Steel Cylinder Kills Hospital Worker Walking Down Sidewalk

12 May, 2024 Liz Carey


Pittsburgh, PA ( – A Pennsylvania hospital worker is dead after being crushed by a steel drum on May 3, one of several workplace deaths so far this month.

The woman, whom officials have not identified, was walking with colleagues just before 11 a.m., when she was struck by the steel drum. Officials said the drum had rolled away from a nearby construction site at the University of Pittsburgh.

“Witnesses describe that the victim was walking with her colleagues when a large steel cylindrical drum broke free from a nearby construction site, Pittsburgh police said in a press release. “The drum rolled down a hill within the construction site, went through adjacent construction fencing, and struck the victim on the sidewalk. The drum continued to roll across the street before finally coming to rest against a pick-up truck.”

Officials said bystanders in the area tried to perform lifesaving measures before medics arrived, but were unsuccessful.

The victim had “significant, grave injuries” to her head and was declared dead at the scene.

The woman worked at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) in the psychiatric hospital, Allison Hydzik, a UPMC spokesperson said. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, or UPMC said they “were saddened by this tragic incident."

"Our immediate concern is the well-being of our employees, patients and visitors. While this was not a UPMC construction site, this tragedy impacts our campuses and we are providing support services to our employees," according to statement obtained by USA TODAY. "Our deepest sympathies are with the victim's family, friends and colleagues."

In Chili, N.Y., a Thruway Authority maintenance worker was killed May 9 and another was still in the hospital in guarded condition after they were struck by a vehicle while working.

Officials said 62-year-old Vincent Giammarva was pronounced dead at the scene and 58-year-old Mark Vara was taken to a nearby hospital after they were struck by a tractor trailer. The men were setting up a work zone when they were hit. Officials said the cause of the crash is still under investigation.

“We are heartbroken over this senseless death, praying for the recovery of the injured worker and grateful to first responders who sprang into action to support their fellow public servants,” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a statement. “This incident is a tragic reminder: responsible driving is a life-saving skill, and all New Yorkers should remain alert, slow down and move over when approaching a work zone or stopped vehicle.”

In Chino Hills, Calif., a worker was killed and another worker was seriously injured when a box truck veered onto a freeway shoulder, officials said.

On May 6, a cleanup crew of several employees hired by Caltrans was working along State Route 771. Officials said the workers were behind the guardrail when a Peterbilt box truck sideswiped the workers’ van and ran through the guardrail, striking two workers, CHP Officer Rodrigo Jimenez said in a press conference.

One worker, a 54-year-old man, was pronounced dead at the scene by first responders. A second worker, a 36-year-old man, was hospitalized with major injuries, officials said.

The driver of the truck was also treated for minor injuries, police said. The man was not arrested. That accident is also still under investigation.

And in Philadelphia, a construction worker is dead after being electrocuted and falling off a ladder.

Police said a 49-year-old construction worker was working in the Overbrook neighborhood of the city when he was electrocuted, and fell off a ladder. The worker was taken to a nearby hospital but died shortly after.

And on May 7 in Otter Tail County, Minn., a farm worker has died after being crushed by a piece of equipment.

According to officials with the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office, emergency crews were called to a farm for a report of an accident with critical injuries. Officials said a 28-year-old worker was working with others to repair a piece of tillage equipment when a piece of the machine fell on top of him, pinning and crushing him.

The sheriff’s office said emergency crews attempted lifesaving efforts, but they were unsuccessful and the man died at the scene.

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    About The Author

    • Liz Carey

      Liz Carey has worked as a writer, reporter and editor for nearly 25 years. First, as an investigative reporter for Gannett and later as the Vice President of a local Chamber of Commerce, Carey has covered everything from local government to the statehouse to the aerospace industry. Her work as a reporter, as well as her work in the community, have led her to become an advocate for the working poor, as well as the small business owner.

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