Wide Variety of Work Environments Deemed Dangerous; Employers Need to Protect Workers from Injury in North Carolina

The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released the 2010 Preliminary Summary for Fatal Occupational Injuries. Gastonia workers’ compensation lawyers are concerned about the high numbers already reported because they will likely go up when the final work fatality report is released in the Spring of 2012.

In fact, the last three years have shown a 3 percent increase from preliminary numbers to the final count which would put us well over the national work-related death count of 2009 which came in at 4,551.
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As economic stability continues to play a significant roll in death tolls at work, fatal work injuries in North Carolina remain a concern because so many industries can be considered dangerous if employers don’t take proper safety precautions to keep workers safe. So many jobs require climbing, operating large equipment, handling chemicals, or work transportation to perform duties succinctly which often put workers in grave danger.

More than 4,500 employees died from a work-related accident or injury in 2010. The fatal injury rate for all occupations in 2010 was 3.5 per 100,000 workers. The 10 occupations that had fatal injury rates at least 5 times higher than the average and reported the highest rate of fatal occupational injuries per 100,000 workers nationwide were:

-Fisherman and fish-related jobs: 116 -Workers in the logging industry: 91.9 -Flight engineers and pilots on aircrafts: 70.6 -Ranchers or employees working on farms: 41.4 -Operators of mining machines: 38.7 -Roofers: 32.4 -Recyclable materials or garbage collectors: 29.8 -Truck drivers or sales workers that require transportation to perform duties: 21.8 -Workers who install, repair or maintain industrial machinery: 20.3 -Law enforcement including sheriffs or police officers: 18.0
Let’s take a look at work injuries categorized by incident as reported in the 2010 Fatal Occupational Report Summary.

Transportation: There were a total of 1,766 transportation incidents while performing a job responsibility which resulted in death in 2010, or almost 2 out of every 5 fatal work injuries were transportation-related. North Carolina reported 43 fatal transportation accidents at work.

Exposure to harmful environments or substances: Nationally, there were 409 deaths reported while at work. North Carolina reported 15 occupational deaths from exposure to hazardous substances or harmful environments.

Contact with equipment and objects: More than 730 workers were killed on the job by equipment or being struck by an object nationwide in 2010. North Carolina reported 23 workers killed by objects or equipment at work.

Falls: North Carolina reported 22 fatal falls at work compared to the total death count of 635 nationwide in 2010.

Workplace Homicides: Almost 18 percent of deaths occurring at work were related to assaults or violent acts. Homicidal incidents for women rose 13 percent in 2010 despite the overall decrease. There were 808 homicide deaths at work nationwide compared to 23 reported fatalities in North Carolina.

Fires and Explosions: North Carolina didn’t report any deaths from fires or explosions in 2010 but there were 187 deaths nationwide from these types fatal work accidents.

No work environment is completely safe and free from hazards, so employees are encouraged to use caution every day at work. If you are aware of something hazardous at work, report it to a boss or supervisor to reduce the risk of injury to yourself or other co-workers.

The Lee Law Offices, P.A are an experienced team of workers’ compensation lawyers who represent victims injured at work in North and South Carolina. If you need to file a claim or speak to an attorney about your rights, call 1-800-887-1965 to set up a free appointment today.

More Blog Entries:

North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Start Series on Job Hazards, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, July 23, 2011.

Part Two of Blog Series Focuses on Job Hazard Analysis for Employers, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, July 25, 2011.

Three-part Series on Job Hazards Ends with Workplace Injury Scenario, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, July 27, 2011.

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