In 2015, there were over 74,000 nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in North Carolina’s private industry. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that was 2.6 workers per 100 full-time workers, a relatively high rate, though lower than the national rate of 3 per 100.

Workplace injuries can typically be avoided with good safety procedures, but they still take place throughout the state.The sectors of industry with the most injuries and illnesses were trade, transportation, manufacturing and utilities. Interestingly, out of the 74,100 cases, a little over half were severe or severe enough to cause missed days from work, transfers to different jobs or positions or restrictions. A total of 38,300 cases were considered to be of severe natures.

How many of these cases were illnesses?

In all, 96.4 percent of all illnesses and injuries were actually injuries, with workplace illnesses accounting for only 2,700 cases. There were three categories that stood out. These included respiratory conditions, skin disorders and hearing loss. They made up 37 percent of all the occupational illnesses in the state, whereas they made up 36 percent nationally.

With these conditions, the workers could be suffering from things like asthma, mesothelioma, hearing loss from exposure to loud noises or machinery or skin disorders from exposure to the sun or chemicals. There are many different conditions covered by these umbrella terms.

Workers who suffer on-the-job illnesses have a right to seek out workers’ compensation and appropriate medical care. Like an injury, an illness can have a significant impact on a person’s life and should be treated fairly by the person’s employer and insurance coverage.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Employer-Reported Workplace Injuries and Illnesses in North Carolina – 2015,” accessed Jan. 10, 2017