As a North Carolina worker, you expect to work in a safe workplace. You certainly do not expect to die from an on-the-job injury. Sadly, however, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that North Carolina workplaces are more dangerous today than they were a decade ago.
In 2016, the latest year for which statistics are available, 174 North Carolina workers sustained a fatal work injury. This was the highest number of workplace fatalities recorded in the past decade, and the fourth year in a row that their numbers increased. From a 10-year low of 109 on-the-job fatalities in 2013, the number climbed to 137 in 2014, 150 in 2015, and topped out at 174 in 2016.
Three highest types of accidents
Of the 174 North Carolina workplace injuries resulting in fatalities in 2016, 74 percent of them were distributed among the following three categories:
- Transportation – 68 (up from 51 in 2015)
- Violence by people or animals – 35 (up from 24 in 2015)
- Falls, trips or slips – 26 (unchanged from 2015)
Two most dangerous industries and occupations
The two industries that accounted for the highest number of fatal workplace accidents were private construction and private transportation. Private construction and warehousing accounted for 30 deaths, with specialty contracting comprising 22 of them; i.e., 73 percent. Private transportation accounted for 25 deaths, with general freight trucking comprising 13 of them; i.e., 52 percent. While the private construction death rate was unchanged from 2015, nine more private transportation and warehouse workers died in 2016 than in 2015. Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers accounted for 25 of the private transportation deaths, while general laborers accounted for eight of the 30 private construction deaths.
Men suffered 90 percent of North Carolina’s 2016 work-related fatalities. Other demographic groups included the following:
- White non-Hispanic workers suffered 63 percent of them.
- Workers between the ages of 25 and 54 suffered 57 percent of them.
- Wage-earners suffered 87 percent of them.
If you work in the transportation or construction industry, you would do well to take care at work and try to make your work site as safe as possible. Should you suffer an injury, see your doctor right away and consider speaking with a knowledgeable workplace injury attorney. (S)he can assess your injuries, how they happened, and advise you whether or not you have a valid personal injury claim against your employer.