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Aug. 27, 2013

State's fatal work-injuries increase in 2012

A preliminary total of 70 fatal work-injuries were recorded in Minnesota in 2012, an increase of 10 cases from the final count of 60 fatal work-injuries in 2011, but the same number as in 2010. The 2012 total is above the average of 66 cases a year for 2007 through 2011. 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 2012 data from the CFOI program will be released next spring.

The CFOI also provided the following statistics for Minnesota's workplace fatalities during 2012.

Industries

  • Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting had the highest number of fatalities, with 20 cases, compared to 19 cases in 2011, which was also the highest number of fatalities. Most of the fatalities were caused by either transportation incidents or contact with objects and equipment.

  • Trade, transportation and utilities recorded the second-highest number of worker fatalities, with 15 cases, an increase from 10 cases in 2011.

  • The number of fatalities in manufacturing increased from three in 2011 to nine fatalities in 2012.

Types of incidents

  • Transportation incidents accounted for 28 fatalities, the most for any incident type. Ten of these fatalities occurred in the agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting industry sector and nine fatalities occurred in trade, transportation and utilities.

  • Contact with objects and equipment was the second most frequent fatal work-injury event in 2012, with 14 fatalities. Most of these cases involved the worker being struck by an object or equipment.

  • There were 11 fatalities resulting from violence in 2012, compared with five fatalities in 2011. Nine of the fatalities were homicide by shooting.

Worker characteristics

  • Men accounted for 65 of the 70 fatally injured workers in 2012.

  • Workers age 55 and older accounted for 25 fatalities, with 12 of these fatalities in the agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting industry sector.

  • Self-employed workers accounted for 21 fatalities, including 16 fatalities to workers in agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting and three in construction. There were 25 fatalities to self-employed workers in 2011.

Minnesota OSHA fatality investigations

Minnesota OSHA's workplace fatality investigation statistics differ from CFOI. MNOSHA investigates all employee deaths under its jurisdiction that result from an accident or illness caused by or related to a workplace hazard. In 2012, Minnesota OSHA investigated 17 workplace fatalities. The CFOI numbers include Minnesota workplace fatalities caused by traffic accidents, airplane crashes, mining accidents, federal workers, railroad workers, farm accidents and accidents to the self-employed, none of which are covered by state OSHA enforcement.

CFOI program

The CFOI, 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 CFOI 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 2012 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
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