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Workplace accident underscores North Dakota employment hazards

The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations is a national trade union center, and it is the largest federation of unions in the United States (AFL-CIO). This federation issued an annual report that indicates North Dakota topped the list of deaths per 100,000 in 2015 for the fourth time in five years. One man who lost his brother in a workplace accident that is currently under investigation believes his brother would not have died had he worked in another state.

Authorities say the highest death toll was recorded in 2012 when 65 employee lives were lost. OSHA focused a lot of attention on improving the safety on the Bakken oil fields, with positive results. In 2015, approximately 50 percent of workplace fatalities were related to oil and gas field incidents, and in 2016, the percentage dropped to 33 percent. Although workplace safety has improved significantly over recent years, the aim is to have zero occupational fatalities.

However, the fact that North Dakota has more than 437,000 employees and only seven OSHA inspectors does not provide a positive outlook for improvement. AFL-CIO says it would take those inspectors 101 years visit each work site once. Although it is the responsibility of each business owner to protect the health and safety of its employees, too many prioritize profits rather than safety.

Whenever a workplace accident claims the life of a loved one in North Dakota, the surviving family members may pursue financial assistance to help them cope with the unanticipated economic consequences of such a tragedy. They are also free to retain the services of an experienced workers' compensation attorney to help with the navigation of such a claim. Death benefits will cover end-of-life expenses and provide a wage-replacement package to ease the daily financial burden immediately after the loved one's death.

Source: billingsgazette.com, "North Dakota remains most dangerous state to work", June 13, 2017

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