Monday, January 9, 2012

Minnesota Workplace Injury Rate Near an All-time Low in 2010

In 2010, Minnesota had the second lowest workplace injury and illness rate on record.

The 2010 Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses indicated that Minnesota had an estimated 3.9 nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses per 100 full-time-equivalent workers in 2010. This is up slightly from the 2009 estimate of 3.8 injuries and illnesses per 100 full-time-equivalent workers, but substantially lower than the rate of 5.1 in 2005. It is also the second lowest injury rate since the survey began in 1972.

The survey estimated that there were 76,700 nonfatal workplace illnesses and injuries in 2010, 78,100 illnesses and injuries in 2009, and 104,100 illnesses and injuries in 2005.

Of these injuries and illnesses, 37,200 resulted in days away from work, job transfer or restrictions after the day of injury. This is the equivalent of 1.9 per 100 full-time-equivalent workers. An estimated 1.1 cases per 100 full-time-equivalent workers resulted in one or more days away from work after the day of injury.

The industries with the highest total injury and illness rates were: transportation and warehousing (5.8 cases per 100 full-time-equivalent workers), health care and social assistance (5.6), and construction (5.3).

Nationally, an estimated 3.9 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported in private-and public-sector workplaces for 2010, resulting in a rate of 3.8 cases per 100 full-time-equivalent workers.

According to Ken Peterson, Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry commissioner, the results “are a positive sign that more worksites continue to make employee safety and health an integral part of their day-to-day operations.”

While I’d like to believe the reduction in the rate of reported workplace illnesses and injuries in Minnesota is due primarily to improvements in workplace safety, unfortunately, I think there are other factors at play. Due to relatively high unemployment, fewer people are working, particularly in some of those “high-risk” industries, such as construction. I also think many injured people are not reporting their injury. With fewer and fewer job options, many injured workers are afraid to report their injuries for fear of losing their jobs. One of the most common questions I hear when I speak with an injured worker the first time is: “Will I get fired if I report my injury?

If you were hurt on the job in Minnesota, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, including medical expense benefits, wage loss benefits, vocational rehabilitation benefits, and/or permanent partial disability benefits.

For a free, no-obligation consultation to learn more about your Minnesota workers’ compensation rights, call Meuser & Associate at 877-746-5680, or click here to send us an email to schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys. 


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