On September 19, at approximately 5:00 a.m., rescue workers were called to Duke Energy’s Marshall Steam Station in Catawba County, northwest of Charlotte. When they arrived, they discovered that a worker operating a huge bulldozer had fallen some 20 feet into a hole. Our North Carolina workers’ compensation attorneys know about the dangers lurking on the job where heavy machinery is involved and have seen the serious injuries and fatalities that have been caused by them.
According to Duke Energy, the worker was operating a Caterpillar D11 bulldozer moving coal from a pile onto a conveyer, when it fell into a 20 foot hole with the employee trapped inside. The Caterpillar D11 is one of the largest bulldozers made, weighing roughly 230,000 pounds or 115 tons. It was initially thought that the pile of coal had collapsed on top of the overturned dozer. Fortunately, this did not prove to be true.
While trapped inside the bulldozer, the employee was able to maintain radio communications with other co-workers, who were alerted to the accident and contacted the rescue teams. Duke Energy said that employees are trained to stay with their equipment and maintain constant radio communications in emergency situations. Emergency personnel were able to lower a ladder down into the hole so the worker could escape with only minor injuries.
Reportedly, Duke intends to conduct its own investigation to determine the cause of the accident and what needs to be done to prevent other accidents. Duke’s Corporate Communications Manager, Erin Colbert, said “One of the things the incident brings to light, is that when utilities are generating electricity, some of those jobs carry with them an inherent level of risk. Employees receive substantial safety training to insure the safety of themselves and those around them.”
The Marshall Steam Station is one of the largest coal facilities owned by Duke Energy, providing electricity to two million homes through its four-unit, coal-fired generating facility.
There is always a certain degree of risk involved when operating heavy equipment and accidents are bound to happen, even with the most skilled operators. The cause of this potentially tragic accident is still undetermined but this employee is entitled to his statutory workers’ compensation benefits if he suffered injuries in the accident. As long as an employee is performing his duties on the job, he is entitled to benefits even if his own negligence caused the accident. Benefits include weekly compensation benefits while unable to work, medical care and possibly a lump sum settlement based upon the extent and duration of the injuries sustained.
In the event that you or someone you know has suffered an injury on the job, it is important that you seek the advice of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.
Auger & Auger is a Charlotte personal injury law firm that is experienced in handling a wide variety of personal injury matters, including workers’ compensation cases. The attorneys at our firm have nearly 40 years of collective experience.
In addition to having three offices in Charlotte, we have offices in Raleigh and Greensboro for your convenience.
Contact us to schedule your confidential, no obligation consultation about your particular case and what options are available to you. We handle cases on a contingency basis, so that you will never owe us a fee unless we make a recovery for you.
Worker Injured After Bulldozer Falls Into Hole At Duke Energy Plant, WBTV.com, September 19, 2012
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