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North Carolina construction worker killed in trench collapse

On any major construction project, there are likely several parties and contractors involved to get the job done according to plan. However, as one North Carolina construction firm recently discovered, a workplace accident can alter those plans rather quickly.

Construction crews were installing a water line on North Carolina State University's campus in Morrisville. As one 39-year-old man was laying pipe in a trench, the dirt surrounding him collapsed. Emergency workers arrived and attempted to excavate the dirt, but their rescue efforts were ultimately unsuccessful.

When officials arrived at the scene, they were worried about the potential of another accident if they didn't exercise caution when removing the dirt. This is why it took over two hours for crews to remove the debris only to discover that the worker had already passed away.

The victim's employer, a local contractor, says that safety is a top priority for his crews. In the 1970s, a newspaper report indicated that the man's firm didn't follow necessary safety guidelines, which inspired him to be very proactive about workplace safety. As this case shows, accidents can happen, despite honest efforts to follow safety protocol.

Even if the man's employer followed all the necessary safety precautions, his family may still be eligible for some type of compensation for the accident. In addition to workers' compensation death benefits, a third party involved in the project could have contributed to the incident. Depending on the results of subsequent investigations into the construction site accident, it may be determined that negligence played a role in the worker's death.

Source: NBC 17 News, "Worker identified from fatal work accident at NC State," Nov. 20, 2012

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