Injured worker

Construction workers tend to an injury.

North Carolina’s workplace injury and illness rate is once again below the national average, according to a survey of occupational injuries and illnesses.

There were 2.4 reported cases of injury or illness per 100 full-time workers in the state’s private sector in 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ figures.

“I am pleased with the survey results for North Carolina especially when you consider the growth our state experienced in 2018,” North Carolina Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry said. “This is positive news for employers and employees who have embraced a safety and health culture from the mountains to the coast.”  

The rate marks a historic decline in the Tar State. According to the report, North Carolina fell below 4.0 cases in 2006 and has continued to stay well below that since then. Cases fell to 2.3 in 2017, which was the all-time lowest rate. However, work-related deaths in the state increased between 2016 and 2017 by 0.8 per 100,000 full-time employers.

The BLS' Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses calculates all of the nonfatal incidents in the workforce. It takes into account growth and contraction in total hours worked in each industry.

North Carolina ranks in the top 10 among the states that participated in the survey. The District of Columbia has a rate of 1.7, while Louisiana is the top state with 1.8.

South Carolina also has a reported rate of 2.4.

The highest occurrences of injuries and illnesses were reported in the agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting industry nationally at 5.3 per 100 full-time workers.

North Carolina saw a 0.7 increase in construction incidents. Now at 2.5. However, the state still falls below the national rate for the industry, which is 3.0.

The state’s Occupational Safety and Health Division vows to continue its focus on the construction and manufacturing industries by providing free safety training and education, consultation and partnerships, representatives said.

Staff Reporter

Nyamekye Daniel has been a journalist for three years. She was the managing editor for the South Florida Media Network and a staff writer for The Miami Times. Daniel's work has also appeared in the Sun-Sentinel, Miami Herald and The New York Times.