Summer is here for North Carolina, and with the warmer weather comes an increase in workplace injuries. The demand for outdoor work, like construction or landscaping, increases the risk for these labor-intensive positions.
A study from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) revealed that most work-related accidents occur in June, July and August. Most of the injuries bring a worker’s compensation claim as well.
On the job dangers
In North Carolina, the growing heat can cause many of these injuries. Day laborers and crafters must work through the North Carolina sun, increasing their risk of heatstroke and exposure. Around 400 people die each year from excessive natural heat. These deaths, like most heat-related deaths, are preventable with the proper care, hydration and education.
Thankfully, heat-related injuries account for a small portion of workplace injuries. Most injuries occur through improper protection, faulty equipment or slip and fall. The most common types of summertime workplace injury by percentage are:
- 40% sprains, strains and tears
- 11% surface wounds
- 10% open wounds
Additionally, most injuries occur within two supersectors of employment: education and health services; and trade, transportation and utilities. Nearly half (49%) of all occupational injuries and illnesses occur within these industries though they only account for 38% of private employment. The physical nature of these industries asks more of a worker’s body, creating more risk of injury.
The swelling cost of workplace injury
Employers not only want their workers healthy and whole for their wellbeing, but it helps the bottom line too. In 2017, the National Safety Council reported that workplace injury costs totaled $161.5 billion. These costs include medical expenses, lost wages, decreased productivity, and other employer charges. However, this number does not consider the additional costs of employee injury, including training for replacements, overtime and stress-related issues in employee morale.
Legal protections for injured workers
Employers can save time, money and their employees’ health by providing proper safety and training resources. Investing in high-quality equipment and replacing outdated tools may prevent high medical costs after an injury. Employees denied a compensation claim can reach out to a local attorney familiar with workers’ comp to appeal the decision and secure the necessary treatment.