When working at an industrial site where there may be noxious fumes, workers usually need to wear extra protective equipment, such as safety glasses, uniforms, steel toed boots and even hard hats. It is still possible that they may sustain workplace injuries despite these precautions and may require medical attention for their injuries. When such a construction workers’ accident takes place, injured workers may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim to cover their medical expenses.
A recent workplace accident in North Carolina left one worker dead. This was not the first work accident to take place at this particular site in North Carolina — an outdoor tank exploded in 2000, killing two workers and injuring many others in what was perhaps the worst accident in the plant’s 40-year history.
The plant was thoroughly inspected early last year. It was discovered they had four ‘serious’ safety violations at the plant and they were fined for their violations. A serious violation means that the violation has the potential to cause an accident that would result in death or physical harm. A spokesperson from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration claimed the plant came into compliance with the violations.
In fact, OSHA investigated the incident that led to third and second degree burns on the workers’ bodies in 2012 and concluded that the plant did not violate any safety regulations and did not issue any citations.
However, another accident there this month has brought the plant back into the limelight as one worker died and another sustained injuries while working in the fume tank. Officials are claiming that there was no explosion or evidence of an explosion on the worker, but are claiming it was definitely a work accident. It is possible some chemicals leaked into the tank, but an investigation is underway to determine the cause of death.
It is an employer’s duty to create a safe working environment for employees and for employer’s to file a workers’ compensation claim for injuries sustained during the course of employment. Victim’s families may also be able to file for claims. Reporting an accident not only makes compensation available but also helps make North Carolina workplaces safer for other employees.
Source: Charlotte Observer, “NC worker dies in accident at York Co. paper plant,” Jonathon McFadden, Jan. 22, 2013