TAR HEEL, N.C. – A worker at the Smithfield Foods Inc. pork processing plant in Tar Heel, North Carolina, died from injuries he sustained in an accident while on the job.

Michael Jessup, 55, of Clarkton, North Carolina, was struck in the head by a cylinder while working on a conveyor, according to a preliminary investigation by the Bladen County Coroners Office. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

In a statement, the company said, “Smithfield Foods Inc. is deeply saddened by the loss of one of our employees following an accident at our facility in Tar Heel, North Carolina, on October 9th. As we continue to investigate this situation, our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time.”

In a report from January, the NCDOL’s Occupational Safety and Health Division said struck-by incidents followed by falls caused the largest number of work-related deaths in the state in 2017.