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Norwood man dies at workplace

By Ritchie Starnes
News Editor

A Norwood man was killed in an industrial accident Friday afternoon.
Raphael Lamonte Taylor, 68, was fatally struck by a front-end loader at Unilin in Mount Gilead. Taylor was walking on the premises of the business when he was hit, according to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.
Messages left with Unilin and its parent company, Mohawk Industries, Inc., prompted a statement via an email from its headquarters in Dalton, Georgia.
“All of us at the company are grieving Mr. Taylor’s passing,” said Rod Wedemeier, vice president of human resources. “We are grateful to local first responders for their extraordinary efforts to assist Mr. Taylor on site. Their professionalism and empathy were greatly appreciated by everyone at the facility.”
Wedemeier said Taylor was pronounced dead at the plant after being struck in the facility’s wood yard.
Taylor had been employed at the facility since April 2005, and where he worked as a front-end loader.
“He was well liked and respected by his co-workers, who appreciated his warm and gracious personality and the kindness with which he welcomed new people to the plant,” the statement read.
Mohawk notified the N.C. Department of Labor of the employee’s death at 7:27 p.m. Friday, well within the required eight-hour window for any workplace fatality, according to Dolores Quesenberry, director of communications at the NCDOL.
She said the Occupational Safety and Health division is investigating the incident.
A workplace fatality automatically prompts an investigation. A DOL investigator will visit the site and probe the circumstances surrounding the incident. Witnesses, employees and company management will be interviewed during the process.
Any violations of safety and health standards will be noted and citations issued accordingly.
Unilin, a manufacturer of laminate flooring, was home to an explosion one year ago that resulted in a fatality.
In that May 17, 2017 workplace death, DOL found the company was responsible for seven serious workplace violations and fined $7,000 for each incident, or $49,000, and guilty of three non-serious violations for a total fine of $1,125, records show.
An investigation could last a few weeks or take as long as six months, officials said.

Contact Ritchie Starnes at 704-754-5076 or ritchie.starnes@stanlynewspress.com.