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Captain of fire and rescue team killed due to unsafe operation

When you or a loved one goes to work, there's always a risk of injuries. However, it's the job of your employer to keep those risks low. When safety procedures aren't followed, those who are hurt or the family of those who are killed can seek compensation through a lawsuit or workers' compensation claim, depending on the case.

The North Carolina Department of Labor has fined the Sherrills Ford-Terrell Fire & Rescue department after its captain was killed during an underwater recovery operation performed at Lake Norman.

According to the story on Hickory Record, The citation issued states that the department needs to pay $5,600 for violations that led to the man's death. The department violated the state statute 95-129(1), which requires employers to provide workers with an environment free from recognized hazards that could lead to serious harm, injury or death.

The North Carolina Department of Labor discovered eight violations following the captain's death. First, the citation reports that the air supply for the men diving in the recovery operation was not monitored adequately. Second, at least one diver had attached a body recovery bag and rope to his rig, which was a hazard and could risk entanglement. Another citation was that at least one of the divers did not perform an equipment check before the dive.

One diver did not have a redundant air supply, and the department had failed to train divers in similar conditions. The rescue dive team had not received an annual evaluation and dive records were not consistent. Training certifications, documents and medical evaluations were not maintained.

The captain did not perform safety stops on the way to the surface after realizing he was out of air. He removed both divers' masks. Two divers surfaced and a rescue to reach the captain was attempted and failed.

Source: Hickory Record, "Sherrills Ford-Terrell Fire & Rescue fined after Capt. Long died in diving operation," Tom Neas, Sep. 20, 2016

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