Two workers are dead and one is in intensive care after an industrial accident in Wayne County, NC yesterday at SPX Transformer Solutions, Inc. According to a WRAL report, one of the men was working inside a transformer and apparently lost consciousness; another worker went in shortly thereafter and also became unresponsive, followed by a third worker. The incident will be investigated by OSHA and the North Carolina Dept. of Labor.
It's a terrible thing when someone's attempt to earn a living and feed their family results in their death. These situations are avoidable, but we are all human. Luckily, the North Carolina Workers' Compensation law guarantees death benefits to the survivors of covered workers. Unfortunately, the benefits the survivors receive are, of course, inadequate to replace a life partner, parent, or family member.
Next labor day, remember those who have died on the job. Next election, consider replacing the Labor Commissioner (currently Cherie Berry) with a commissioner who will protect the rights of workers to be paid an honest wage for their labor, and will enforce the state's labor laws, including the Wage and Hour Act (state law guaranteeing minimum wage & overtime) and the Retaliatory Employment Discrimination Act (which protects workers who file workers' compensation claims, safety complaints, wage theft claims, and couple other protected activities- more info in our REDA article). I do not allege that Commissioner Berry is in any way responsible for this tragedy, but rather, urge that all of us should be more grateful to the men and women who labor to make our country great, and we should honor them by ensuring that they receive the fruits of their labor. Here is a recent Op-Ed in the Raleigh News & Observer about Commissioner Berry, with links to a series of articles detailing the ways that the North Carolina Department of Labor under Berry has let down our state's working folk by failing to enforce laws intended to protect them.