Workplace injuries and fatalities decline in North Carolina

“Hi honey, I’m home!” can perhaps be the most important words a spouse can say to their significant others-it implies the person is home from work, safe and sound with little to no injury on the job. Even though some jobs are inherently more dangerous than others, such as construction workers compared to office workers, the hazards that face workers daily in the office are many as some illnesses take time to manifest. It is an employer’s duty to create a safe working environment for their workers, but there are instances when the employer fails in their duty and workers sustain a workplace injury.

The North Carolina Department of Labor released figures demonstrating the number of deaths caused by workplace injuries has decreased in the past year, from 38 in 2012 to 24 in 2013-a drop of 39 percent. The injury and illness rate has also decreased to 2.9 percent for every 100 full-time workers, the lowest it has ever been in the history of the state. Though no number other than zero should be acceptable, the dropping numbers show a trend in that direction.

When a worker is hurt on the job, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration usually comes to the site to investigate the accident. If it determines that the employer violated safety regulations, they may end up holding the employer liable by imposing a hefty fine on them. They may also ensure that the negligent employer rectifies the unsafe working environment so future accidents do not take place.

A worker injured on the job has the right to file a workers’ compensation claim. If the worker dies as a result of their injuries, their family may be able to file the claim on their behalf. While the Department of Labor works to erase workplace injuries, workers themselves should be aware of their rights in case they do get injured.

Source: The Dispatch, “Labor Department honors companies for safety,” Sharon Myers, April 16, 2014

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