A North Carolina food plant employee lost his life in an industrial accident on a recent Tuesday. The records of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration indicate 11 incidents of safety violations were identified at this facility during the past five years. Reportedly, the deceased worker was a mechanic who had been working for Smithfield Foods for about 10 years whose family will likely be eligible for workers’ compensation survivor’s benefits.
According to a spokesperson for N.C. Department of Labor, the 55-year-old man was repairing a conveyor belt when the accident happened. While on a scissor lift, he attempted to relieve pressure from the conveyor chain by switching the airline hose, when a cylinder struck his head. Emergency workers rushed to the scene, but the worker’s life could not be saved.
It appears he suffered fatal blunt force trauma to his head. The company says it is planning an investigation into this tragic incident. The North Carolina OSHA office also launched an investigation, likely to determine whether safety violations caused this worker’s death.
Regardless of the findings of the OSHA compliance investigators, the surviving family members of the deceased worker can go ahead and file a death benefits claim with the North Carolina workers’ compensation insurance system. The program typically provides compensation to cover the expenses related to end-of-life arrangements. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can provide the necessary support and guidance also to secure a financial package to make up for lost wages. Wage replacement is typically paid to assist families with day-to-day living expenses and monthly obligations such as mortgage or rental payments.