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How safe are Asheville-area workers?

The North Carolina Department of Labor is tasked with ensuring that the 4 million workers in the state are safe in workplaces around the states. It is important for workers in the state and in the Asheville area to understand threats to worker health and safety. Understanding the risks and realities associated with workplace safety can help workers, and their families, better understand their rights and options when harmed in a workplace accident.

During the 2013 fiscal year, from October to September, there were 33 workplace fatalities in North Carolina. The Asheville area accounted for five fatalities of the 33 total. During the fiscal year 2014, from October to September, there were a total of 40 workplace fatalities in North Carolina. Of the 40 fatalities, the Asheville area accounted for six of them.

For the current fiscal year, which began in October 2014, six workplace fatalities have been reported in North Carolina through the end of the year. During that short period, there were not any workplace fatalities in Asheville. Consistently, being struck by objects, being caught in between objects and falls are the most significant threat to the health and safety of workers. While a variety of industries, such as the service and transportation industries, suffer workplace fatalities in North Carolina, the construction, agriculture and manufacturing industries see the highest numbers of fatalities.

While workers can be significantly harmed by a workplace accident, families can be seemingly immeasurably harmed by a workplace fatality. Families may lose the companionship of a loved one and the loss of support and services, as well as important income. Because of the serious nature of workplace safety, and the consequences when it is compromised, it is important that workers and their families understand the requirements for worker safety and the legal remedies in place to protect them when harmed.

Source: North Carolina Department of Labor, "About Us," accessed on Feb. 2, 2015

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