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Workplace accident claims 1 life in North Carolina

Early last year, the announcement by the governor of North Carolina about 200 jobs coming to Shelby was met with enthusiasm. The jobs would be at a new production facility for auto parts. It is currently under construction and not yet operational. A contractor working on that facility was killed on Jan. 31 in a job-related accident.

The fatal accident occurred just before 10 a.m., when the contractor was struck in the head by a 10-inch pipe. The initial investigation found that the man's injury occurred "when the cap was removed from the concrete casing." However, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is conducting an investigation into the man's death. It could be three to four months before OSHA's investigation is complete. That investigation will include witnesses' statements, photographs and a check into the safety history of the company.

Authorities haven't released the victim's identity or age; however, they did say that he was a contractor for United Mechanical Corporation.

Workplace accidents occur frequently, especially in the construction industry. Safety hazards should be addressed through workplace safety programs, including the proper training of employees. It is not known at this time if there have been previous workplace accidents at facilities owned by the company.

Workers who are injured have a right to collect workers' compensation benefits. The family of the man who died may be eligible to collect death benefits. However, if those benefits are denied or if the company is found liable for the man's death, the family may have the right to seek compensation through the civil court system.

Source: Charlotte WCNC, "1 dead in Shelby construction site accident" Michelle Boudin, Jan. 31, 2014

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