Minnesota Workplace Injuries and Illnesses, 2008

Non-fatal injuries and illnesses in 2008
Minnesota's workplace injury and illness rate continued to decrease significantly in 2008 (most current data available), according to the annual Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the fall of 2009. An estimated total of 87,900 nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported in Minnesota's private-industry and public-sector workplaces during 2008, resulting in a rate of 4.2 cases per 100 full-time-equivalent (FTE) workers. These are the lowest number of cases and the lowest total case rate since the survey began in 1972. In 2007, there were an estimated 94,200 injury and illness cases, with a rate of 4.6 cases per 100 FTE workers.

While there are 110,000 more workers in Minnesota today than in 2003, the estimated number of recordable injury and illness cases has decreased by about 23,700 cases during that same time.

For the survey, the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) collected 2008 injury and illness records from approximately 5,100 Minnesota employers. State agencies and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) gather the survey data, which is the primary source of workplace injury and illness data nationwide. Among the key findings:

  • An estimated 40,400 cases in 2008 resulted in days away from work, job transfer or restrictions. The rate for these injuries was 1.9 cases per 100 FTE workers, significantly below the rate of 2.2 cases per 100 FTE workers in 2007.
  • The rate of days-away-from-work cases was 1.1 per 100 FTE workers in 2008, significantly below the rate of 1.3 cases per 100 FTE workers in both 2007 and 2006.
  • Industry divisions with the highest total injury and illness rates per 100 FTE workers were agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting (7.2); health care and social assistance (6.2); and transportation and warehousing (6.1).
  • The total case rate for construction dropped significantly, from 7.6 cases per 100 FTE workers in 2007 to 5.6 cases per 100 FTE in 2008. Construction is the only industry division with total case rate decreases every year since 2003. The total case rate in construction dropped by 40 percent, from a rate of 9.3 per 100 FTE workers in 2003.
Nationally, an estimated 3.7 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported in private-industry workplaces during 2008, resulting in a rate of 3.9 cases per 100 FTE workers. In 2007, an estimated 4.0 million private-industry cases were reported nationally, for a rate of 4.2 cases per 100 FTE workers. The summary tables are available on the DLI Web site at www.dli.mn.gov/RS/StatWSH.asp. The national summary tables are available on the BLS Web site at www.bls.gov/iif/oshsum.htm.

Fatal injuries
Sixty-five fatal work-injuries were recorded in Minnesota in 2008, a decrease of seven cases from 2007 and 13 fewer cases than in 2006. The 2008 total is less than the average of 78 cases a year for 2003 through 2007. These and other workplace fatality statistics come from the annual Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, which also provides the following statistics for 2008:

  • Agriculture and logging had the highest number of fatalities, with 25 cases, compared to 17 cases in 2007, which was also the highest number of fatalities. Most of the deaths were caused by either contact with objects and equipment or transportation incidents.
  • Construction deaths decreased to 13 cases in 2008, down from 16 cases in 2007 and nearly half the 25 cases recorded in 2005.
  • Self-employed workers accounted for 26 fatalities, up from 18 fatalities to self-employed workers in 2007.
Types of incidents
  • Transportation incidents accounted for 28 fatalities and continued to be the most frequent fatal work-injury event. Deaths resulting from transportation incidents increased from 24 cases in 2007, but were below the 2003 – 2007 average of 29 cases. Transportation incidents include traffic collisions, overturned vehicles, workers struck by vehicles, construction and farm vehicle accidents. Eight of the deaths were due to aircraft crashes.
  • Contact with objects and equipment continued to be the second-highest event category, with 26 fatalities, an increase from 16 cases in 2007, but similar to the 27 cases reported in 2006.. The most common incidents in this category were being struck by a falling object and getting caught in or compressed by equipment or objects.
  • Three fatalities resulted from falls in 2008, compared to 11 fall-related deaths in 2007.
  • Fatalities due to assaults and violent acts decreased from 9 cases in 2007 to three cases in 2008, the same number as in 2006.
Gender and Age
Two women were fatally injured in 2008, compared to four cases in 2007 and nine in 2006. Men accounted for 63 of the 65 fatally injured workers.

Workers age 55 and older accounted for 22 deaths.
Note: Workplace fatalities due to illnesses are not included.

Minnesota 2007 CFOI tables are available at www.dli.mn.gov/RS/StatWSH.asp. National data from the CFOI program is available at www.bls.gov/iif/oshcfoi1.htm.

Source: Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry