An Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigation is underway regarding a tragic manufacturing accident in North Carolina that resulted in the death of a 35-year-old worker. Detectives with a county sheriff’s office have ruled it an accident and OSHA is investigating whether anything could have been done to prevent the incident. Such investigations are standard after industrial accidents have taken place, particularly those that result in workplace injuries or deaths.

According to a spokesperson for the North Carolina Department of Labor, the OSHA investigation is to determine if the employer has violated any safety regulations. It is an employer’s duty to comply with the relevant rules and create a safe working environment for employees, but when they fail to do so, employees and their family members have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim.

The worker in this case had been an employee of the home products company for the last eight years. He was operating an angular saw at one of the company’s plants when he became entangled in the machine he was operating. He needed immediate medical attention for which he was transported to the hospital, but he unfortunately passed away as a result of his injuries.

OSHA has six months to finish their investigation before the statute of limitations kicks in, barring them from taking any action. However, the spokesperson claimed investigations often take between three and four months to complete. In the process of their examination, they speak to other employees and study the scene to see if any safety procedures were violated. If they find the company could have done something to prevent the worker’s death, they may fine the cabinetry manufacturing company involved in this work accident.

While North Carolina residents await OSHA’s decision, they can file a workers’ compensation claim to recover their medical costs or wages for time they have had to take off from work.

Source: Gaston Gazette, “Detectives identify worker killed on the job,” Michael Barrett, Feb. 25, 2013