Investigators Blame Fatal North Carolina Workplace Accident on Lack of Training

According to a recent news report from The News & Observer, an investigation conducted by the North Carolina Department of Labor (NCDOL), has issued findings stating that it was a lack of training that contributed to the death of an electrician in Raleigh. This worker was three months short of reaching his retirement and receiving benefits.

lifts.jpgThe 62-year-old electrical worker was killed when a telescoping lift fell on him. The lift was rated as weighing 800 pounds. He died shortly after the lift landed on him. With the report, the Department of Labor issued a citation in the amount of $5,600 for failing to insure worker’s place of employee was free from recognized hazard likely to result in death or serious bodily injury. While the amount of this fine may seem somewhat strange, it should be noted that the maximum allowable fine for such a violation is $7,000.

Investigators are saying deceased employee and a coworker were operating the lift together at the time of this tragic on-the-job accident. They found neither victim nor his coworker was properly trained on the erection and operation of the lift, and this was the primary cause of it falling and killing worker. It appears that this lift was very old, and another worker had been serious injured using the same piece of equipment nearly 20 years prior to this fatal workplace accident. Inspectors also found employee and coworker had not been trained on the lift two years prior to the accident, and the only training he had in the past four years was some hands-on training.

Employee’s coworker at the time of the fatal work accident said he was never trained on lift operation. It was later determined that he hammered out a safety locking pin that was supposed to remain in place. When employee started to raise the lift, it came loose and fell on him due to the missing retaining pin, which was designed to prevent such a collapse of the lift. It should be noted, his employer challenged the finding of a lack of training as the cause of employee’s death, but they agreed to pay the fine, because it would have cost them more to defend the claims, according to a spokesperson. The employer also claimed it did not matter if coworker did not have any training on the life, due to the fact that deceased employee was supervising him. In any event, the lift has since been taken out of service.
It has also been reported the employer retrained all employees on the lifts still in service and hired a new safety director. They said they are very saddened by the loss of the worker in this horrific accident.

There seems to a lot of blame going around in this accident when you hear from the different parties, but, fortunately, in a workers’ compensation claim, it is not necessary for your Winston-Salem workers’ compensation attorneys to prove anyone was at fault in order for employee to collect benefits.

If you have been injured at work, contact the Lee Law Offices at 800-887-1965.

Additional Resources:
NC investigators say lack of training contributed to worker death in Raleigh, October 30, 2015, News & Observer, by D Kane

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