The rate of injuries or illnesses at work has dropped in North Carolina.
The North Carolina Department of Labor reported that fatalities dropped from 53 in 2011 to 35 in 2012. The rate of injuries or sickness dropped last year to 2.9 incidents for every 100 full-time employees. The rate had been 3.1 per 100 workers during the previous three years.
In 1999, the rate was nearly twice as high.
Officials attributed the drop in part to the state’s own efforts at accident prevention.
Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry said last year the department vowed to redouble its prevention activities.
The Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Division said it has established partnerships with some of the most hazardous industries. The division has also issued hazard alerts regarding forklifts, struck-bys, heat stress and firefighter safety after identifying problems in those areas the previous year, according to Allen McNeely, director of the OSH division.
Based on most recent injury and illness rate data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, North Carolina remains one of the top 10 safest states in which to work.
The North Carolina OSH has identified four hazards known as “the big four” that have caused 80 percent of the work-related deaths in North Carolina during the past decade. The leading cause of the work-related fatalities in 2012 was struck-by events with 14. Six workers were caught in/between objects, and five workers died in falls from elevations. Four were electrocuted. Six workers died in other fatal events.
Construction was the leading industry for fatal accidents with 10 in 2012, a decrease from 16 in 2011. Agriculture, forestry and fishing had the second highest number of deaths with seven, down from 10 in 2011. The number of fatalities in manufacturing increased from three in 2011 to six in 2012. The services industry also saw an increase in fatalities, from four in 2011 to six in 2012.
Wholesale trade experienced three fatalities, and retail trade experienced one in 2012. There was one fatality in the transportation and public utility industry as well as one in the public sector.
There were no work-related fatalities in 75 of North Carolina’s 100 counties. Gaston,
Mecklenburg and Wake experienced three fatalities each. Four counties had two fatalities. They were Harnett, Iredell, Rockingham and Sampson. There were 18 counties that experienced one fatality.
Whites accounted for 21 of the 35 workplace deaths. Blacks accounted for five, and Hispanics for nine. Men accounted for 34 of the 35 workplace fatalities.