Workers in North Carolina and elsewhere may be putting their lives at stake each time that they report for duty. According to a report by the AFL-CIO, 5,190 workers were killed on the job in 2016, which is an increase from the death toll in 2015. As many as 60,000 more died because of exposure to chemicals or other occupational diseases. A worker’s risk of dying may depend on his or her age, nationality and occupation.
For instance, those who work in agriculture, fishing and hunting or forestry were the most likely to be killed on the job. Those industries had a fatality rate of 23.2 per 100,000 workers with the national average being 3.6 per 100,000. However, the construction industry logged the highest number of actual deaths with 991 in 2016. Latino workers had a fatality rate of 3.7 per 100,000 workers, which was higher than any other group.
Workers who are aged 65 and older are 2.5 times likelier to die on the job. Overall, 36 percent of those who died at work were aged 55 and older. A person was most likely to die in a transportation accident or as the result of violence at work. Wyoming, Alaska and Montana were the three states with the highest worker fatality rate with both North and South Dakota in the top five.
A worker who is exposed to toxic chemicals or other unsafe work conditions could become seriously sick or injured. Therefore, that person may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits may help pay for a person’s medical bills related to a workplace injury or illness. If an individual dies because of that injury or illness, his or her family may receive a death benefit. An attorney may assist a worker in obtaining these benefits.