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Work-Related Deaths in North Carolina Doubled Last Year

April 2, 2015 Workers' Compensation

Based on data released by the North Carolina Department of Laborwork-related deaths increased last year in the state, but the state’s injury and illness rate dropped.

The State Department of Labor released its preliminary numbers on work-related fatalities throughout North Carolina. Forty-four people died in work-related accidents last year. This is nearly twice as many recorded work deaths in 2013 and was the highest the state has seen since 2011. Only one of the fatalities was a woman and all of them were classified as laborers by the department. White males accounted for more than half the deaths, twenty six.

Most Dangerous Industries

Construction was the industry that clocked in the most fatalities with nineteen (twelve more than 2013) and according to the department, deaths in the construction industry accounted for 43 percent of the forty-four deaths last year. Other data provided by the industry to the state shows that many of these deaths occur in accidents during the first 3 months of an individual’s day on the job. Being hit by something in the work place made up for most of the fatalities, accounting for eighteen. Thirteen of the deaths were falls, and seven deaths were caused by workers being caught in or between something.

Fatalities in the manufacturing industry increased from four to nine in 2014 and the service industry experienced six deaths this year. Almost all of the industries reporting to the department experienced an increase in fatalities. There were no work-related deaths in more than half of the state’s 100 counties, but most of the deaths were in Mecklenburg (5), Union (3), and Wake County (3). However, the rate of work-related illnesses and injuries dropped to 2.7 incidents per 100 full-time workers.

Public Service Announcements from the Labor Department

After noticing an increase in reported construction fatalities last year, the Labor Department proactively created public service announcements over the course of the year. These PSAs addressed the top dangers laborers might face in the workplace and were broadcasted on English and Spanish television channels. Issues covered included falls and carbon monoxide exposure. Furthermore, the department is working to establish partnerships with more hazardous industries so as to issue timely hazard alerts to a broader group of workers.

Workplace dangers are a scary and devastating fact of life for many North Carolinian families. Employers will do everything in their power to limit their liability in a workplace injury or death. This applies even to employers in more hazardous industries. While North Carolina has a workers’ compensation system in place, it may not provide adequate coverage for your loss or costs due to a workplace death or injury.

Your Next Steps

The complexities of workers’ compensation laws in North Carolina makes it incredibly important that you hire an experienced attorney who can present your case in the most favorable light and walk you through the workers’ compensation claims process.