Research highlights

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Minnesota Workplace Safety Report
By Brian Zaidman, Senior Research Analyst, Research and Statistics

The number of workplaces injuries and illnesses continued to decline during 2004. The most recent occupational injury and illness figures show there were an estimated 105,500 recordable injury and illness cases in 2004; about 28,700 cases involved one or more days away from work. The comparable figures for 2003 were 111,600 total cases and 29,900 days-away-from-work cases. There were 80 work-related fatalities in 2004, up from 72 in 2003, but below the 81 fatalities in 2002. The Department of Labor and Industry recently released its annual Minnesota Workplace Safety Report, detailing injury and illness rates and workplace fatalities for 2004. The report is based on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses and Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI). The report online at www.doli.state.mn.us/rsreport.html. The following are the major highlights from the report.
Nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses

• Minnesota’s total rate of workplace injuries and illnesses was 5.3 cases per 100 full-timeequivalent (FTE) workers in 2004. This represents a 4 percent decrease from the 2003 rate of 5.5 cases per 100 FTE workers. • The rate of cases with days away from work (the most severely injured workers) was 1.5 per 100 FTE workers in 2004 and 2003. • Minnesota’s industry sectors with the highest total injury and illness rates per 100 FTE workers were: 1. construction (8.6); 2. agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting (8.6); and 3. transportation and warehousing (7.6). • Four of the 10 industry subsectors with the highest total case rates were in private-sector and public-sector health care and social assistance. • The industry subsectors with the highest numbers of cases with days away from work were specialty trade contractors (1,970 cases) and private-sector nursing homes (1,800 cases). The top 10 industry groups accounted for 12,510 days-away-from-work cases, 44 percent of the total. Additional statistics about the characteristics of the injured workers, the characteristics of their injuries and the amount of time away from work are available for cases with days away from work. • Sprains and strains accounted for 43 percent of the cases with days away from work. The secondhighest category was soreness and pain, with 10 percent of the cases. • The back and lower extremities were the most commonly injured body parts, accounting for nearly half the cases.
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• COMPACT • May 2006

• Overexertion, often while lifting people or objects, falls and contact with objects and equipment were the most common injury events. • "Floors and ground surfaces" was the most frequent source of injury category, followed by the injured worker’s own motion or bodily position.
Fatal occupational injuries

The CFOI covers all fatal work injuries in the private and public sectors, regardless of program coverage; thus, it includes federal workers and selfemployed workers, along with all others. However, fatal illnesses (such as asbestosis) are excluded. • In 2004, 80 Minnesotans were fatally injured on the job. For 2000 through 2004, Minnesota had an average of 75 fatal work injuries a year, consisting of approximately 59 wage-and-salary workers and 17 self-employed people. • Among industry sectors, agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting recorded the highest number of worker fatalities, with 19. Construction, with 16 cases, had the second-highest number of fatalities. • The most frequent causes of Minnesota’s fatal work injuries for 2004 were: highway transportation accidents (36 percent); contact with objects and equipment (23 percent); falls to a lower level (14 percent); and assaults (14 percent).
Minnesota OSHA activities

During federal fiscal-year 2005 (October 2004 through September 2005), Minnesota OSHA: • conducted nearly 2,600 compliance inspections affecting the workplaces of 128,000 workers; • found violations resulting in the assessment of more than $4 million in penalties; • conducted nearly 1,000 worksite consultations, affecting the workplaces of 73,000 workers, and helped employers avoid more than $4 million in penalties; and • provided 98 safety and health seminars, plus many other safety presentations and onsite training visits.

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• COMPACT • May 2006