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November 8, 2019

Minnesota's estimated workplace injury and illness rate for 2018 remains at its lowest rate since the measurement started in 1973. According to the annual Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, the state had an estimated 3.2 OSHA-recordable nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses per 100 full-time-equivalent (FTE) workers in 2018. The estimated rate for 2017 was 3.3 cases per 100 FTE workers.

The survey estimated Minnesota had 71,600 workers with OSHA-recordable nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2018, compared to 72,500 estimated cases for 2017.

In 2018, Minnesota's employment covered by the survey was approximately 2.79 million.

"Although Minnesota has seen a 61% decrease in its rate of work-related injuries and illnesses in the past 22 years, even one injured or ill worker is one too many," said Nancy Leppink, Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) commissioner. "Every worker in Minnesota has the right to be safe and healthy at work and the right to finish their workday in the same condition in which they started it."

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates a national total of 3.5 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in private- and public-sector workplaces for 2018, resulting in a rate of 3.1 cases per 100 FTE workers.

Other results from the Minnesota survey

The industry groups with the highest total injury and illness rates were construction (5.0 cases per 100 FTE workers); agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting (4.9); and transportation and warehousing (4.4). To bring these industries' rates down will require a concentrated effort.

An estimated 21,200 worker injuries, 1.0 cases per 100 FTE workers, had one or more days away from work after the day of injury. This rate has remained unchanged the past three years. Additional statistics are available about the characteristics of the cases with days away from work. Some highlights are shown below.

  • For workers with one or more days away from work, the median was six days. In comparison, the median number of days away from work was six days in 2017, five days in 2016 and six days in 2015.

  • Sprains, strains and tears accounted for 35% of the injuries for workers with days away from work. The second-highest category was soreness and pain, accounting for 20% of the cases.

  • The back (19%) was the most commonly injured body part. Hands and head each accounted for 10%    of the cases.

  • The most common injury events were overexertion and bodily reactions (36%); falls, trips and slips (28%); and being struck by objects or equipment (22%).

  • The most common sources of injury were floors, walkways and ground surfaces (19%); bodily motion of the injured worker (17%); and vehicles, including forklifts (10%).

State agencies and BLS compile the survey data, which is the primary source of workplace injury and illness statistics at the state and national levels. DLI collects injury and illness records from randomly sampled Minnesota establishments in the private and public sectors (excluding federal agencies). Approximately 4,700 establishments provided usable responses for the 2018 survey.

Additional Minnesota data will be available on the DLI website at www.dli.mn.gov/our-areas-service/research-and-statistics/survey-occupational-injuries-and-illnesses. National data tables are available on the BLS website at www.bls.gov/iif/oshsum.htm and www.bls.gov/iif/oshcdnew.htm.