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December 17, 2020

A total of 80 fatal work-injuries were recorded in Minnesota in 2019 during the annual Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), an increase from the 75 fatal work-injuries in 2018. Minnesota's 2019 fatal-injury rate is 2.6 fatalities per 100,000 full-time-equivalent workers; the 2018 rate was 2.7 fatalities per 100,000 full-time-equivalent workers. These and other workplace fatality statistics come from the CFOI, conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.

Nationally, there were 5,333 fatally injured workers in 2019, up 2% from the 2018 count of 5,250 workers. The fatal work-injury rate remained unchanged at 3.5 fatalities per 100,000 full-time-equivalent workers.

The CFOI also provided the following statistics for Minnesota's workplace fatalities during 2019.

Industries and occupations

  • Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting recorded the highest number of worker fatalities, with 23 cases, one more than in 2018. The fatal-injury rate in 2019 for this industry sector is 21.9 fatalities per 100,000 full-time-equivalent worker.

  • Transportation and warehousing had the second-highest number of fatalities with 13 cases, compared to four cases in 2018.

  • Industries that saw decreases in fatalities included construction (from 14 fatalities in 2018 to 11 fatalities in 2019) and the wholesale trade industry (from five fatalities in 2018 to two in 2019).

  • The occupation of driver/sales workers and truck drivers had the highest number of fatalities in 2019 at 16. The second-highest occupation was miscellaneous agricultural workers with six fatalities.

Types of incidents

  • Transportation incidents accounted for 36 fatalities, the most for any incident type, which was up from 26 transportation incidents in 2018. Twelve transportation fatalities occurred during roadway incidents involving one or more motorized land vehicles and nine occurred during non-roadway incidents. Other transportation fatalities included six from aircraft incidents and three from water vehicle incidents.

  • Falls, slips and trips was the second most-frequent fatal work-related injury event in 2019, with 15 fatalities. There were 12 fatalities caused by falls, slips and trips in 2018.

  • Contact with objects and equipment accounted for 14 fatalities in 2019, up from 13 fatalities in 2018.

  • There were seven fatalities resulting from violence or intentional injury by persons or animals in 2019, compared to 12 such fatalities in 2018. In 2019 there were four work-related suicides, down from six in 2018.

Worker characteristics

  • Men accounted for 74 of the 80 fatally injured workers in 2019. Nearly half were involved in transportation incidents. There were six fatally injured female workers, down from eight in 2018 and lower still than the 2017 count of 12.

  • Workers age 55 and older accounted for 38 fatalities, with 16 of these fatalities occurring due to transportation incidents.

  • Fatal work-related injuries among wage and salary workers decreased from 55 in 2018 to 48 in 2019; self-employed workers accounted for 32 fatalities in 2019, compared with 20 in 2018.

Minnesota OSHA fatality investigations

Minnesota OSHA (MNOSHA) workplace fatality investigation statistics differ from CFOI. MNOSHA Compliance investigates all employee deaths under its jurisdiction that result from an accident or illness caused by or related to a workplace hazard. In federal-fiscal-year 2019 (October 2018 through September 2019), MNOSHA Compliance investigated 21 workplace fatalities. The CFOI numbers include Minnesota workplace fatalities caused by traffic accidents, airplane crashes, mining accidents, farm accidents and accidents to the self-employed, federal workers and railroad workers, none of which are covered by MNOSHA enforcement.

CFOI program

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 (DLI) collects the information about Minnesota’s workplace fatalities for the CFOI.

Minnesota 2019 CFOI tables are available at www.dli.mn.gov/our-areas-service/research-and-statistics/census-fatal-occupational-injuries-cfoi. Additional data may be available by calling DLI Research and Statistics at 651-284-5428. National data from the CFOI program is available at www.bls.gov/iif/oshcfoi1.htm.