Employee on bulldozer falls in hole at North Carolina plant

Sustaining a workplace injury can often mean taking time off from work to recuperate and rehabilitate and this can result in lost wages on top of the medical bills. Injured workers have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim to recover these costs from their employers who are supposed to maintain a safe working environment for their employees.

When a workplace injury is reported, employers should go over their safety policies to determine where improvements can be made to keep their employees safe. An energy plant in North Carolina has announced it will do just that in light of an accident at their steam station that resulted in an employee’s minor injuries last week.

According to officials, the employee was operating a bulldozer at the steam station moving coal onto a conveyer before the workplace accident. He was driving the bulldozer around a coal pile when the bulldozer, with the employee inside, fell into a 20-foot hole. According to initial reports, the employee and bulldozer may have fallen into the hole because the coal pile collapsed.

Through radio communication, the injured employee was able to communicate with his coworkers outside the hole. The coworkers called for help from fire and rescue services. Rescuers lowered a ladder into the hole and brought out the employee about two hours later.

The injured employee’s training may have helped him–all employees there are reportedly trained to remain in their equipment in case of an accident and try to maintain radio communication.

One of the utility’s largest coal facilities, the energy plant has announced it will now review its safety policies. A post-accident investigation can raise awareness about unsafe working conditions and may spur changes in the employer’s safety procedures, which could save other employees in the future.

Source: wbtv.com, “Worker injured after bulldozer falls into hole at Duke Energy Plant,” Alesia Powell, Sept. 19, 2012

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