The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics keeps track of fatal occupational accidents for many fields of work, including the construction industry. For North Carolina, examination of the BLS data reveals that there is no one prevailing source of fatal incidents.
The BLS breaks down sources of fatal accidents into six categories. Two of these, fires and explosions, and violence by people or animals, produced no construction fatalities. The other four all did over the period from 2011 through 2013, the most recent year for which information is available online.
The four relevant event categories for construction accidents include transportation incidents, slips, falls and trips, harmful substance or environmental exposures and contact with equipment or objects.
Comparing the data for the three years in question does not lend itself to identifying any one dominant cause of fatal work accidents in construction. The fatalities are usually spread out across all four categories, but the categories that are usually better-represented are falls, trips and slips and transportation incidents. These accounted for more than half of fatalities in all three years:
- 18 of 32 deaths in 2011
- 12 of 18 deaths in 2012
- 13 of 20 deaths in 2013
The takeaways from the BLS data are that in North Carolina construction accidents, including fatal accidents, are something that happen every year, and that eligibility for workers' compensation claims will include not only injured workers but surviving families of workers whose injuries prove lethal.
Understanding how to properly apply for workers' compensation benefits and how to overcome procedural obstacles that can arise during the benefit claim process is critical to receiving benefits in as timely a manner as possible, and something that a workers' compensation law practice is ideally suited to help with.