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Work-related deaths peaked in North Carolina in 2014

On-the-job injury or death will always be a hazard in certain dustries, but 2014 was an especially bad year for North Carolina workers. The number of work-related deaths in the state nearly doubled from 2013 to 2014. Twenty-three work place fatalities were reported in 2013, and in 2014, that number rose sharply to 44 deaths.

A survey of the numbers by industry provides some insights. The construction industry accounted for 19 of the deaths, an increase of 12 over 2013. The data further shows that these deaths occur during the employee's first 60 to 90 days on the job. In second place in reporting the number of work place deaths was the manufacturing industry, which reported nine fatalities, five more than in 2013. Surprisingly, the services industry reported an increase from one work-related death in 2013 to six in 2014. North Carolina Labor Commission Cherie Berry says that the number of deaths in the construction industry is a "red flag" concerning inadequate training of new employees.

The statistics appear to show that only fatalities caused by on-the-job accidents were reported. Nowhere do the data show how many workers died from long term exposure to carcinogens such asbestos or other harmful chemicals. If these numbers had been included, the number of workplace deaths would have been much higher.

Regardless of the cause, a work-related death is a tragic event for every family who goes through the experience of losing a loved one due to an on-the-job accident. The laws of North Carolina provide two basic ways of recovering damages for such a loss. The workers' compensation law provides for the recovery of specified benefits from the employer. If a third party is at fault, the family of the dead employee can seek damages in a separate civil action. In any event, the services of an experienced personal injury attorney can maximize the chances of receiving full and adequate compensation for the tragedy.

Source: Triad Business Journal, "Work-related deaths nearly double in North Carolina in 2014," Lauren K. Ohnesorge, Jan. 23, 2015, accessed on Feb. 23, 2015

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