Workers should expect safety at work. Every day, workers in Ashville, North Carolina, are injured or killed on the job. In 2019, the state saw 186 deaths from work-related injuries. This was an increase from the previous year.
Wrongful deaths occur at work, often leaving the worker’s survivors to bear the cost of :
- Medical and rehabilitation expenses resulting from the injury
- The deceased’s pain and suffering before his or her death
- Reasonable funeral and burial expenses
- Lost income
- Loss of the deceased person’s services, protection, care, and assistance
- Loss of society, companionship, comfort, guidance, and advice
Here are some important FAQs about job-related deaths in North Carolina.
What Are The Top Jobs Reporting The Most Fatal Accidents?
Some of the most dangerous occupations in Asheville and its surrounding counties have been identified as:
- Electric power line worker
- Sanitation worker
- Taxi driver
Private construction was the single industry that suffered the most workplace fatalities in North Carolina, with 39.
What Are The North Carolina Workplace Death Trends?
North Carolina’s 2020 workplace fatalities were the highest in at least a decade. Nearly 60% of workplace deaths in North Carolina were caused by a transportation incident. Nationally, transportation incidents were the most common cause.
What Were The Leading Causes of Occupational Deaths in North Carolina Last Year?
The following four occupational hazards were responsible for many work-related deaths in North Carolina.
Falls From Elevation
The most dangerous falls can occur in the workplace of electricians, firefighters, and construction workers. Many of these falls can be avoided. Unfortunately, a Person County victim fell through a zinc roof and hit a rod sticking out of a table.
Struck by Events
According to the North Carolina Department of Labor, the “struck-by” incidents were responsible for the greatest number of workplace deaths.
The Department of Labor doesn’t count car accidents in their work fatality statistics (e.g. a truck driver who is killed in a collision), but they count any time a vehicle hits someone else, such as someone working at a highway construction site. Others who are struck by machinery or by something falling on them can also be killed.
Caught Between Objects And Machinery
This includes being caught in machinery or agricultural equipment, but it may also include digging trenches or excavation collapses, or cave-ins. According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, excavations account for 90% of all safety citations. Even something so simple as laying pipework close to a road can be deadly.
ABC Eyewitness News of Gastonia County covered a tragic incident in which a young man aged 19 was killed when he was dragged into a woodcutter. The business owner was so upset that he had a heart attack.
Although electrocutions can occur anywhere an electric current is altered, they are most often fatal when power lines are involved. People who work on scaffolds close to power lines and crane operators must be extra careful.
What Are The Most Dangerous Counties in North Carolina for Workplace Deaths?
The North Carolina Department of Labor compiles statistics on workplace deaths by county. Its figures do not include certain events that are outside of its jurisdiction. Traffic accidents account for almost half of all deaths related to work.
These limited statistics show that 45 of North Carolina’s 100 counties suffered workplace-related deaths in 2020. Only 24 counties had one fatality.
Top 3 Counties for Workplace-Related Fatalities in 2020:
- Mecklenburg County: 9
- Wake County: 8
- Guilford County: 6
Are Temporary Workers More Vulnerable to Job-related Fatalities?
According to the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, a report from the Labor Relations and Research Center at the University of Massachusetts shows that 90% of U.S. businesses use temporary labor.
According to the report, temps are sometimes not given enough training or are not skilled in protecting themselves at work. They are afraid of being replaced and so they hesitate to ask their employers for assistance. Temporary workers are often younger and less educated than their permanent counterparts. They also include minorities, many of whom might be immigrants.
The same is true for Ashville and the surrounding areas.
Why Are Temps at A Higher Risk of Job Fatalities?
Because staffing agencies have their workers’ comp insurance, there is little incentive for hosts employers to train and supervise temp employees. A recent Center for Public Integrity report on the plight of temporary workers revealed that agencies with a high rate of injuries in their workforce are subject to higher premiums.
There is also little financial accountability. The Occupational Safety & Health Act allows negligent employers to be fined a maximum of $7,000 for any safety violation that is deemed “serious”, even if they cause death.
What to Do If A Loved One Dies at Work?
It is important to know that survivors may be eligible for many workers’ comp benefits. To ensure you receive all the benefits you are entitled to, don’t depend on your loved one’s employer or workers’ compensation insurance company.
A worker who is injured on the job or in an accident at work may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits could include:
- Compensation up to 500 weeks
- Funeral expenses up to $10,000
- Medical expenses reimbursed