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North Carolina farm worker dies from carbon monoxide poisoning

Workers who are employed in the agriculture industry often face numerous work-related hazards on a daily basis. Many farm and agriculture accidents result from the misuse or malfunctioning of heavy equipment. Others, however, result from less obvious sources such as toxic chemicals or invisible vapors.

One man was recently killed while working at a North Carolina farm at which produce is grown and shipped for distribution. While working inside of one of the farm's buildings loading product onto a truck, two male workers were rendered unconscious. Upon being dragged from the back of the semi truck, first responders arriving at the accident scene began working to revive and stabilize the two workers.

Sadly, one of the men either died at the accident scene or a short while later. The other man, was successfully transported to a nearby medical facility where he was treated for carbon monoxide poisoning. Several members of the rescue team responding to the accident were also exposed to the toxic gas and required medical attention.

A member of the fire crew investigating the accident reported that carbon monoxide readings at the accident scene were nearly 30 times over readings considered safe. Officials from both North Carolina's Department of Labor and Occupational Safety and Health Administration are still investigating the workplace accident and subsequent worker death. It's believed, however, that the truck which the men were loading had been running inside of the poorly ventilated facility for roughly two hours when the accident occurred.

In this case, the owners of the farm at which the men worked may be found negligent in contributing to their injury and death. Large agricultural farms and facilities are required under state and federal employment laws to have strict safety policies and protocols in place. An employer who fails to establish and train employees on such policies can therefore be found negligent should a worker be injured or killed.

Source: Smoky Mountain News, "Fumes kill one, hospitalize a dozen in Macon," Andrew Kasper, Aug. 7, 2013

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