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Sept. 28, 2012

State's fatal work-injuries decrease in 2011

A preliminary total of 60 fatal work-injuries were recorded in Minnesota in 2011, a decrease of 10 cases from the final count of 70 fatal work-injuries in 2010. The 2011 total is below the average of 69 cases a year for 2006 through 2010. 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. Final 2011 data from the CFOI program will be released next spring.

The CFOI also provided the following statistics for Minnesota's workplace fatalities during 2011.

Industries

  • Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting had the highest number of fatalities, with 19 cases, compared to 29 cases in 2010, which was also the highest number of fatalities. Occupations in this industry include farmers, fishermen, loggers and hunters. Among the fatalities during the past few years, the majority have been farmers and ranchers. Most of the fatalities were caused by either contact with objects and equipment or transportation incidents.

  • Construction recorded the second-highest number of worker fatalities, with 16 cases, an increase from nine cases in 2010.

Types of incidents

  • Contact with objects and equipment was the most frequent fatal work-injury event in 2011, with 19 fatalities. Most of these cases involved the worker being struck by an object or equipment.

  • Transportation incidents accounted for 16 fatalities. Half of these fatalities occurred in the agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting industry sector.

  • There were 14 fatalities resulting from falls in 2011.

  • Five fatalities were caused by violence, including three homicides, all by shooting.

Worker characteristics

  • Men accounted for 57 of the 60 fatally injured workers in 2011.

  • Workers age 55 and older accounted for 20 fatalities, with most of these fatalities in the agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting industry division.

  • Self-employed workers accounted for 25 fatalities, including 16 fatalities to workers in agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting and five in construction. There were 24 fatalities of self-employed workers in 2010.

The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, part of the Bureau of Labor Statistics occupational safety and health statistics program, provides the most complete count of fatal work-injuries available. Workplace fatalities due to illnesses are not included.

The program uses diverse data sources to identify, verify and profile fatal work injuries. Information about each workplace fatality (occupation and other worker characteristics, equipment being used and circumstances of the event) is obtained by cross-referencing source documents, such as death certificates, workers' compensation records, and reports to federal and state agencies. This method assures counts are as complete and accurate as possible. The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry collects the information about Minnesota's workplace fatalities for the CFOI.

Minnesota 2011 CFOI tables are available at www.dli.mn.gov/RS/StatFatal.asp. National data from the CFOI program is available at www.bls.gov/iif/oshcfoi1.htm.

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James Honerman
(651) 284-5313

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