Fatal workplace injuries continue to increase

| Jan 10, 2019 | workers' compensation

Numbers recently released by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry reflect a troubling trend for the state. Fatal work-related injuries rose for the third consecutive year and reached their highest number in nearly 25 years. These numbers, which come from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) show that Minnesota had 3.5 fatalities for every 100,000 full-time employees in 2017. In all, 101 Minnesotans died from work-related injuries.

Which occupations and industries are most dangerous? Perhaps not surprisingly, fishing, hunting, forestry and agriculture had the highest combined rate of fatal injuries. Those fatalities largely involved ranchers, farmers and others who made their living in agriculture.

Retail trade came in second, with 14 fatal injuries. That may coincide with the high rate of fatalities for drivers. In fact, the majority of fatal incidents throughout agriculture, retail, construction and other industries involved some type of motor vehicle.

Other common causes of worker fatalities were:

  • Contact with equipment or objects
  • Falls
  • Violence
  • Animal injuries
  • Suicide

Men were the victims in the large majority of the fatal incidents. More than half of the victims were employees of a company as opposed to being self-employed. Most of the self-employed people who died worked in the largely outdoor industries of fishing, hunting, forestry and agriculture.

If a loved one is injured or killed in a work-related incident, even if it’s a vehicle crash, it’s wise to determine whether that person’s employer could or should have done something that might have prevented it. It’s also important to make sure that the injured worker or surviving loved ones receive the benefits to which they’re entitled.