Workplace fatalities in North Carolina increased to 63 last year from 49 in 2021, a 28% increase, according to the N.C. Department of Labor. But the total was lower than in 2020, when 65 such fatalities were recorded.
Construction workers suffered the most work-related fatalities with 21 in 2022, six more than in 2021. Most of the construction industry deaths were due to falls from elevation. The services industry had the second-highest number of work-related deaths with 11. Manufacturing had the third-highest number with 10.
In addition, agriculture, forestry and fishing had nine fatalities in 2022, four more than in 2021; there were seven fatalities in government occupations, a decrease from 10 in 2021.
“Each of these fatalities represents a person who was not able to go home to their family at the end of the day,” Jennifer Haigwood, deputy commissioner of the Occupational Safety and Health Division, said in a press release. “Nearly all workplace fatalities are avoidable, and our mission at the OSH Division is to work with employers and employees to ensure that these tragedies are prevented in the future.”
The Occupational Safety and Health Division also inspected three cases reported as deaths related to COVID-19, compared with 25 COVID-19 related deaths in 2021.
On Jan. 3, three Latino workers died after falling 70 feet from a scaffolding at an apartment construction site near downtown Charlotte. The incident occurred at the 16-story Hanover East Morehead apartments.
State safety investigators say tracking workplace fatalities help them place emphasis on counties or regions where deaths on the job are happening. The department can also notify industries of any concerning patterns or trends identified and issue hazard alerts.
Durham County had six workplace fatalities, followed by Wake and Johnston counties with five workplace fatalities each. Guilford and Mecklenburg counties experienced three workplace fatalities each. There were nine counties that experienced two workplace fatalities each. Twenty-six counties experienced one workplace fatality each, while 60 didn’t report a work-related death.
Whites accounted for 34 of the 63 non COVID-19 work-related fatalities. Hispanics accounted for 20, Blacks for eight and Native Americans for one. Men accounted for 54 deaths and women accounted for nine non COVID-19 workplace deaths.