DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Six months after the death of a worker, the North Carolina Department of Labor has fined Wolfspeed for what it calls serious violations.
The violations stem from the death of 45-year-old Vincent Farrell, an employee of the company who died on the job on Oct. 13, 2022.
An investigation by the N.C. Department of Labor began the day after Farrell’s death. The department found Farrell was electrocuted when testing energized circuits and his bare right hand contacted energized and uninsulated copper lug connectors attached to a circuit breaker.
The department is now citing Wolfspeed, which manufactures semiconductors used in electronics, with two serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of North Carolina. The fines for both violations total $27,553.80.
The first violation claims the company did not select and require employees to use appropriate hand protection when their hands are exposed hazards. This violation resulted in a $14,502 fine.
In a second violation, the department said employees were working in areas where potential electrical hazards were present but were not using electrical protective equipment appropriate for the work being performed. That violation resulted in a $13,051 citation.
“The penalties are in no way designed to make up for loss of life,” a spokesperson for NCDOL said
The law requires money collected from the citation be remitted to the Civil Penalty and Forfeiture Fund. That fund distributes monies to the public school system.
Wolfspeed has 15 working days from receipt of the citations 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, an independent board appointed by the governor to hear appeals of OSH citations, or to pay the penalty.
CBS 17 has reached out to the company for comment on the citation.
According to a GoFundMe page, Farrell was involved with this church’s youth group. He left behind a son, his parents along with aunts, uncles, nephews, and cousins. He was predeceased by his wife, according to the fundraising page for his son.