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Data shows increase in fatal workplace accidents

North Carolina residents may or may not have known that April 28 was Workers' Memorial Day. On that day, people around the country remembered the lives of workers who have died on the job. While they are so doing, employers and employees alike can also work on preventing fatal workplace accidents by focusing on safety.

Since the National Safety Council was founded in the early part of the 20th century, there have been many improvements to workplace safety that have prevented millions of work-related deaths. However, a report on workplace fatalities that was issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows a negative trend in workplace safety. In 2014, the number of fatal workplace accidents increased to the highest annual total since 2008.

According to the BLS report, there were 4,821 workplace fatalities in 2014. Most of the workers who died in 2014 were between the ages of 45 and 64. The construction industry saw the highest number of worker deaths followed by the transportation and warehousing, agriculture and government industries. Car accidents are the most common cause of work-related death, and they resulted in the loss of nearly 2,000 lives in 2014. Many of them were attributable to the use of cellphones or other distractions.

When a worker dies on the job, the deceased worker's family members may be eligible to pursue compensation for some of their financial losses through the decedent's employer's workers' compensation insurance coverage. Most people are familiar with this type of insurance when it comes to injuries, but many are unaware that some death benefits may be available. An attorney can outline the scope and amount of such benefits and provide assistance with the filing of a claim.

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