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Employer negligence blamed for falls in the workplace

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration exists to ensure that workplaces around the nation follow proper procedure to ensure the safety of employees. Though most employers in North Carolina and elsewhere do whatever is necessary to keep workers safe and healthy, a troubling statistic has emerged that calls that idea into question. The Bureau of Labor found that the number of workers who suffer a fatal fall while at work is growing. Experts say that employer negligence may be the root cause.

There are multiple safety standards set by OSHA that aim to reduce and eliminate the number of falls at workplaces. However, the report from the Bureau of Labor found that in 2017, 887 workers died after experiencing a fall. The percentage of workplace fatalities due to falls was 17%, but when looking at just the construction industry, that same percentage balloons to nearly 40%. Researchers say that the rise of the construction post-recession may account for the increase, since it means that less-experienced workers may be joining the growing industry.

Federal agencies, including OSHA, have created a public awareness campaign that includes additional safety training in the hopes that it will help prevent deaths. However, it is unclear if smaller companies are accessing this training. OSHA's fall safety regulations are not universal across different industries, and contractors who don't employ a great number of people may not be privy to this helpful information.

Employer negligence should never be the reason a person is hurt while at work. Employees here in North Carolina have a reasonable expectation of safety at any kind of workplace. Though certain industries are undeniably more dangerous than others, workers and their families have certain rights if they experience an injury on the job or if a loved one loses his or her life due to a workplace accident. An experienced workers' compensation attorney can help an employee or his or her family understand those rights.

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