North Carolina reports highest number of workplace deaths in a decade, Department of Labor says

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Ninety-one workers died on the job in 2020, marking the highest number of work-related deaths in a decade, according to a report released by the state Department of Labor on Friday.

In a year troubled by the COVID-19 pandemic, the department said there were 26 COVID-19 related deaths. The remaining 65 deaths were non-COVID-19 work-related fatalities.

In the report, the Department of Labor took into account that not everyone had the ability to work from home, which would then lead to a higher probability of exposure to COVID-19, most notably in areas including healthcare facilities such as hospitals, medical doctor offices, nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

"Safety and health are in the forefront of all of our minds as we work to navigate this current public health crisis," Labor Commissioner Josh Dobson said. "In 2021, we will continue working toward our core mission by concentrating our education, training and compliance resources on high hazard industries, while also working with employers and employees on best practices for reducing the risk of COVID-19 in the workplace."

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So far, 40 complaints have been filed with the Department of Labor concerning safety due to COVID-19 fears and investigations are underway.



The Department of Labor noted that the most common work-related death in 2020 for the Tar Heel State were results of 'struck-by' incidents.

Construction workers suffered the most number of losses with 26 deaths, five more than in 2019. The construction industry was followed by the services industry with 22 work-related deaths, an increase of 15 than the previous year. The third-highest number of work-related deaths came from the manufacturing industry with 15 deaths, seven more than in 2019.

On the bright side, the Department of Labor reported that out of North Carolina's 100 counties, 55 of them went without work-related fatalities.

Mecklenburg County had the most workplace fatalities with nine, Wake County followed behind with eight and Guilford County with six.

Of the non-COVID-19 work-related deaths, 65 were men, four were women.

In 2019, the Department of Labor documented only 55 workplace deaths. In the last decade, 2013 had the lowest number of work-related deaths with 23.
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