In December 2019, the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry released the results of its annual Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses for 2018. According to the agency’s data, workplace injuries declined 3.3% from 2017 rates and a 61% decrease overall since the beginning of the millennium, representing the lowest percentages of job illnesses and injuries in the state’s recorded history.

Explore these facts from the report to learn more about work safety trends in Minnesota.

Most common types of injuries

Of the nearly 72,000 Minnesota workers who spent at least one day out of work because of a work-related injury or illness in 2018, 35% experienced muscle tears, strains and sprains. Chronic pain and soreness represented 20% of state workers’ comp cases.

Most reported injuries affected the back (19%), followed by 10% of injuries affecting hands and 10% of surveyed workers affected by head injury. In particularly, concussion injuries at work have seen a sixfold increase from 2009 to 2017.

Most often, injuries resulted from overexertion (35%), followed by falls (28%) and impact by falling equipment or objects (22%). Most injuries occurred on work floors and other ground surfaces (19%), though 17% came from the worker’s body motion and 10% occurred in forklifts and other vehicles.

Fatality rates

Although nonfatal workplace injuries continue to decline in Minnesota, fatal workplace incidents rose in 2017 according to the most recent data from the Minnesota Safety Council. The agency found that one worker in the state died in a workplace accident an average of every 3.6 days, and one in three of these incidents involved a motor vehicle. Fatal injuries at work most commonly occur in the farming, forestry, hunting and fishing industries.

Understanding the source of workplace injuries can help workers stay safe. Following safety regulations and traffic laws can significantly reduce these instances and improve the overall health of Minnesota’s employment force. Employers have a duty to identify and remove potential worksite hazards.