Minnesota Workplace Injury Rates Remain Low

According to the annual Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, Minnesota’s workplace injury and illness rates in 2006 remained at the lowest level documented since the survey was first conducted in 1972. After recording an injury and illness rate of 5.3 cases per 100 full-time employees in 2004, Minnesota achieved a lower rate of 5.1 cases in 2005 and maintained that average through 2006.

The survey drew on the injury and illness records from approximately 5,150 employers collected by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry and data gathered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Results found that Minnesota’s injury rate was unchanged from 2005 to 2006, with the state’s public sector and private industry workplaces reporting an estimated 107,100 nonfatal workplace injuries throughout the year.

“Reducing workplace injuries and illnesses is our major goal at the Department of Labor and Industry," said Commissioner Steve Sviggum. “While we recognize that accidents will occur, our job is to promote workplace safety, so every worker goes home in the same condition they were in when they arrived at work.”

Despite an increase in the Minnesota workforce of nearly 90,000 employees since 2003, the number of recordable injury and illness cases decreased by 4,500 cases during the same time period. The state’s case rates that resulted in days away from work and job transfers remained consistent from 2005 to 2006 and were lower than rates in 2004.

The construction industry experienced a total case rate decrease of 16 percent from 2003 to 2006, resulting in a rate of 7.8 cases per 100 workers (down from 9.3 in 2003). Industries with the highest injury and illness rates in 2006 included the agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, construction, manufacturing and health care and social assistance fields.

The trend of lowered workplace injury rates continued on the national level, as well. An estimated 4.1 million nonfatal workplace injuries were reported nationwide in 2006, compared to the 4.2 million reported in 2005.

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