NC Department of Labor

A trifecta of hazards — water, electricity and ammonium nitrate — likely contributed to the massive Weaver Fertilizer fire

BY: - March 7, 2023

Holes gaped in the roof. Water leaked down the walls and onto the floor. Electrical fixtures routinely went on the fritz.  State documents show the extent of disrepair at the Weaver Fertilizer plant in Winston-Salem, conditions that could have contributed to a massive ammonium nitrate fire 13 months ago. The blaze burned for a week, […]

Monday numbers: Workplace-related deaths in NC last year were second-highest in a decade

BY: - February 6, 2023

A fall from a ladder. Carbon monoxide poisoning. Electric shock. COVID. More than 60 people died on the job last year in North Carolina, a third of them construction workers, according to NC Department of Labor figures released last week. Construction work is among the nation’s most dangerous jobs, but the pay often doesn’t reflect the risks. For example, a roofer in North Carolina earns an average of $36,467, according to

National news outlet: NC Department of Labor fines major poultry producer for exposing workers to toxic chemical

BY: - March 9, 2022

Online food journalism site, The Counter, reports workers at Robeson County facility owned by Mountaire Farms were exposed to peracetic acid In case you missed it last week, be sure to check out a story published by the national food industry watchdog, The Counter. This is from the story “Mountaire Farms said North Carolina worker […]


Editorial: NC must improve its last-in-the-nation showing in a very important category

BY: - September 28, 2021

As reported in this space earlier this month, the latest assessment of the “Best and Worst States to Work in America 2021” from analysts at the global anti-poverty nonprofit, OxFam place North Carolina dead last in the U.S. Over the weekend, the Winston-Salem Journal and Greensboro News & Record twins featured an excellent editorial that lamented […]

NC Department of Labor adopts new federal worker safety standards boosting protection for healthcare workers

BY: - July 15, 2021

The North Carolina Department of Labor announced Wednesday that it will adopt the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s COVID-19 standard, which serves as an enforceable framework to bring employees into workplace safety compliance. The federal emergency standard is limited in its scope, only applying to healthcare workers. It requires employers in the healthcare industry […]

NC Department of Labor continues to resist workplace safety rules for COVID-19

BY: - June 17, 2021

Department is now required to adopt workplace standards for COVID for healthcare workers – whether others will be covered remains in question The U.S. Department of Labor is adopting new emergency standards to protect healthcare workers from COVID, while its North Carolina counterpart has gone to court to defend its position that the potentially fatal disease is not a workplace hazard.

Senator Brent Jackson walks back part of controversial Farm Act that would have shielded employers from retaliation claims

BY: - May 18, 2021

An overlooked section of the 2021 Farm Act, which is currently under consideration at the General Assembly, would have undercut North Carolina workers’ ability to sue their employers for retaliation, a potential benefit for Sen. Brent Jackson, a primary bill sponsor and previous subject of these complaints.

COVID infections and deaths shine a light of NC’s lax workplace safety oversight

BY: - March 11, 2021

When COVID-19 hit North Carolina in 2020, complaints about the safety of workers flooded the state agency charged with their protection. Yet, state Department of Labor officials didn’t have enforceable standards to widely issue citations and conduct inspections and then-Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry determined that no new standards for COVID were needed.

Civil rights groups file federal complaint over NC Department of Labor’s failure to protect workers from COVID-19

BY: - February 17, 2021

In case you missed it, a group of civil rights organizations — including the North Carolina Justice Center (parent organization of NC Policy Watch) — filed a complaint with the federal government yesterday over the North Carolina Department of Labor’s ongoing failure to adequately protect the state’s workers from COVID-19. This is from a news […]


What you need to know: The week’s top stories on NC Policy Watch

BY: - December 11, 2020

The week’s top stories on NC Policy Watch: 1. COVID-19 vaccines are on the way, but plenty in NC say they won’t take them Vaccines heralded as the way to keep so many from dying from COVID-19 complications and as the path to eased pandemic restrictions are likely just days from initial distribution. But even […]

Backed by science, advocates legally challenge Labor Secretary Cherie Berry over COVID-19

BY: - December 11, 2020

After the state Department of Labor in November rejected a petition to mandate emergency workplace rules, several North Carolina advocacy groups are asking the Wake County Superior Court for a judicial review of the denial. “Anything we can do to mitigate the transmission of that virus from someone is really essential,” Dr. David Wohl, professor […]


“Must read” news story details NC Labor commissioner’s kid gloves treatment of health and safety violations

BY: - December 18, 2019

If you have a subscription to Raleigh’s News & Observer or the Charlotte Observer (or know someone who does), be sure to check out this morning’s big business section report on North Carolina’s longtime Commissioner of Labor Cherie Berry entitled “After workers die, North Carolina shields many employers from biggest penalties.” After providing the details […]