Workplace safety regulation enforcement saves millions in employer’s bottom line each year. By reducing workplace injuries, workers’ compensation costs are lowered. However, these regulations can also save the lives of those present at the time of a workplace accident.

Such a situation may have arisen during a recent North Carolina hospital fire, where fire officials are conducting an investigation to determine the cause and origination of a fire injuring which not only three hospital workers, but also killed one patient who had been admitted in critical condition.

The fire took place during a routine procedure that is carried out to restore a regular heartbeat. An electric shock is typically delivered to the heart in the process. A spokesperson for the State Department of Health and Human Services claimed the evidence shows a spark took place, but he did not give any specific details.

The hospital’s own sprinkler system doused the fire before the fire officials arrived, but more than 40 patients were moved from their rooms because of water damage.

The floor where the fire began was a separately licensed facility with 30 beds, leasing space from the hospital. Those injured include two workers from the independent facility and one from the hospital. The medical examiner will look into the cause and timings of the patient’s death.

While the investigation is underway, employers should remember it is their duty duty to provide a safe working environment for their employees. Where they fail to do so, it is an employee’s right to file a workers’ compensation claim. Through the claim, injured workers can recover compensation for medical expenses and lost wages due to time off from work.

Source: The Sacramento Bee, “Authorities: 1 dead, 3 injured in NC hospital fire,” Martha Waggoner, Nov. 6, 2012