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More North Carolina workers died last year than thought

Many residents in the state of North Carolina may have taken pride in the news that in 2012, only 35 individuals died while working. Though this is the number reported by the North Carolina Department of Labor regarding injured workers who died, the National Council on Occupational Safety and Health apparently does not find it to be accurate. It recently released a report that while acknowledging the number of deaths related to workplace incidents is down, indicated they were still close to three times as many as the report released by the N.C. Department of Labor.

Workplace incidents that result in the death of a worker can take many forms. There can be accidents at the location from which the business is run such as offices or factories. In other instances, construction workers are involved in accidents at construction sites. There are other scenarios in which a death can occur as well. Unfortunately many work related deaths involve motor vehicle accidents or violence in the workplace. The failure of the N.C. Department of Labor to include these deaths is reportedly what resulted in the lower numbers. The North Carolina report also failed to include deaths that involved those who employed themselves.

While as mentioned above even when accounting for the additional deaths the number overall in the state of North Carolina has decreased, according to the report from the National Council on Occupational Safety and Health, it could be lower. This could possibly be reached through harsher action on the part of the group that oversees workplace safety in North Carolina--N.C. OSHA. The U.S Labor Department conducted an audit in 2010 that among other things discovered the state did not handle workplace complaints or prescribe large enough fines to employers deemed to be in violation of safety standards.

Source: Charlotte Observer, "NC job deaths undercounted, study finds," Ames Alexander, April 30, 2013

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