Many North Carolina employees rarely think that they can get seriously injured while working. Claims of workers’ compensation, however, are growing at a fast pace after the occurrence of so many work-related accidents. There are things that employers can do to prevent injuries happening to their employees, although many do not do them. This may have been the case for a North Carolina farm that has just been fined for two serious violations, due to an employee dying on the job in what seems to be a preventable accident. His family may find they wish to pursue a claim for workers’ compensation survivor benefits.
Earlier this year, two employees were taking produce from a cooler and transferring it into a truck for delivery. They were said to have been using a forklift to do the job inside of the 53-foot-long trailer, when they became victims of carbon monoxide poisoning as a result of the forklift’s emissions. Due to the lack of ventilation in the trailer, their injuries proved to be very serious.
One of the workers unfortunately was killed on the job. His partner also operating the forklift was overcome by the carbon monoxide, but was thankfully able to be treated for his injuries. This was not only a fatality and serious injury for the workers, the responders who stopped to give assistance to these people also had to be treated for their symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.
The farm owner has just been fined by the Labor Department with two violations as a result of the death and serious injury of their employees. The maximum penalty of each fine is reported to be around $7,000. They apparently have until mid-November to either appeal the case, although they have not confirmed or denied this.
North Carolina accidents such as this one are tragic reminders that employees need to be taken care of better. In addition to the fines the farm faces, it is likely that they could be facing workers’ compensation from the deceased’s family, as well as the worker who survived. The deceased individual’s family likely does not have adequate funds to pay for expenses that unexpected deaths such as this leave behind. If they choose, they can file a claim for workers’ compensation, and should it be successful, the burden these expenses hold could be lifted.
Source: News Obsercer, State fines western NC farm where worker died, No Author, Nov. 5, 2013