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Contact: Neal O'Briant
Jan. 18, 2006
(919) 715-3233

Workplace Fatalities Drop

RALEIGH—Figures released by the N.C. Department of Labor on Friday show that 80 workers in North Carolina died in workplace incidents in 2005, three fewer than the previous year.

“ We’re encouraged by the improvement we’ve seen in workplace safety in our state,” said N.C. Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry. “We’ve worked extremely hard to bring a new level of safety for the people of this state, and this reduction is a good, good sign.”

The labor department in recent years has emphasized increased safety training for workers and free consultative services in work safety for employers. One initiative has been free construction safety forums conducted throughout the state.

The number of construction deaths dropped from 37 in 2004 to 27 in 2005, but construction was still the leading industry with 34 percent of the fatalities. Manufacturing was second with 22 fatalities, followed by agriculture, forestry and fishing with 13.
Struck-by fatalities accounted for 25 deaths. Falls were the second-leading cause of death with 20.

Of the total number of fatalities, 77 were men and three were women. There were 52 fatalities involving whites, 14 blacks and 14 Hispanics.

“ We are encouraged by the improvement but know that even one death is one too many,” said Allen McNeely, director of the Occupational Safety and Health Division. “The latest numbers show that our safety programs are catching on. We just need to do more to spread the word farther, and we will.”

Berry credited employers and employee groups for implementing safety programs that have reduced work hazards.

“ We’ve worked with employers and industry groups to develop better safety programs to protect their workers,” Berry said. “The emphasis on safety is obviously producing real results.”

There were 86 fatalities in 2003.

The labor department compiles the report based on workplace fatalities investigated by the agency’s Occupational Safety and Health Division.



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