RALEIGH, N. C. — The federal government is taking over enforcement of much of North Carolina's worker safety program, a move some welcomed Wednesday as a way to help avert another disaster similar to the poultry plant fire that killed 25 people and injured 56 last month in Hamlet.
Wednesday's action marked the first time in the 21-year history of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration that the federal government has taken over part of a state's responsibility for enforcing worker safety laws.
Investigators said that locked exit doors at Imperial Food Products caused some of the deaths. The 11-year-old plant had never been inspected.
In Washington, Labor Secretary Lynn Martin said that OSHA is adding four investigators to the OSHA area office in Raleigh to carry out the new enforcement duties.