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How common are workplace accidents?

Every year, millions of workers are hurt and injured in accidents on job sites and workplaces in North Carolina and around the country. Workplace deaths and injuries have declined 65 percent and 67 percent respectively since the 1970s, but continued outreach and education around workplace safety can drive on the job accident rates down even further.

A workplace accident can happen in any industry, but certain industries experience higher instances of workplace accidents and work-related fatalities. Risky industries such as construction experience the highest rate of nonfatal and fatal work-related injuries among all American workers. Four out of every 100 construction workers sustain a workplace injury each year, and nearly 10 out of every 100,000 construction workers die on the job every year. The fatality and on the job injury rate is even higher for Latino workers who may be inadequately trained by negligent employers or may have language barriers that prevent them from fully understanding safety rules.

According to OSHA, electrocutions, falls, falling dobjects, and being caught in or between machinery and objects attribute to more than 50 percent of construction job fatalities and injuries. Eradicating these four hazards would save the lives of several hundred construction workers every year and prevent thousands of construction job injuries.

Although the rules for reporting workplace injuries and fatalities have become stricter, some employers may try to downplay the seriousness of workplace injuries to keep the amount of workers' compensation claims their employees file to a minimum. Workers who are involved in a workplace accident have the right to time off and compensation for medical expenses, and an attorney with experience in workplace injuries may be able to assist employees in filing a workers' compensation claim.

Source: CDC, "Nonfatal Injury and Illness in Construction", October 15, 2014

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