Preliminary Records of 2011 Work Accidents in North Carolina Released

January 24, 2012, by

The preliminary numbers have been released regarding the number of work-related accidents in North Carolina in 2011, according to the North Carolina Department of Labor. Through the preliminary results, more than 50 people died on the job in the state during the year, which illustrates an increase from the 2010 numbers.
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Through the preliminary results, the Department's Occupational Safety and Health Division has identified four work hazards, that they refer to as "the big four," that caused roughly 80 percent of all of the work-related fatalities throughout the year.

Our Rutherfordton workers compensation attorneys understand that the number one cause of work-related deaths was struck-by accidents. These types of accidents accounted for nearly 20 of the 53 recorded work fatalities during 2011. In addition to these fatal incidents, about 17 people died from fall-related accidents, another five were killed after being crushed by objects and one worker was electrocuted. There were 12 other fatal work accidents, including four that were head-related accidents.

"The extreme heat contributed to four workplace deaths last year after not having any since2006," Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry said. "The department will continue its heat stress initiative that we kicked off last year. We are urging employers and employees to recommit themselves to safety and health in 2012."

Although more than 50 people died in 2011 from on-the-job accidents, the state's illness and injury rate is the lowest it has ever been for the private industry. This statistic provides a peek into the safety measures being taken on job sites statewide. The illness and injury rate has declined from more than 5 per 100 full-time employees in 2000 to just over 3 per 100 full-time employees in 2010.

According to Allen McNeely, director of the Occupational Safety and Health Division, the illness and injury rate is falling steadily because the state is fortunate enough to have employers who value the safety and health of employees.

McNeely plans on continuing on in the training and education process and to reach out to employers who need help with these kinds of safety programs. All employers should be provided with the resources to keep employees safe and happy on the job.

The construction industry ranked in at number one for the most fatal industry. The construction industry had 16 fatal work accidents in 2011. While this is a decrease from the 17 experienced in 2010, it's still far too many employee fatalities.

More Industry Fatalities Numbers:

-The fishing, forestry and agriculture industry wasn't as fortunate. This industry went from four fatalities in 2010 to about 10 in 2010.

-The public utility facilities and transportation industry increased from five fatalities in 2010 to six in 2011.

-The government industry saw an increase in the number of fatal work accidents from zero in 2010 to five in 2011.

-The wholesale trade industry saw five fatalities. Zero change from 2010.

-The retail trade industry saw four fatalities. Zero change from 2010.

-The service industry experienced four work-related fatalities. This number illustrates a decrease from the six experienced in 2010.

-Manufacturing went from six fatalities in 2010 to only three in 2011.

-While there were three fatalities in the insurance, real estate and finance industry in 2010, there were none in 2011.

According to Commissioner Berry, the real tragedy is that all of these fatal work-accidents could have been prevented if adequate health and safety training practices were in place. Berry reminds employers that these programs are available to them free of charge through the Department of Labor.

There were no work-related deaths in 67 of the 100 North Carolina counties.

Most Dangerous Counties:

-Wake County: 6 fatalities.

-Mecklenburg County: 5 fatalities.

-Durham: 3 fatalities.

-Forsyth 3 fatalities.

-Buncombe: 2 fatalities.

-Cabarrus: 2 fatalities.

-Franklin: 2 fatalities.

-Henderson: 2 fatalities.

-Lee: 2 fatalities.

-Scotland: 2 fatalities.

-Union: 2 fatalities.

Men accounted for 52 out of the 53 work-related fatalities in North Carolina in 2011.

If you or a family member has been injured at work, contact the Rutherfordton workers' compensation attorneys at Grimes Teich Anderson LLP. Call 1.800.533.6845. No Attorney Fees Until You've Been Paid.

More Blog Entries:

Fewer State OSHA Inspections Leave Employees at High Risk of Work Injuries in North Carolina, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, October 14, 2011