As indicated in previous blogs, workplace safety has declined in North Carolina over the past decade, leading to an increase in workers' compensation injuries and fatalities. Despite the decline in workplace safety, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has failed to increase inspections or citations for employers who fail to comply with OSHA procedures.
As a Charlotte workers' compensation attorney, I have significant concerns regarding the causal link between inadequate OSHA monitoring and serious work injuries. I also wonder about a potential link with the recent trend of uninsured employers in North Carolina, and the Industrial Commission's failure to adequately address that problem.
An OSHA inspection may have prevented a workplace fatality that occurred on May 7, 2012 near Asheville, NC that killed Blue Ridge Parkway employee Dana Bruce. According to Blue Ridge Parkway Chief Ranger Steve Stinnett, Dana Bruce was using a riding mower when the mower began to slide down the mountain, plunging more than 100 feet and killing the employee. As an employee of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Bruce was a part of the National Park Service, a federal agency that must comply with OSHA standards. Since the May 7th accident, OSHA officials have visited the scene of the accident and initiated an investigation to determine if safety and health standards were violated. OSHA officials have six months from May 7th to complete their investigation.