North Carolina and U.S. officials are investigating the Sept. 18 electrocution death of a maintenance worker at a Butterball manufacturing facility in Mount Olive.
According to New Bern, North Carolina’s WCTI News Channel 12, Butterball spokesperson Christa Leupen said the worker, 28-year-old Robert McCullen, was killed while doing routine maintenance on Tuesday afternoon.
Coworkers found Mr. McCullen unconscious and performed CPR on him while they waited for emergency responders to arrive at the facility, but he could not be revived. First responders were also unable to revive Mr. McCullen.
The North Carolina Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety & Health Division (OSH) continues to investigate Mr. McCullen’s death. Officials with the agency said the probe could take up to three or four months to complete. The investigation will include a thorough assessment of the Butterball plant’s compliance with state workplace safety regulations.
The regional office of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will also investigate the fatal accident and assess the plant’s compliance with federal safety rules.
Mr. McCullen worked at the Butterball facility since 2010 as a member of the maintenance crew.
“Butterball’s first concern is always the safety and well-being of our team members, and we are deeply saddened by the death” of Mr. McCullen, Ms. Leupen said. “An accident occurred while an employee was performing maintenance duties and the employee died as a result of his injuries. We extend our heartfelt prayers and condolences to his family and friends.”
“In addition to conducting an internal investigation, we are working closely with authorities and are offering our full cooperation during this investigation,” Ms. Leupen added. “Grief counseling and support through the Employee Assistance Program is available at the facility.”
According to OSHA, electrical hazards are among the top 10 safety violations in U.S. workplaces. The agency said that 4,836 workers were killed on the job in 2015, which amounts to 93 workers killed each week, or more than 13 deaths every day.