Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler

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North Carolina workplace fatalities reached a six-year high

The North Carolina Department of Labor reports that there were 48 work-related fatalities in the state in 2016. This preliminary data shows an uptick in fatal accidents compared to last year and the highest total since 2011. 

Falls and struck-by incidents account for the majority of these fatalities, 12 and 19 respectively. Many experts believe that these types of accidents can be prevented with proper safety measures, education and training. 

"Year after year, we see falls and struck-by incidents take the lives of too many workers," Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry said in a statement. "Falls and struck-bys are especially troubling because we know nearly all these types of workplace accidents can be prevented when proper safety training is coupled with the proper use of personal protective equipment."

The Labor report figure does not include workers who are killed in automobile accidents, statistics that would likely double the total. It also does not include suspected homicides or suicides under investigation by law enforcement.

Construction and manufacturing accounted for more than half of workplace fatalities in 2016. There were 15 reported work fatalities in construction and 12 in manufacturing. In many of these cases, a worker was doing a job without proper training.

"Businesses are expected to train their employees and know the standards," said Labor Department spokeswoman Dolores Quesenberry. "You can't just put somebody out on a roof if they haven't been properly trained."

If your loved one has died due to a workplace accident, you may be entitled to death benefits through workers' compensation. It may be beneficial to discuss your situation with an experienced attorney.

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