Trucking company fined in workplace fatality
The N.C. Department of Labor cited a Thomasville trucking company for several violations following an investigation into a workplace fatality in March.
According to Neal O'Briant, public information officer with the Department of Labor, JRJ Trucking, 435 Commercial Park Drive, received citations for two alleged serious violations and one alleged nonserious violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of North Carolina. The citations were issued in regard to the death of Paul Peterson, a 22 year-old Lexington man who died after a tractor trailer fell on him at the business on March 18.
JRJ Trucking received a fine of $2,700 for the three violations and has 15 days to either pay the penalty, request an informal conference with the Labor Department or file a notice of contest with the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission of North Carolina.
"The penalties are in no way designed to make up for loss of life," O'Briant said in a email to the Thomasville Times. "The General Statutes say that the Labor Department has to take into consideration various factors such as the gravity of the violation, the size of the business, the good faith and cooperation of the employer, and the history of previous violations."
According to the Department of Labor's report, JRJ Trucking's maintenance shop's "energy control procedures (chocking tires, removing keys from truck, disconnecting battery, and securing brake lever), employee training, and periodic inspections were not developed for employees performing servicing maintenance, and repairs on tractors and trailers."
The serious violation resulted in a $1,400 fine.
Another serious violation and a $1,000 fine stemmed from JRJ Trucking not having a written hazard communication program for employees who were potentially exposed to hazardous chemicals that included, but not limited to, "Xtreme Blue Windshield Washer and Johnsen's Ester Synthetic Lubricant."
The Department of Labor, according to the report, issued a nonserious violation and $300 fine to JRJ Trucking for being "unable to provide a written hazard assessment for employees who wore personnel protection equipment (gloves, welding shield and safety glasses) due to potential hazards when exposed to work involving truck maintenance and chemical usage."
"Fines are issued to penalize the offending employer but also to get the attention of other employers with similar work environments," O'Neal said in the email.
Peterson, of Deer Creek Lane in Lexington, died from injuries he sustained when a 2004 Freightliner tractor fell off one of the jacks as he was underneath it doing repairs. Emergency personnel responded to JRJ Trucking at 5:51 p.m. on March 18 and pronounced Peterson dead at the scene.
Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or firstname.lastname@example.org.