While a work injury can occur for employees in almost any occupation, those who work with heavy equipment or perform strenuous manual labor typically have more of a risk than others. Equipment can malfunction, and employees could potentially be exposed to toxic substances. If employers do not stay up-to-date on improvements and replacements, defective equipment can cause devastating injuries. If employers are found in violation of not replacing hazardous equipment or providing proper training, they could face fines as well as possible workers’ compensation claims.
Two workers at a North Carolina farming company were found down in the back of a semi-truck trailer while they were working to load a blackberry order. According to reports, a person found the two workers and called emergency services. The two were transported to area hospitals where one was pronounced dead due to cardiac arrest, and the other was treated and later released.
After an investigation into the death of one worker and illness of another, it was found that the forklift being used to load the trailer was emitting high levels of carbon monoxide. According to reports, 15 other people who had responded to the scene were sent to the hospital for treatment of high carbon monoxide levels in their systems that were making them ill. OSHA is continuing to conduct an investigation into the incident, and their findings should be reported at a later date.
Being exposed to toxic substances is a very serious matter. As this case shows, several people can become ill in a very small amount of time and could possible even die. It is a tragic result that one worker did lose his life due to the toxic fumes being released from the forklift. The family of the deceased and those workers who also suffered illnesses from the exposure could be entitled to workers’ compensation. They may find information on North Carolina workers’ compensation laws beneficial in determining if they may be eligible.
maconnews.com, “Forklift ruled likely cause of farm tragedy,” Brittney Parker, Aug. 8, 2013