Accidents Death on The Shop Floor

A murderous fire in a North Carolina poultry plant underscores the dangers of America's workplaces

Nobody who worked at the Imperial Food Products plant in Hamlet, N.C., had much love for the place. The job -- cooking, weighing and packing fried chicken parts for fast-food restaurants -- was hot, greasy and poorly paid. The conveyor belts moved briskly, and the few rest breaks were so strictly timed that going to the bathroom at the wrong moment could lead to dismissal. But in the sleepy town of 6,200 there was not much else in the way of work. So most of the plant's 200 employees, predominantly black and female, were thankful just to have the minimum-wage job....

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