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Fatal workplace accident at North Carolina chip factory

Workplace injuries can result in fines to negligent employers that harbor unsafe working environments. In addition, they can also lead to a workers' compensation claim by the injured worker to cover medical expenses and lost wages.

While workers' compensation claims are paid out by an employers' insurer, any fines levied are typically handed down from the North Carolina's Occupational Safety and Health Division.

An OSHA investigation is currently taking place at a Yadkinville, North Carolina, snack making plant after a 42-year-old worker was killed there in a workplace accident last week .

According to preliminary reports, a pan may have become stuck in one of the machines and the worker crept under a conveyor belt to remove it when he got stuck in the machinery.

The accident is the 27th workplace death in North Carolina this year.

The factory where the fatal accident took place has been cited by OSHA for safety issues in the past. After an accident in 2011, the plant was fined $3000 for a serious violation of safety regulations. Earlier that year it was cited for another less serious violation, for which it was not fined.

According to a representative of the North Carolina Department of Labor, the worker in this case was actually employed by a temporary staffing agency, which could affect his family's options in a workers' compensation claim.

When someone is killed in a workplace accident, his or her family is often able to file a workers' compensation claim in order to obtain compensation for lost income and other expenses. Such claims can also raise awareness about an unsafe working environment so that employers can be held accountable to meet safety regulations.

Source: Winston-Salem Journal, "Worker dies in accident at Yadkinville pita and chips factory," Jennifer Young, Oct. 17, 2012

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