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Mixed news on safety in North Carolina workplaces

Let's look some more at the recent report from the North Carolina Department of Labor and its mixed news for workers and workers' families. Our state's work-related injury and illness rate continues to drop.

In 2015, the injury and illness rate fell to 2.6 per 100 full-time employees. That puts North Carolina in the top 10 safest states in the nation in which to work.

The downside of the report is that the state's Occupational Safety and Health Division says that there were 48 work-related deaths in North Carolina last year. Struck-by incidents accounted for the most fatalities with 19 in 2016. Twelve workers were killed in fall-related incidents.

Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry said seven of the deaths in the state's construction industry last year were caused by falls from roofs. She said the average age of those killed in all work accidents last year was 42.

"These were someone's husband or wife, mother or father, brother or sister, son or daughter, and in some cases grandparent," Berry said.

She said both employers and workers should be aware of what she calls the Big Four: falls, struck-by incidents, electrocutions and caught-in/between incidents. The four categories account for 80 percent or more of work-related fatalities, Berry said.

The most dangerous line of work here: Construction, with 19 deaths last year (up seven from 2015). Second on the list was manufacturing with nine fatalities (down from 11 in 2015).

For many workers, an on-the-job injury means medical bills, lost wages and more. They depend on workers' compensation. When that earned benefit is denied, they are often in serious financial trouble.

An experienced Charlotte workers' comp attorney can help you fight for your rights and benefits.

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