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North Carolina workers still concerned with workplace injuries

Many North Carolina residents may have recognized the anniversary of a serious event that took place in the state 25 years ago this month. A fire occurred at a poultry processing plant that led to the deaths of 25 workers and injuries to 55 others. Though this event took place more than two decades ago, many individuals are still concerned over safety violations that could lead to workplace injuries today.

A recent report stated that numerous violations contributed to the plant fire and subsequent deaths and injuries. The fire itself occurred after a hydraulic line that violated OSHA standards burst over open flames and cooking oil. The workers were then trapped inside due to the fire exits being locked. Bodies were located near the doors and inside a freezer where workers had tried to find shelter from the flames. 

This tragic event led to increased regulations pertaining to worker safety. In recent years, though, it appears that many of those efforts have waned. Reports stated that safety inspections and citations have significantly decreased in the last six years. In addition, workplace deaths have increased.

Tragic events can often spur action, but in cases of workplace injuries and deaths, it is hoped that preventative action would be taken rather than action after the fact. If North Carolina residents or their loved ones have been seriously injured or killed on the job, there may be cause for legal claims. Seeking workers' compensation may be prudent for accident victims or the surviving families of those workers who lost their lives, and interested parties may wish to speak with experienced attorneys about their options.

Source:, "Guest columnist: Are we forgetting the lesson of the Hamlet fire?", Ruth Smith, Sept. 3, 2016

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