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Explosion at North Carolina grain mill causes workplace injury

A lot of attention has been given to workplace accidents in grain mills recently, with tragic accidents highlighting the risky nature of the job. There have been moves to make the industry safer and reduce workplace injuries, both by providing safety measures and by educating employers and employees.

However, workplace injuries do not just take place in the grain bins but also outside of them, as a recent workplace accident at a North Carolina grain facility demonstrated. An explosion took place, injuring one worker. This is the second time a blast occurred at the company's plants in the past two years - the first accident killed six workers in another city.

After workplace safety officials investigated the first accident in 2011, they accused the company of willfully ignoring workplace safety rules and recommended a fine exceeding $400,000 be levied against the company. They also suggested the U.S. attorney in the relevant state investigate the matter to determine whether criminal charges should be filed.

The recent explosion took place after workers had made some repairs to machinery in the mill's basement and were in the process of restoring electricity to the facility.

An inspection is underway to determine the cause of the accident and what measures were implemented to prevent this type of an accident.

Employees deserve to work in a safe working environment, where they can earn their living without fear of preventable injury. It is an employer's duty to create such an environment and when they violate safety standards, federal officials can hold them accountable by levying fines and ensuring they comply with relevant regulations. It is also possible to file criminal charges against negligent employers.

Whether or not criminal charges are filed, injured North Carolina workers can file a workers' compensation claim against careless employers. It may take time to recover from the trauma they suffer in a workplace accident, but with medical attention they may be able to resume their activities. Financial assistance recovered through workers' compensation may be used to cover medical expenses and lost wages.

Source: The Kansas City Star, "Grain explosion occurs at facility owned by KC Company," Mike McGraw, April 11, 2013

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