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May 8, 2012

Annual Workers' Compensation System Report released

The number of paid workers' compensation claims fell 43 percent relative to the number of employees from 1997 to 2010, according to the 2010 Minnesota Workers' Compensation System Report, just released by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI).

"Though each workplace accident is one too many, the report underscores that Minnesota's workplaces have become much safer for employees and comparatively less costly for employers since 1997," said Ken Peterson, DLI commissioner. "As has been the case for the past few years, medical treatment for injuries was the chief cost driver for the system, increasing annually per claim by more than 5 percent above average wages since 1997."

Significant findings

  • The workers' compensation claim rate fell considerably from 1997 to 2010, from 8.7 to 4.9 claims per 100 full-time-equivalent employees.

  • The 2010 total workers' compensation system cost was $1.25 per $100 of payroll, the lowest since 1997.

  • Because of the falling claim rate, total benefits, including medical, cash and rehabilitation, fell 6 percent relative to payroll between 1997 and 2010.

  • Medical care accounts for the largest share of total system cost, 35 percent; next, insurance expenses, 31 percent; then cash benefits, 30 percent.

  • The percentage of claims with disputes rose from 15.5 percent to 21.2 percent from 1997 to 2010, a 37-percent increase.

  • The proportion of claimants receiving vocational rehabilitation services increased from 1997 to 2010. This may contribute to the findings of other studies that injured workers in Minnesota get back to work sooner than in most other states.

The report, part of an annual series, presents data from 1997 through 2010 about aspects of Minnesota's workers' compensation system. The purpose of the report is to describe the current status and direction of workers' compensation in Minnesota and to offer explanations, where possible, for recent developments. It is available online at www.dli.mn.gov/RS/WcSystemReport.asp. Copies of the report may also be obtained by calling (651) 284-5030 or toll-free 1-800-DIAL-DLI (1-800-342-5354).

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News media contact:
James Honerman
(651) 284-5313

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