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161 Deaths and 95,000 Injuries on the Job in NC

April 28, 2010

RALEIGH, N.C. - In North Carolina, 161 people died and almost 95,000 were injured - and it all happened on the job, in a single year. As the nation marks Workers Memorial Day today (Wednesday), a new report from the AFL-CIO documents fatalities and injuries across the country.

Although the West Virginia coal mine disaster is fresh in everyone's minds, James Andrews, North Carolina state AFL-CIO president, wants people to remember that workers die every week on the job here as well.

"When workers leave home to go to work, their family expects them to return home in the same condition they left."

Andrews says North Carolina has worked diligently to improve workplace safety since the loss of 25 workers in the Hamlet chicken processing plant fire in 1991.

"Since that time, we've changed our laws here in North Carolina. We've got some targeted inspections based on accident rates in industry."

More than 5,000 employees died while at work nationwide in 2008, the latest year for which statistics are available; the new report lists Wyoming as the most dangerous place to work. The state-by-state numbers do not reflect the recent accident in West Virginia, but that state will likely take the top spot as "most dangerous" in next year's report because of those deaths.

The report is available online at www.aflcio.org.

Deb Courson, Public News Service - NC