Business Briefs

Workplace fatalities up in 2011

Posted January 13, 2012 3:54 p.m. EST

— Fifty-three people died in on-the-job accidents in North Carolina in 2011, up from 50 the previous year, the state Department of Labor said Thursday.

One-third of the deaths occurred when workers were struck by vehicles or equipment, while another third resulted from falls. Four workers suffered heat-related fatalities.

“The real tragedy is that all of these fatalities could have been avoided by having proper safety and health training, which we provide free of charge,” Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry said in a statement. “I encourage all employers to pick up the phone and call the Department of Labor to take advantage of our safety training services that are customized to meet their specific needs.”

Construction was the leading industry group for fatalities with 16, down from 17 in 2010. Fatalities in agriculture, forestry and fishing increased from four in 2010 to 10 in 2011. Transportation and public utility fatalities increased from five in 2010 to six in 2011. The number of fatalities in government increased from none in 2010 to five in 2011.

Wholesale trade experienced five fatalities, and retail trade experienced four in 2011, no change from 2010. There were four fatalities in the service industry, a decrease from six in 2010. Manufacturing dropped from six fatalities in 2010 to three in 2011. There were no fatalities in the finance, insurance and real estate industry, a decrease from three in 2010.

Wake County experienced the most fatalities with six, followed by five in Mecklenburg County and three each in Durham and Forsyth counties. There were no work-related fatalities in 67 of North Carolina’s 100 counties.