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Man's death leads to fines for Bacardi in North Carolina

In North Carolina, work accidents happen every once in a while, and they can be major or minor incidents. It's been alleged, though, that temporary workers may be at a higher risk for work-related injuries because of fewer hours of training in dangerous work situations.

The Feb. 3 report claims that one man, a 21-year-old, had started at a temp agency, and within only 90 minutes of starting the job, was asked to sweep under a palletizer. While it's unclear what was said to him that day, what is known is that he was under the palletizer when the machine was started back up. Shortly after, the platform carrying rum and weighing around 2,000 pounds slammed down on him. He died on the floor of the factory.

Sadly, this isn't completely uncommon in temporary worker situations. This particular case drew to light the fact that Bacardi, the factory where the man was working, hadn't been providing workers with safety gear. The temp. agency claimed that the business only showed temporary workers a brief safety video and that it was Bacardi that should have been training the workers. Bacardi argued that it was up to the agency to train temporary workers before they started.

In another case, an employee was crashed by three 800-pound bales of cardboard at a recycling plant in North Carolina. The 2010 accident happened to another temp. The recycling company, when asked, told the Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspector that it didn't train temps. In a different and still alarming case, a 27-year-old in Illinois had to wait for an hour and a half after his finger was drilled through before the company and temp agency could figure out which clinic to go to. In fact, they made him fill out paperwork at the temp agency before he could get any medical attention.

In the case of the 21-year-old man, the OSHA looked into Bacardi and wrote scathing reviews, according to the story. The company was fined $192,000 for violations for not training temp. workers correctly and for failing to shut down machines properly. Bacardi now trains temp. workers and has a cage around the palletizer, according to the news.

Source: Pacific Standard, "Temporary Work, Lasting Harm" Michael Grabell, Olga Pierce, and Jeff Larson, Feb. 03, 2014

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