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DOL finalizes 2014 workplace fatality numbers

North Carolina residents may not understand how extensive the problem of workplace accidents and deaths around the country truly is. The Department of Labor recently issued finalized fatality statistics for 2014. The finalized numbers show increases over the preliminary numbers that were released in September 2015.

According to the DOL, 4,821 people were killed in U.S. workplace accidents during 2014. Previously, the agency had reported 4,679 deaths for the year. The number of deaths in 2014 was the highest number reported since 2008. The fatality rate per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers was 3.4, which was the first time since 2010 that the national fatality rate had risen.

The numbers were finalized following the updates to the 2014 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. Some of the changes happened because of reports that were made after the numbers were initially counted. Within the private construction industry, 25 more deaths were added, bringing the total to 899 fatalities. This number was an increase of 9 percent over the fatalities that happened in 2013. It was also the highest number of fatalities that happened in the industry since 2008. Across all industry lines, nearly 1,700 workers at or over the age of 55 died in workplace accidents. This was the highest total ever recorded.

When workers are killed on the job, their families usually struggle financially. The workers' compensation insurance program in North Carolina allows the immediate family members of those who are killed in workplace accidents to file claims for benefits. The amount and scope of these death benefits can be explained by an attorney who has experience with these matters and who can provide assistance during the filing process.

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