Minnesota work-related injury rates at an all-time low

In Minnesota, the number of worker injuries and illnesses are at the lowest they have ever been since the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses began in 1973. The latest survey reports that in 2016, OSHA recorded an average of 3.4 nonfatal workplace injuries/illnesses per 100 full-time equivalent workers in the state. This came out to about 73,600 workers. In 2015 there were 75,000 workers were injured or became ill.

This is good news, considering how the number of employees in the state increased from 2.67 million in 2015 to 2.72 million in 2016. Officials say the past decade has seen a 33 percent decrease in injuries/illnesses. The average number of days off that victims took remained unchanged from 2015 -- 1 out of 100 FTE workers spent one or more days away after the date of the injury.

Still, the survey shows that certain industries are at a greater risk for accidents than others. About five out of 100 FTE construction workers were hurt in 2016, followed by 4.8 local government employees and 4.7 healthcare and social assistance workers.

Sprains and strain constituted 38 percent of all injuries, with soreness and pain coming in second (17 percent). Nearly 20 percent of hurt workers incurred back injuries, making this area of the body the most susceptible. This was followed by the hands at 14 percent.

When a worker is injured, they should report the accident to their employer and let them know that they will be filing for workers' compensation benefits. A lawyer can assist with the filing process and ensure that a reasonable settlement is achieved. The benefits could cover medical expenses, lost wages and even future lost income in the event of a permanent disability.

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