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Worker dies in Weyerhaeuser forklift accident

On Aug. 4, a forklift accident at a North Carolina lumber mill resulted in the death of a 54-year-old worker. The fatal workplace accident happened at a Weyerhaeuser facility in Greenville that employs 184 people. Shortly after the fatality, the mill shut down operations so that authorities could begin investigating the death. The mill remained closed 24 hours after the incident.

The circumstances surrounding the fatal accident were not immediately clear. Although it was known that the victim suffered from life-threatening injuries during a forklift accident, there were no initial reports as to whether or not the deceased man was the forklift operator. There have also been no reports concerning a possible workers' compensation claim that could be filed by the deceased employee's family members.

Simultaneous investigations by Weyerhaeuser, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the Occupational and Safety Health Division of the North Carolina Department of Labor will reportedly look into the safety of forklift operations at the lumber mill. Investigators will examine whether the forklift was traveling at safe speeds through designated travel paths and if the forklift operator was licensed. A spokesperson for OSH said that if safety violations are found, Weyerhaeuser will face citations. The investigation by OSH is expected to take three-to-four months.

Family members of someone killed in an accident at work may be entitled to workers' compensation death benefits. An attorney might be able to assist family members by filing all of the paperwork that is necessary to claim their benefits. Because a worker's death may result in a substantial financial burden for the surviving family members, an attorney may be able to help the family to seek benefits that cover costs associated with the incident.

Source: Elkin Tribune, "Weyerheauser plant closed after death", Anthony Gonzalez, August 06, 2014

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