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Fallen Workers: Terry Palmer, North Carolina

In these tough economic times in North Carolina, permanent, full-time employment can be nearly impossible to find. So when Terry Palmer had the opportunity to land a temporary position with Select Staffing agency, he took it. The agency placed him in what turned out to be a dangerous work environment—at the Chipita manufacturing plant in Yadkinville, N.C.  

On October 16, 2012, Terry was working at the plant when a pan got stuck. In an attempt to dislodge it, Terry climbed on a conveyor belt and was pulled into a machine. First responders were able to free him from the machine and perform CPR, but Terry died soon after the incident.

This tragic death took place at a plant that had been cited previously for similar hazards and received nothing more than a slap on the wrist. Just a year before Terry’s death, NC OSHA had inspected the plant and found a serious violation of machinery safety standards. They fined the company a mere $3,250. In the inspection following Terry’s death, NC OSHA again found violations of machinery safety standards. Despite the company’s previous record of violations, NC OSHA fined the company only $4,000.

Read other stories of fallen workers.  Learn more about Workers’ Memorial Week of Action.