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Two North Carolina Workers Die In Manhole Accident


Posted on Jun 14, 2011

A North Carolina company with a long history of worker safety violations is under investigation again after the death of two workers in a confined space accident in Durham County manhole.

According to the News-Observer and The Times News, 34-year-old Luis Castaneda Gomez of Durham, and 32-year-old Jesus Martinez Benitez, 32 of Clayton had climbed down a manhole into a small space in order to remove a pipe stopper from the area at the time of the construction industry accident. The rescue crew took air samples before recovering the bodies of the men, suggesting that their deaths could have been related to dangerous or toxic fumes. Autopsies are being performed on both men, though the results have not yet been made public.

The two men were working for Burlington-based Triangle Grading and Paving Inc., a company that has been inspected by safety officials 31 times in the last 14 years. The last death of a company worker took place in 1997, when a hydraulic line exploded on a bulldozer. The company’s most recent safety violation took place last year, when they were fined $57,000 for violating OSHA safety standards for trench safety and cave-in preventions.

A press release issued by Triangle Grading and Paving, Inc., stated that they were grieving with the families of the lost workers – and that they had spent considerable amounts of money in recent years in order to improve worker safety.

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