More than 50 killed in North Carolina workplace accidents in 2011

When someone suffers an accidental death on the job, his or her survivors often face financial challenges in addition to emotional anguish. Though no amount of money can temper the grief of a tragic loss, compensation can sometimes be obtained through workers’ compensation or wrongful death suits to mitigate lost income, funeral and medical expenses and emotional damages.

Many families in North Carolina have faced the reality of losing a loved one to an on-the-job accident. The North Carolina Department of Labor announced last week that 53 people died in 2011 in work accidents. In 2010, 50 workers died in such incidents.

There were a variety of causes for the fatalities – including tragic falls, heat-related deaths and being struck by vehicles and equipment. However, the labor commissioner has said that each fatality shared one very disappointing element in common. They were all preventable, she said.

Safety and health training could have prevented each fatal workplace accident of 2011, according to the labor commissioner.

The accidents took place in a variety of industries. Construction lead with 16 fatalities; 10 workers died in the agriculture, forestry and fishing field; six transportation and public utility workers died in workplace accidents; there were five fatalities in the government; five in wholesale trade; four in retail trade; four in the service industry; and three in manufacturing.

The sudden death of a loved one in any accident certainly brings grief and an uncertain future to a family. Hopefully, with added safety training, we will see a decrease of such tragedies in 2012, rather than another increase.

Source:, “Workplace fatalities up in 2011,” Matthew Burns, Jan. 13, 2011

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