The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

April 29, 2014

Lives on the line

Workers killed on the job are remembered

MERCER COUNTY — “No one goes to work and expects to get killed, nor do they go to work and expect to see someone killed,” said Allan McDougall, a former coal miner who works full time to console and support such grieving families.

Yet that’s exactly what happened to two workers in Mercer County in the last year, both of whom were killed in trucking accidents and who were honored Monday in a ceremony in the rotunda of the Mercer County Courthouse.

Joseph Nogee was killed on the job at Lowe’s in Hermitage and Richard Beck died while at work for Estes Trucking in Shenango Township.

Sponsored by the Mercer County Central Labor Council, members of United Steelworkers, the Pennsylvania State Education Association and the carpenters and teamsters unions read the names of 42 workers killed statewide in the last year.

Accidents involving truck driving and tree trimming, chemical burns and falls claimed their lives, leaving families to deal with the aftermath and figure out how to move forward, McDougall said.

“In our union, across the county, there is a fatality every eight days and three critical injuries interspersed in there, too. Where do you go? There are some professional services for those in the military, and firefighters and police. But for blue collar and white collar workers, there is very little support,” McDougall said.

He travels the country, reaching out to victims’ families and colleagues, from the day of the accident through the next year, he said.

“Sometimes, the ‘family’ is the people we work with, day in and day out, year after year. You see them come in every day carrying a lunch bag and suddenly you see them leave in a body bag,” McDougall said.

As an international coordinator for the United Steelworkers emergency response team, McDougall said unions across the nation do much to support their colleagues. “A man in Indiana went to work one day and came home a paraplegic. We didn’t just go out and build a ramp. The carpenters union spent three months and remodeled his entire house to make things accessible for him.”

“In the beginning, everyone is there. Family, friends, neighbors and the company. But what about four months down the road when the benefits are cut off and the friends are busy? We’re still here, checking to see what we can do,” he said.

Locally, Anna Rickert, secretary for the labor council, organized what she hopes will become an annual event, remembering those lives lost. “We want people to be aware of how many people are killed on the job. And we’d like to stress to our politicians to keep OSHA laws intact. Without them, we’d be a third world country.”

Andy Harkulich, labor council president, stressed that the ceremony “isn’t a union thing. It’s a human thing.”

About 50 people attended Monday’s event, including county row officers, judges, local political candidates and various union groups.


Text Only
Local News
  • Community thanks its first-responders

    Sharpsville honored its emergency responders Sunday at an event that included Mertz Towers residents as special guests.

    July 28, 2014

  • Drilling boom challenges state inspectors

    The state’s 83 well inspectors face a daunting enough challenge keeping tabs on 120,000 active oil and gas wells that have been drilled over the last century.

    July 28, 2014

  • Kidds Mill Covered Bridge A span of time

    Four generations of the Cadman family have enjoyed the Kidds Mill Covered Bridge, which is in Pymatuning Township near where the family’s ancestral farm is located.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • Intruder hurts woman, takes $5

    A home invasion in Hermitage Friday night sent an elderly woman to the hospital and netted the robber $5.

    July 27, 2014

  • national night out March against crime set for Aug. 5

    At the last Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Commission meeting, Chief Riley Smoot Jr. presented the number of incidents for each of the four communities in May.

    Farrell topped out at 819.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • high street trail Peaceful pathways

    History buffs and picnickers in the Shenango Valley won’t have to drive to Sharpsville to hang out at the old Erie Canal extension lock. They’ll soon have the option to walk or roll in on bicycles and even powered chairs to visit Canal Park near the outflow of Shenango Dam.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • balloonquest1 Balloon Quest celebrates 25 years

    Today is the final day of the 25th annual Western Pennsylvania Balloon Quest at Scotland Meadows Park.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • News briefs from July 26, 2014

    Man faces bomb threat charges

    June building tops $4 million in Hermitage

    July 26, 2014

  • Elderly man survives plane crash

    An elderly man survived wrecking his plane into a bank, then landing into a wetland, about 200 feet south of Runway 28 at Grove City Regional Airport in Springfield Township on Friday.

    July 26, 2014

  • Dontae Rashad Pinkins Man arrested for April gunfight

    Federal marshals and local police arrested Dontae Rashad Pinkins Thursday on a warrant accusing him of involvement in an April gunfight with another man in a Sharon alley.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hearing changed in starving case

    The time and place for the preliminary hearing of a Greenville mom accused of starving and beating her 7-year-old young son has been changed.

    July 26, 2014

  • Schell working on mural Drawn to Mexico

    Jason Schell probably is not exaggerating when he says that millions of people have seen his art.

    July 26, 2014 4 Photos

  • Farrell man, 24, arrested on warrant in connection with April shooting

    Federal marshals and local police arrested Dontae Rashad Pinkins Thursday on a warrant accusing him of involvement in an April shootout in Sharon.

    Pinkins, 24, of Farrell, is in Mercer County Jail after failing to post bond on gun charges.

    Additional details to follow.

    July 25, 2014

  • Firm will study timing of traffic signals

    Hermitage commissioners on Wednesday hired Whitman, Requardt and Associates LLP to study the timing scheme of traffic signals along parts of Hermitage Road and East State Street.

    July 25, 2014

  • 3 area fire depts. awarded grants

    Three area fire departments will share in more than $590,000 in grants meant to help Pennsylvania’s rural communities guard against the threat of fires in forests and other undeveloped areas, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Ellen Ferretti announced.

    July 25, 2014