Special to Iredell Free News
RALEIGH — New figures show the nonfatal workplace injury and illness rate for the Tar Heel State’s private industry remained at a historic low for 2019 with a rate of 2.3 cases per 100 full-time workers, well below the national rate of 2.8.
These data are estimates from the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The rate accounts for growth and contraction in total hours worked in industry, which is an important factor in a state like North Carolina that has experienced significant growth.
“This downward trend has developed over nearly two decades and shows a safety culture has taken root in workplaces throughout our great state,” Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry said. “We are especially pleased that private industry construction saw a significant decrease in its total recordable rate from 2.5 to 1.6 and is significantly below the national case rate of 2.8 per 100 full-time workers.”
As a State-Plan state, North Carolina’s Occupational Safety and Health Division will continue its focus on hazardous industries — such as construction and manufacturing — through its special emphasis programs, by providing free safety training and education, conducting free safety and health consultative visits, and establishing partnerships and alliances with industries.
In North Carolina, only private industry construction saw a statistically significant decrease in its total recordable rate. The 2019 private industry rate for manufacturing of 2.7 cases per 100 full-time workers does not significantly differ from 2.8 cases per 100 full-time workers in 2018 and remains below the national rate of 3.3.
“With this being my last year as labor commissioner, I am so proud of the employers and employees across the state who have made workplace safety a priority and the NCDOL employees who have helped facilitate the decrease in injuries and illnesses statewide,” Berry said. “I’m sure that this trend will continue when Commissioner-elect Josh Dobson takes my place and I officially change my title from ‘Elevator Queen’ to ‘Mamaw.’ Thank you, North Carolina!”