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Business faces fines after failing to report flash fire

Whenever a workplace accident takes place, it's up to your employer to report it to the proper authorities. Not doing so is against the law, and it can end up leading to fines. Your employer needs to report the incident so that your workplace can be investigated and made safer if necessary.

In this case, an employer failed to report an incident that occurred, or at least, that is what it looks like happened. North Carolina's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has said it is investigating a restaurant in the South End following a fire that resulted in severe injuries to an employee. Investigators from the state reported that they didn't even know the fire had occurred until the news reached out to them for a comment, which is unusual. Typically, businesses need to report injuries and incidents like this one after they occur. Federal law requires employers to report employee hospitalizations within 24 hours.

The fire took place at Pike's Soda Fountain due to a natural gas leak. That led to a flash fire when the kitchen was in use. An employee working in the kitchen was badly burned, and he spent over a week in the hospital. His family reported that he had recently been released.

The news organization interviewing the family asked OSHA if it planned to investigate, but OSHA seemed not to know the incident had occurred. If the investigators find that the owner didn't report the incident, then he could be fined $2,500 for failing to do so.

Even if an employer doesn't report the incident, you deserve workers' compensation. If you're hurt working, you are entitled to specific benefits as provided by law.

Source: WSCOCTV, "OSHA investigates South End restaurant kitchen fire," Liz Foster, March 20, 2017

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