The latest report by the North Carolina Department of Labor indicates work-related deaths nearly doubled last year when compared to those killed a year earlier.
State officials reported 44 people died in work-related accidents in 2014, compared to 23 in 2013. That means last year has the distinction of the most on-the-job deaths in the state since 2011, when 53 were killed.
Nearly all were men, all were characterized as “laborers” and they ranged in age from 20 to 82. The average age was 44.
Accounting for a large part of the increase was the construction industry. Of the 44 who lost their lives in 2014, 19 of those were construction workers. That’s 12 more than suffered a fatality in that sector a year earlier.
One trend the labor department noted, particularly among construction industry fatalities, was the fact a large number of these incidents occurred within the first two to three months a worker was on the job. In some cases, it was the worker’s very first day on the job.
What that tells us, according to Commissioner Cherie Berry, is workers aren’t getting adequate training before they start. Even those who have been on the job for some time benefit from refresher safety courses. But our Winston-Salem work injury lawyers know those who never get the right instruction to begin with are at special risk.
Other industries saw increases as well. For example, the number of deaths in manufacturing rose from 4 in 2013 to 9 in 2014. Deaths in the service industry rose from 1 in 2013 to 6 in 2014.
Meanwhile, the national Bureau of Labor Statistics released its annual report for the most dangerous jobs in the country. Those deemed especially at risk were those who drive, work odd hours, work alone or handle cash.
The deadliest jobs (those with the highest rate of fatal occupational injuries per 100,000 workers) were:
- Logging workers
- Aircraft pilots and flight engineers
- Extraction workers
- Trash and recyclable materials collectors
- Commercial drivers (including truckers)
- Electrical power-line installers
- Construction laborers
- Taxi drivers
- Maintenance and repair workers
- Large vehicle mechanics
Officials report traffic and transportation-related incidents account for 40 percent of all on-the-job deaths. Falls were another major catalyst, resulting in 13 percent of all worker deaths. Being struck by equipment or an object accounted for 11 percent. Homicides accounted for 9 percent of worker injuries.
Those with higher risks for on-the-job murder included taxi drivers, police officers, food service manager, retail supervisors, cashiers, construction laborers and retail salespersons.
While the statewide rate for workplace injury and illness in 2014 is not yet available, we do know that the figures released in 2013 represented a substantial reduction from where we were in 1999. In the late 1990s, North Carolina work injury and illness was at 5.7 for every 100 workers. In 2013, it had dropped to 2.7 for every 100 workers.
If you have been injured at work, contact the Lee Law Offices at 800-887-1965.
Number of NC workers killed on the job nearly doubled last year, Jan. 23, 2015, By Richard Stradling, The News & O rver
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