NC Work Injuries Decline, Still Too Many Employees Hurt on the Job

Last year, there were 23 people who were killed on the job in North Carolina, according to the News Observer. While that’s down from the 38 fatalities experienced by North Carolina workers in 2011, it’s still far too many. The N.C. Department of Labor points out that all of the workers who were killed on the job last year were men and they were classified as “laborers”. The average age was 44.
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“I believe North Carolina is benefiting from increased awareness of safety and health in both private industry and the government, but we must do better,” said Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry.

Our Charlotte workers’ compensation lawyers understand that these numbers only include workplace fatalities that fall under the Department’s jurisdiction. The fatalities that occur to those who are self-employed and the fatalities that occur on the job in motor-vehicle accidents do not fall under this jurisdiction. Last year, there were more than 10 workers who were killed when they were hit by a vehicle or by a falling object. There were six who were killed in falls. Three of them were killed after being caught in machinery, one was electrocuted and two inhaled toxic fumes.

In the past, worker safety has been a main focus for safety officials. Although it has been improved across the state, largely because of upgraded federal worker safety requirements and rules or compensation programs, we need to strengthen the requirements a little more to better protect our workers. The number of workplace illnesses and injuries in the state decreased from roughly 3 incidents for every 100 full0time workers in 2012 from more than 5 per every 100 workers in 1999.

Safety in the Workplace is a must for every company. Effective safety training programs comply with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations and reduce injuries, deaths, illnesses, property damage, legal liability, and worker’s compensation claims. Safety training produces higher productivity that is absolutely necessary in today’s competitive marketplace.

The Compliance Bureau with the NCDOL conducts approximately 5,500 inspections of North Carolina businesses each year to ensure compliance with applicable workplace safety and health standards. The bureau investigates complaints made by workers, work-related fatalities and accidents, conducts general schedule inspections of randomly picked firms, and follow-up inspections of firms previously cited for safety and health violations.

To help to stop an accident before it happens, you’re urged to file any complaints or concerns you have work workplace safety as soon as you observe them. The North Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Act gives employees the right to file complaints about workplace safety and health hazards. Further, the act gives complainants the right to request that their names not be revealed to their employers.

The NCDOL exercises jurisdiction over all private and public sector employers and employees within the State, with the exception of Federal employees, the United States Postal Service (USPS), private sector maritime activities, employment on Indian reservations, railroad employment, and enforcement on military bases, and the American National Red Cross, which are subject to Federal OSHA jurisdiction.

If you have been injured at work in North Carolina, contact the Lee Law Offices at 800-887-1965.

More Blog Entries:

Change of Condition in North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Claim May Warrant Benefit Modification, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, January 18, 2014

What To Do After A Work Accident in North Carolina, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, January 12, 2014

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