Workplace deaths in NC were up over 90% last year in North Carolina, jumping from 23 in 2013, to 44 in 2014.  The construction industry accounted for 19 on-the-job deaths in 2014, up from 12 in 2013. Many of the deaths in the construction industry occurred within ninety days of the employee beginning the job, suggesting that insufficient training or inexperience played a role in the workplace death, suggesting inexperience or insufficient training might be to blame.

Manufacturing accounted for nine deaths in 2014, up from five in 2013.  Six service industry workers died on the job in 2014, up dramatically from one 2013.  Deaths in agriculture, forestry and fishing were down from seven in 2013 to three in 2014.

Eighteen of the workplace deaths in NC resulted from the worker being struck by an object. Thirteen deaths resulted from falls. Seven workers were crushed to death.

Eleven of the deceased workers were Hispanic. Forty-two of the 43 were men.  The average age of the deceased workers was 43-years old. The youngest was 20 and the oldest was 82.

There were five workplace deaths in Mecklenburg County in 2014. Three occurred in Wake County and Union County, and two each in Forsyth, Gaston, Guilford, Henderson and Pender.

The data on workplace deaths in NC was released by the NC Department of Labor and reported by Triangle Business Journal. According to TBJ Builders Mutual Insurance Company and Univision have funded public service announcements addressing top construction hazards.

To receive death benefits under workers’ compensation in NC an employee’s death must:

  1. be related to a compensable injury or disease.  The injury or illness does not have to be the sole cause of the death. Workers’ Comp death benefits in NC may be allowed when an injury or occupational disease significantly contributes to the death or accelerates or aggravates a previously existing condition which then causes the death.
  2. occur within the latter of 1) six years from the date of an injury by accident (or onset of disability related to an occupational disease), or 2) two years of a “final determination of disability.”  A “final determination of disability” is an order by the North Carolina Industrial Commission that addresses the injured workers’ disability.

The survivors of a deceased worker should file a Form 18 with the NC Industrial Commission within thirty days of a work related death, and provide a copy to the employer.  A claim for death benefits in NC under the Workers’ Compensation Act may be barred if the claim is not filed with the NC Industrial Commission within two years of the date of death.

The NC Industrial Commission will decide questions of whether someone is entitled to workers’ comp death benefits in NC and the respective rights of claimants

More information about when death benefits are owed under workers’ comp in NC, and who should receive the NC workers’ comp death benefits can be found here.

Please call or email for your free consultation with Raleigh area NC workers’ comp lawyer Kevin Bunn.



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