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Two employees of Triangle Grading and Paving suffocated while working in a manhole in Durham on June 7, 2011. The workers were apparently part of a crew laying pipe near the intersection of U.S. 70 and Leesville Road in Durham. The men were reportedly 10 to 12 feet below the surface. The investigation about their deaths is still on-going but preliminary reports are that the men suffocated after being deprived of oxygen.

Workplace health and safety are of utmost importance and Triangle Grading and Paving has been the subject of previous complaints according to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration records.

In addition to the regulations of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), employers in North Carolina are required to abide by the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act. If an employee is injured or killed while in the course and scope of their employment, the worker’s compensation law entitles the injured worker or their next of kin to certain benefits.

The accident in Durham reminds us that the workplace can be a dangerous place and reinforces the need for laws that protect injured workers.

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