Officials from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are investigating a recent workplace fatality at a North Carolina plant owned by RSI Home Products, Inc. The incident involved a 35-year-old employee who had worked for the plant for eight years.
The plant manufactures cabinetry, and plant locations around the country also manufacture the materials for kitchen and bath cabinets and counters. In this case, the worker became caught in a Holzmann angular saw that he was operating. The injuries he sustained proved to be fatal.
Although authorities from the local sheriff's office have ruled the fatality to be an accident, a spokesperson from the North Carolina Department of Labor confirmed that it is standard for OSHA to conduct its own investigation of workplace accidents. In particular, OSHA investigators will be looking for ways that the accident could have been prevented, and if the employer failed to take adequate safety precautions in creating a safe workplace environment.
The investigation may take several months to complete, and will likely involve interviews with other employees, photographs of the scene, and a review of applicable regulatory requirements. However, the state department of labor spokesperson confirmed that the investigation must be completed within six months, at which time the statute of limitations takes effect.
Workers who sustain on-the-job injuries are usually able to recoup their medical costs through their employer's workers' compensation policy. However, as this post illustrates, there are often time limitations imposed upon that claims process. When an injury is fatal, however, there may be other avenues of recovery available to surviving family members. An experienced workers' compensation attorney will know what legal remedies might be an option, depending on the facts of a particular case.
Source: gastongazette.com, "Detectives identify worker killed on the job," Michael Barrett, Feb. 25, 2013