Employment is a necessary part of most people’s lives. Even those who work in industries with an increased risk of injury or death likely never think that a workplace accident will happen to them. The unfortunate reality is that many people are hurt on the job, and some even lose their lives. There is good news, however — the North Carolina Department of Labor says that the rate of workplace deaths in 2018 decreased from the number reported in 2017.

The decrease is only slight — there was one less death in 2018 than in 2017 — but the Occupational Safety and Health Division of the state’s DOL remains optimistic about its efforts to lower these fatalities. The Labor Commissioner says that tracking these deaths is vital to raise awareness of potential dangers at workplaces. He also says it allows them to determine ways to prevent the incidents from ever happening.

The construction industry has the highest rate of fatalities, reporting 16 deaths last year. Manufacturing was next with eight, though that is lower than the figure from 2017 of 11. Other industries that saw a decrease are government and wholesale trade. The services industry and the transportation and public utilities industry saw increases. The most common kind of fatal workplace accident was “struck-by” incidents.

Though the North Carolina Department of Labor is doing its part to try and end fatal workplace incidents, they will, sadly, still occur. The families of employees who die as a result of a workplace accident have the right to pursue claims for workers’ compensation survivor benefits. Those families who have questions about the process may find it helpful to get advice from a seasoned attorney who specializes in this area of the law. Doing so may be the best way to cover any costs that can arise from such a tragedy.