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Minnesota’s workplace injury, illness rate remains at all-time low

St. PAUL, Minn. - An annual survey recently released by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry shows that the state’s estimated workplace injury and illness rate remains at an all-time low.  

The Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses shows the state had an estimated 3.2 OSHA-recordable nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses per 100 full-time-equivalent (FTE) workers in 2018, according to the department in a news release, down from 3.3 percent in 2017. 

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

"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," Nancy Leppink, Department of Labor and Industry commissioner, said in a prepared statement. 

"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."

Nationally, about 5 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in private- and public-sector workplaces happened for 2018, resulting in a rate of 3.1 cases per 100 FTE workers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Minnesota’s workplace and injury rate remains at its lowest since the annual survey started in 1973. Additional highlights of the survey include: 

  • 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%).