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Many workplace accidents prevalent and preventable

According to a new report released by the National Council on Occupational Safety and Health, workplace injuries are far too common in North Carolina and around the country. More than 50,000 employees die each year as a result of injuries sustained on the job. This is quite upsetting, considering the fact that people who are killed on the job are just trying to earn a living.

Some of the critical findings from the report include that sudden and traumatic injuries are a major concern, since over 4,000 workers died from these accidents in 2012. Occupational illnesses, too, took their toll on a dedicated workforce: the cost to the U.S. economy for those problems totals more than $45 billion, yielding over 50,000 deaths every year.

The study found that workplace precautions can help to reduce these injuries and workers' compensation claims. One such example was limiting employee exposure to silica, which would reduce estimated annual deaths by 700. Silica is known for causing cancer, lung disease, and silicosis.

North Carolina residents may be interested to know the six primary causes of death for workers included:

  • Workplace violence
  • Falls from a higher level
  • Contact with unsafe equipment and objects
  • Transportation accidents
  • Fires and explosions
  • Exposure to harmful substances

Despite safety standards and guidelines that are promoted every year by OSHA to minimize injuries like these, serious work accidents and deaths still happen.

The fact that so many of these deaths are preventable is a clear signal that employers can do more in ensuring that environments, safety gear and training are all promoting a safe and accident-free workplace. In the meantime, employees should remember that they do have the right to speak with an attorney and possibly pursue compensation if they are injured on the job.

Source: EHS Today, "Report: 50,000+ fatalities annually from workplace injuries and illnesses," Sandy Smith, April 28, 2014

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