGS, Kan. -- A woman was found beaten to death Saturday inside the Dollar General store she managed, marking the city's first homicide of the year.

Robin Bell, 44, Tonganoxie, was found inside the store about 2:30 a.m. after her husband called police to say she hadn't arrived home. The store closes at 8 p.m.

Bell had suffered severe head trauma, said Sgt. Mark Zaretski. He said police were reviewing a tape from a security camera outside a nearby restaurant, but that no suspects had been identified.

Money was found in the Dollar General, he said.

Hit and Run Fatality

Sioux Falls, SD -- Gregory Zuba, who was 55 and from Erie, died yesterday after he was hit by a truck at the Pilot truck stop on North Cliff Avenue. Police say Gregory Zuba was stopped at the truck stop in Sioux Falls because of mechanical problems with his semi-truck.

Sioux Falls Police Lieutenant. Jerry Miller says, "He was on his cell phone talking to his mechanic back in Pennsylvania at the time he was struck."

Arkansas man electrocuted during Hurricane Rita restoration

FOUKE, Ark. — Funeral services are pending in Texarkana for an Arkansas lineman who was electrocuted while he repaired a building in Silsbee, Texas, during restoration work in the aftermath of Hurricane Rita.

Ricky Whittington, 37, of Fouke, died Tuesday. He was in a large utility construction vehicle, or bucket truck, in the southeastern Texas town when a high voltage power source struck him. Whittington was working for Texas-based Broadband Specialists Inc. with three other linemen, none of whom were injured.

Worker, 36, dies in accident at Port Road reconstruction site

Fox Point, WI - A 36-year-old construction worker was killed Thursday when an excavator fell on him while he worked on the reconstruction of N. Port Washington Road.

Police Chief Thomas Czaja said the worker, who is from Westby, near La Crosse, was standing next to a small excavator being used to lower a piece of concrete sewer pipe into the excavated roadway in the 8100 block of Port Washington Road about 9:50 a.m. The excavator tipped onto the man, causing extensive head, chest and neck injuries.

The worker was employed by Hoffman Construction Co. of Black River Falls, the contractor for the Milwaukee County project, a complete reconstruction and widening of the road from Good Hope Road to Bergen Drive.

Police: Gunman killed boss, shot state trooper, then killed self

DUNCANNON, Pa. (AP) - Police investigating yesterday's shootings in Perry County say it's unclear exactly why the gunman killed his boss at a construction site.

But whatever the motive was that led 38-year-old Randy Lee Campbell of Thompsontown to kill building contractor Steve Willow, it led to a violent day for the rural area. Police say Campbell sped off and was pursued by police near Duncannon. He then fired a rifle at Trooper Ron Colyer's cruiser, seriously wounding him. He was airlifted to Hershey Medical Center. Campbell then killed himself.

Slaying of 2 teens called 'very brutal'

Phoenix, AX -- Miguel Macias wondered what took him so long.

His friend, Chris, said they would go to a party late Saturday. He'd call back when friends picked him up.

Those friends - Guillermo Rodriguez and Rafael Encinas, both 17-year-old high school students - were closing at Subway in Phoenix and couldn't roll until midnight or so.

But Macias' phone didn't ring again until 4 a.m. It was Chris, and he was sobbing. He said Rodriguez and Encinas had been shot dead in what appeared to be a robbery.

Police said video surveillance helped them piece together what happened.

Two masked men walked into Subway about 11:40 p.m., one guarding the door while the other approached the counter. It was 40 minutes past closing time, but the front door hadn't been locked.

The boys were working in the backroom when one of them heard something and peeked around the corner only to see the masked men. Having nowhere to go, the boys tried to hide; their only exit was the door at the front of the restaurant, said Sgt. Lauri Williams, a Phoenix police spokeswoman.

Construction worker crushed in crane accident

DEERFIELD TWP, NJ -- A crane accident Monday killed a 22-year-old construction worker, authorities said.

Christopher L. Pruitt of Trenton was standing behind a mobile crane when he was crushed between the crane and a stabilizing arm, the Warren County sheriff's office said. Pruitt was dead on arrival at Bethesda North Hospital, police said.

He was at a job site in Deerfield Township and was an employee of H&G Steel Erectors of Hamilton, authorities said. There was no answer at the company Monday evening.

California Firefighter Dies At Structure Fire

Riverside, CA -- A veteran California firefighter died in the line of duty on November 5 at the scene of a structure fire.

Eduardo Teran, 43, a 17-year veteran with the Riverside Fire Department, collapsed and went into cardiac arrest while performing firefighting activities. The department is waiting on autopsy results.

Firefighters saw Teran fall near a parked engine as they were doing cleanup work. Riverside Fire Department paramedics performed advanced life support before transporting Teran to an area hospital, where he was pronounced dead less than two hours later.

Shop owner, suspected robber killed in Anderson shooting

ANDERSON, S.C. (AP) - A shop owner and the man authorities say tried to rob the business are both dead after a shootout at an upstate car detail shop.

Investigators say Keena McAdams, 20, entered the office of the McDuffie Street Clean-Up shop shortly after 8 a.m. Monday, pulled out a gun, and ordered everyone in the business to get onto the floor.

Officials say 59-year-old store owner Willie Paul Peterson then pulled out a gun of his own, and the men began shooting at each other.

Anderson County Coroner Greg Shore said Peterson died of multiple gunshot wounds to the chest, belly and leg.

Trucker dies 2 days after I-40 crash, fire

Fayetteville, AR -- A trucker died late Friday from injuries suffered in a fiery crash that backed up traffic for miles on Interstate 40 in Brinkley earlier last week, the Arkansas State Police reported.

Travis Hill, 27, of Seagrove, N. C., was driving a Peterbilt tractor-trailer west on the highway about 1 : 46 p. m. Wednesday, when he crashed into the rear of a truck that had broken down in the right-hand traffic lane.

The fuel tank on Hill’s truck ruptured and ignited, and the truck overturned and was consumed by the flames. Hill was airlifted to a hospital in Memphis, where he died about midnight Friday.

Empire Mine Employee Killed

PALMER, Mich. (AP) — An employee of the Empire Mine was killed when he got caught in some equipment last weekend, officials said.

Chad Weston, 28, of Ishpeming, an assistant plant operator, is the first worker killed at the mine in more than six years, The Mining Journal of Marquette reported Monday.

Weston was working Sunday outside the "cooler," a device that receives iron ore pellets as they are dropped from a kiln, state police reported from the Negaunee post.

He apparently became caught between two pieces of equipment used in the operation of the machine, said Dale Hemmila, spokesman for Cliffs Michigan Mining Company.

He was pronounced dead at Marquette General Hospital.