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Oct. 25, 2012

Survey shows Minnesota workplace injury rate returns to all-time low mark

A recent survey estimates Minnesota's workplace injury and illness rate has returned to an all-time low mark. According to the annual Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, the state had an estimated 3.8 nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses per 100 full-time-equivalent (FTE) workers in 2011. This is down slightly from the 2010 estimate of 3.9 cases per 100 FTE workers, and the same rate as in 2009.

The survey estimated the number of Minnesota's nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses to be 75,400 for 2011, down from 76,700 for 2010 and 78,100 for 2009.

Minnesota's nonfederal employment has remained relatively stable, decreasing slightly from 2.54 million in 2009 to 2.53 million in 2010, and increasing to 2.57 million in 2011.

"These numbers are part of a long-term downward trend in injuries, due to greater safety awareness and technological improvements in the workplace," said Ken Peterson, Department of Labor and Industry commissioner. "For example, the 1995 injury rate was more than double the 2011 rate, so we are encouraged by this trend."

For the survey, the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry collects injury and illness records from randomly sampled Minnesota employers in the private and public sectors (excluding federal agencies). Approximately 4,600 employers participated in the 2011 survey. State agencies and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) compile the nationwide survey data, which is the primary source of workplace injury and illness statistics at the state and national levels.

Nationally, an estimated 3.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported in private- and public-sector workplaces for 2011, resulting in a rate of 3.8 cases per 100 FTE workers.

Other results from the Minnesota survey
The 2011 Minnesota survey estimated 35,900 injuries and illnesses resulting in days away from work, job transfer or restrictions after the day of injury. The rate of these cases was 1.8 per 100 FTE workers, down slightly from the 2010 estimated rate of 1.9 and the same rate as in 2009.

An estimated 1.1 cases per 100 FTE workers in 2011 led to one or more days away from work after the day of injury, unchanged from 2010.

The industry divisions with the highest total injury and illness rates were agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting (8.1 cases per 100 FTE workers); construction (6.5); and health care and social assistance (5.0).

Minnesota data tables are available on the DLI website at www.dli.mn.gov/RS/StatWSH.asp. National data tables are available on the BLS website at www.bls.gov/iif/oshsum.htm.

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James Honerman
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