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Lincolnton plant fined after employee’s death

The N.C. Department of Labor fined a Lincolnton cabinet-making plant $18,900 for three violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act after an employee was killed in an industrial accident earlier this year.

Authorities said Marendonio Francisco Viruel Lopez, 35, of Lincolnton died on Feb. 23 while working at the RSI Home Products Manufacturing plant. Investigators said he became caught in an angular saw he was operating.

According to the Department of Labor, the alleged violations included failure of RSI to establish a control program and training to make sure that power would be shut off before any employee serviced a machine, and failure to provide training to make sure that employees had the skills to protect themselves from unexpected startup of machines.

The violations were called serious by the Labor Department. The maximum penalty for each serious violation is $7,000.

Penalties aren’t designed to make up for loss of life, according to the Labor Department. By law, penalties collected by the department go to public school systems.

RSI has 15 working days from receipt of the citation to request an informal conference with the Labor Department, to file a notice of contest with the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission of North Carolina, which is an independent board appointed by the governor to hear appeals, or to pay the penalty.

DePriest: 704-868-7745
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