On Labor Day and Every Day, Worker Safety Must Remain a Priority
We're safer, but in 2016 one Minnesotan died on the job every four days

ST. PAUL, MINN. (September 3, 2018) - Three million Minnesotans go to work each day, but in 2016 every four days someone failed to return home as a result of a fatal workplace accident.

This Labor Day, the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, Minnesota Department of Health and Minnesota Safety Council have released the 2018 edition of their workplace safety dashboard. The annual statistical report highlights several key worker safety and health indicators through 2016, the most recent data available for most categories.

"In the past decade, Minnesota has seen the number of work-related injuries and illnesses fall from 121,600 in 2006 to 89,700 in 2016; a 26 percent decrease," says Ken Peterson, Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry commissioner. "To continue this positive trend, we need to develop even safer worksites so more workers go home healthy each night."

Minnesota Safety Council President Paul Aasen says "since the Minnesota Safety Council was founded 90 years ago, we've seen the state's accidental death and injury rates drop dramatically. However, the 2016 year-over-year uptick in fatalities reminds us that we still have more to do to keep our state's workers safe."

Aasen notes that in 2016, each day 202 Minnesotans sustained a workplace injury or illness, 94 of which are severe.

"Every day, almost 100 Minnesotans get hurt or sick enough on the job that they can't go back to work the next day. In addition, driving or operating a vehicle accounted for one-third of Minnesota's workplace fatalities," he says. "That means we must continue to make safe driving a top priority."

Highlights of the 2018 dashboard include:
  • Minnesota's 2016 fatal occupational injury rate increased to 3.4 per 100,000 workers, up from 2.7 in 2015, but remains below the 3.6 national rate for 2016.
  • Agriculture remains one of the state's most dangerous sectors. Between 2012-2016, nearly 30 percent of fatal work injuries were among those employed in the agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting businesses, particularly among workers in crop production jobs, with seven people seriously injured each day.
  • Workplace falls and lung diseases, including cancer and asbestos-related mesothelioma remain major issues for Minnesota's workers.
  • While the number of claims continues to decline, Minnesota's total workers' compensation costs rose in 2016 to $1.78 billion, up about 5 percent from 2015.
The dashboard, "Minnesota Workplace Safety, 2018" is available at www.minnesotasafetycouncil.org/WorkplaceSafetyDashboard.pdf

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