Workplace safety (copy)

The Triad and Northwest North Carolina accounted for 10 of the 53 workplace fatalities statewide in 2019, including one in Forsyth County, the N.C. Labor Department reported Friday.

Workplace deaths have occurred in Forsyth in eight of the past 11 years.

The state Labor totals exclude workplace deaths handled by the U.S. Labor Department, such as traffic accidents — which typically account for a majority of workplace fatalities — and on farms with 10 or fewer employees.

Law-enforcement agencies investigate homicides and suicides that occur at workplaces.

State Labor officials, as is department policy, did not identify by name the workers who died. There were 50 male and three female victims statewide, up from 37 male and two female in 2018.

A Sparta man died Sept. 10 after he was injured in a workplace incident at HPFabrics Inc. at 3821 Kimwell Drive in Winston-Salem. The victim was identified as Bryan Adkins, 55.

A preliminary investigation by the N.C. Division of Occupational Safety and Health determined that employees were loading fabric rolls into a storage container when two employees were hit by a forklift and pinned between the forklift and pallets

Adkins was killed in the incident, and another employee was injured, according to Winston-Salem police and Dolores Quesenberry, a Labor Department spokeswoman.

There were four workplace deaths in Guilford County, two in Randolph and Stokes counties and one in Watauga County.

The state labor department tracks only work-related fatalities that fall within its jurisdictional authority for conducting inspections.

Forsyth had one example of a workplace homicide.

A man armed with two handguns barged into a breakroom at the Municipal Services Center at 6:30 a.m. Dec. 20 and shot 48-year-old Terry Cobb at close range, Winston-Salem Police said. Cobb was the only person targeted directly.

The gunman, Steven Dewayne Haizlip, 61, ran outside the building after the shooting and lay in wait for police. Police said Haizlip opened fire on a group of police officers, shooting Sgt. Cameron Stewart Sloan twice. Police returned fire multiple times, killing Haizlip.

The Guilford deaths involved: an 80-year-old male with Triangle Grading & Paving Inc. who was found under a truck on March 20; a 51-year-old male with Jose Mortes Roofing Inc. who fell from a roof on May 17; a 62-year-old male with SBS-NC LLC who was struck by ceiling debris on June 30; and a 56-year-old male with Eddie Gerrald & Co. who fell from a platform on Dec. 31.

The Randolph deaths involved: a 38-year-old male with the N.C. Zoo who fell during a rescue drill on July 18; and a 49-year-old male with Snavely Forest Products Inc. who fell from a forklift on Aug. 8.

The Surry deaths involved: a 59-year-old male with Kenneth Moody’s Garage Inc. who was struck by a vehicle on Jan. 19; and a 76-year-old male with Surry County’s Flat Rock Recycling Center who fell from an elevator July 18. 

Surry County Public Works Department said the recycling center employee died from complications from multiple rib fractures from the fall.

The Watauga death involved a 25-year-old male with Maymead Inc. who was struck by a vehicle on July 26.

Falls accounted for 17 work-related deaths statewide, while struck-by-vehicle accounted for 15.

The construction industry remained the most hazardous industry in the state with 20 work-related deaths, up from 16 in 2018 and 15 in 2017.

There were eight fatalities each in transportation and public utilities, and in manufacturing.

Richard Craver is a reporter with the Winston-Salem Journal.

Load comments