North Carolina Worker Safety On The Decline

Posted by Christopher Shumate | Dec 17, 2012 | 0 Comments

Twenty years ago, North Carolina witnessed its worst industrial accident during a fire at a chicken plant in Hamlet, NC. OSHA officials had never inspected the plant. Twenty five people were killed as a result of the fire, primarily because doors at the plant had been locked to prevent theft. OSHA officials found over 80 violations after the accident.

As a result of the infamous Hamlet accident, OSHA increased the number of state inspectors and vowed to increase employer inspections to further workplace safety. Although the program may have had some success initially, statistics indicate that OSHA's progress has declined over the past the decade.

OSHA inspections and citations have decreased dramatically, reaching North Carolina's lowest level since the Hamlet fire. Meanwhile, workplace fatalities have increased more than 40 percent over the past year. 2010 monetary penalties for workplace violations did increase substantially compared to recent years. However, the average fine for a serious violation was only $884, a small number in comparison to the national average.

One major challenge is that the reporting of workplace injuries is based on an honor system, meaning it is the employers' duty to report the injuries to the state (absent a fatality). As such, many injuries go unreported, thus skewing the statistics on workplace safety.

About the Author

Christopher Shumate

Mr. Chris Shumate is a native of Gastonia, North Carolina, and worked various jobs while pursuing his undergraduate and Juris Doctor education, including several heavy manual labor and skilled trade positions. In his practice, Mr. Shumate often encounters circumstances where these prior experiences are helpful in representing you. Upon graduating law school from the University of South Carolina, Mr. Shumate joined one of the Carolinas' larger defense firms, where he represented a diverse set of employers and insurance companies in civil cases and workers' compensation claims across the Carolinas. Chris utilized this experience to obtain a working knowledge of the insurance industry, and build personal contacts used today in representing you. Mr. Shumate ultimately decided he wanted to focus his law practice on assisting those who have been injured, and doing so with the focus on a personal relationship that is uncommon in the bigger firms. Mr. Shumate's also has a passion for assisting those facing the challenges of the criminal legal system. By representing individuals in a variety of criminal and traffic matters, Mr. Shumate works to achieve the best possible result for each client regardless of the charges levied by the prosecution. Chris has tirelessly pursued his mission of helping people from all walks of life throughout the Carolinas with a variety of legal matters. If you are interested in learning more about Chris Shumate and The Shumate Law Offices, please contact us at 704.371.5059. We look forward to assisting you to achieve a positive result in your legal concern. Education J.D., University of South Carolina B.S., University of South Carolina Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice N.C. State BarS.C. State BarU.S. District Court Western District of North Carolina Professional & Bar Association Memberships N.C. Bar Association S.C. Bar Association Mecklenburg County Bar N.C. Academy Of Trial Lawyers American Association For Justice


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