North Carolina Work Injury Statistics

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that North Carolina saw over 89,000 workplace injuries and illnesses in 2016 alone. 71,000 of these were in the private sector while 18,000 were from employees in state or local government. That means for every 100 full-time workers in North Carolina, at least two will be injured every year. On average, approximately 150 of these injuries are fatal.

What does workplace injury look like?

Injury in the workplace can take many forms. The great majority of workplace injuries involve physical harm from mishaps like tripping or falling. That said, some disorders and illnesses can arise from workplace conditions, which also count as workplace injury. Cases of hearing loss, respiratory complications, and skin disorders are also included as workplace injuries.

The Private Sector

Of the 71,000 reported cases of workplace injury in the private sector, more than half were serious cases that involved days missed from work, or job transfer. For every 100 full-time workers, 1.3 will experience a serious injury every year.


When it comes to workplace injury, not all sectors are created equal. Trade, transportation, education, health services, and utilities make up 39% of all private-sector employment, yet they account for half of the total private sector injuries.

Statistics by Sector

A report from the United States Department of Labor released detailed statistics regarding North Carolina workplace injuries in 2016. With 89,000 total injuries, the average rate of injury is 2.7% of full-time workers. Broken down by industry, the statistics are as follows:

  • Natural Resources/Mining: 600 injuries, 2.5 percent of workers
  • Construction: 4,200 injuries, 2.2 percent of workers
  • Manufacturing: 13,300 injuries, 2.9 percent of workers
  • Trade, Transportation, Utilities: 20,500 injuries, 3.1 percent of workers
  • Information: 800 injuries, 1.1 percent of workers
  • Financial: 1,100 injuries, 0.5 percent of workers
  • Professional/Business Services: 7,000 injuries, 1.6 percent of workers
  • Education/Health Services: 14,100 injuries, 3.3 percent of workers
  • Leisure and Hospitality: 8,100 injuries, 2.8 percent of workers
  • Other Services: 1,800 injuries, 2.4 percent of workers
  • State Government: 3,500 injuries, 2.4 percent of workers
  • Local Government: 14,700 injuries, 4.1 percent of workers

We can see from these statistics that Manufacturing, Trade, and Health services are among the most prevalent fields in terms of workplace injuries.

Injuries in Manufacturing

People working in the manufacturing sector perform many different tasks depending on their particular job, but most face similar risks. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics noted the most common risks for manufacturing workers as:

  • Repetitive Motion: Some manufacturing workers perform the same body movements day in and day out at a factory. When your body is forced to work the same joints for hours at a time, soft tissues can begin to wear down at an accelerated rate. Damaged or worn down tissues can cause extreme joint pain as well as other medical problems.
  • Exposure to Harmful Chemicals: Skin exposure or direct inhalation of chemicals is a threat for many factory employees
  • Equipment Accidents: Many manufacturing employees work with or alongside heavy machinery. Falling machinery can crush or break limbs, or worse. Serious injuries can also result from limbs being ensnared in the moving parts of a machine.

Due to the inherently dangerous nature of manufacturing work, some of the most commonly sustained injuries include broken bones, burns, musculoskeletal disorders, hearing loss, vision loss, and skin disorders.

Injuries in Health Services

Across the country, the health services sector accounts for the highest frequency of workplace injury. Some of the most common culprits for healthcare workplace injury include:

  • Exposure to Pathogens: Even if you’re not a doctor or nurse, all hospital and healthcare employees work in an environment with lots of airborne pathogens. Workers are regularly exposed to diseases, and must take extra caution to ward off disease on a daily basis.
  • Workplace Violence: Most large hospitals have a psychiatric unit. Patients staying in a hospital for mental health reasons can act violently towards hospital staff and other patients. Psychiatric nurses and nurse techs may sustain injuries while breaking up an altercation between patients, or if directly attacked by a patient.
  • Laboratory Hazards: Many healthcare professionals work with equipment that emits X-rays or hazardous chemicals during testing. Exposure to these rays or chemicals can cause a wide range of injuries.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the most common workplace injuries in the healthcare field include illness, compromised immune health, and physical trauma.

Injuries in Trade and Transportation

Working in transportation is one of the most dangerous fields in the country, and freight truckers have one of the highest workplace mortality rates. Injuries relating to trade and warehouse work are less serious but equally prevalent. Some of the common risks for these workers include:

  • Overexertion: More than 30% of warehouse injuries were due to overexertion. Working in a warehouse is a demanding job, and excessive heavy lifting increases the chance for injury.
  • Equipment Mishandling: Forklift accidents are an all too common occurrence in warehouses. They account for almost half of the injuries sustained in warehouses. However, most are not high speed impacts and result in sprains and soreness.
  • Vehicle Accidents: Truckers who spend all day every day out on the road are much more likely to be involved in an accident.

The most common injuries for those working in trade and transportation include sprains, musculoskeletal disorders, and excessive fatigue.

Workplace Injury Lawyers

If you or a loved one have sustained injuries while on the job, you may be entitled to compensation from your employer. Employers have an obligation to provide a safe work environment for employees and mitigate the risk of injury. If you believe your employer’s negligence was responsible for an injury you sustained, contact Law Office of Sam Scudder today for a free initial consultation by calling (252) 222-0227. Our Morehead City workers’ compensation attorneys will listen to your story and work to get you the compensation you deserve.