Six hours into his 12-hour shift at a molding company in Michigan, Erik Deighton, 23, was crushed to death by a stamping machine.
He was trying to clear an obstruction in the machine, when it cycled to stamp a part.
Deighton’s death was preventable, had Colonial Plastics invested in modern machine guarding technology that would have kept the machine from running while a worker was near, the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health said in its “Not An Accident: Preventable Deaths 2015” report.
For Workers Memorial Week, National COSH released the report, which, among other things, chronicles the work fatalities of seven people who died on the job in 2014.
There were 4,585 direct workplace fatalities in 2013, and annually more than 50,000 people die from long-term exposure to hazardous substances like asbestos and silica, National COSH reported, using U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics information.
“More than 100 workers die every day from workplace traumatic injuries and long-term occupational exposures to toxic substances,” Executive director of National COSH Mary Vogel said in a statement. “We can reduce that number and send more people home safely to their families – if we hold corporate executives accountable with prosecution and higher penalties – and apply the prevention strategies that are proven to save lives.”
John Edd Dunnivant, 57, died of compression asphyxiation after stacked metal framework stamping plates at the KIA Motors West Point plant in Georgia shifted and fell on him, trapping him for two hours before a rescue effort could be completed.
Steel beams, plates and other heavy equipment can be secured to prevent shifting and falling, National COSH said in the report.
Fabian Martinez, 21, was trapped by a pipe after an explosion in the New Mexico oilfield pit in which he was working for Diversified Oil Field Services, and he succumbed to hydrogen sulfide gas.
LaDonte McCruter, 30, suffocated when the 12-foot trench in which he was working collapsed. He was working as a temporary worker on a construction site in Alabama.
"Mr. McCruter's employers knew they were placing him in mortal danger by not using cave-in protection,” said Ramona Morris, director of OSHA's Birmingham Area Office. "His family is grieving the death of a loved one because his employer willfully failed to protect him from this known hazard."
Agnes Ann McKithen Carter, 45, was killed when the forklift she was on was struck by another forklift at the QVC warehouse in Florence, SC. She was wearing a safety harness, and the event is still under investigation by OSHA.
Joel Metz, 28, was decapitated when a cable snapped while he was installing new antennae on a cell phone tower in Indiana.
Thirteen tower climbers died on the job in 2013 and 15 more died in 2014 in an industry that has been cutting corners to meet demand, National COSH said.
Juan Carlos Reyes, 35, died after falling four stories during the construction of a Marriott Hotel in Texas. His employer, Angel AAA Electric, was cited by OSHA for failing to ensure that the scaffolding Reyes fell from was erected by a qualified person and for failure to put a fall arrest system in place.