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Forklift accident kills one in Charlotte; investigation ensues

The North Carolina Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Division is investigating a fatal industrial accident that claimed the life of a forklift operator in Charlotte.

Neither the Department of Labor nor the employer of the deceased individual were able to provide details of exactly how the accident happened. What is known is that the forklift apparently flipped over onto its side, evidently on top of the operator, who died as a result of being pinned underneath the forklift.

An industrial forklift is but one example of many kinds of machinery and equipment in daily use in factories, warehouses, construction sites and other business locations throughout North Carolina.

The need for proper employee training in the use and maintenance of vehicles and equipment at the workplace is important not only for the workers themselves, in the avoidance of needless injuries and deaths, but also for employers and society at large. Injured or killed workers cannot contribute to the economic well-being of their families or to the state's economy.

In the aftermath of any work accident resulting in injury or death, there will be necessarily be an investigation such as the one here. In addition, the injured worker or his or her surviving relatives will also likely be involved in making a claim with the system of workers' compensation.

Questions of possible negligence will have a considerable potential impact in both of these areas. Employer negligence may result in sanctions imposed by the state government agency or agencies investigating the accident. Any possible negligence on the part of the injured or killed worker can have an impact on the recovery of any related workers' compensation claim.

Depending on the outcome of the factual investigation in this or any other industrial accident, it may be advisable in the aftermath for an injured worker, or a deceased worker's family, to seek legal assistance in identifying how to navigate the workers' compensation system and possibly the court system.

Source: WSOC, "CMPD: Man dies in industrial accident in northeast Charlotte," Jenna Deery, Sept. 30, 2014

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