North Carolina's Department of Labor has released preliminary data about workplace fatalities for 2017. Struck-by incidents and falls, especially within the construction industry, represented the primary causes of worker deaths in the state. The department's Occupational Safety and Health Division plans to update its strategies in 2018 to improve safety in the most hazardous occupations. The division's director said that the agency would make an extra effort to focus safety compliance efforts on industries with multiple fatalities.
The construction industry is the most hazardous for workers in North Carolina. Sixteen out of the 40 people who died on the job in 2017 were construction workers. The labor commissioner recognized the human loss beyond the statistics and urged commercial and residential construction companies to participate in a nationwide safety stand-down scheduled in May 2018. They can use that time to emphasize safety training and discuss fall prevention with workers.
According to the state, falls caused 13 people to lose their lives in 2017. Moving objects killed 14 workers. Although the preliminary fatality figures for 2017 were lower by 10 deaths from 2016, state safety officials will continue to pursue better results.
Safety cultures at workplaces vary, but the nature of construction work creates dangers that lead to accidents even when people strive for safety. Someone hurt in a construction site accident has a right to file a claim for workers' compensation benefits regardless of the presence or absence of negligence. Legal representation could help a person access benefits, especially if an employer does not want an injury reported. An attorney could challenge attempts by an employer to prevent the filing of a claim. Legal services could also include preparing insurance paperwork and litigation if necessary.