April 19, 2018

MN Fatal Work-Injuries Increased in 2016

St. Paul, MN – A total of 92 fatal work-injuries were recorded in Minnesota in 2016, an increase from the 74 fatal work-injuries in 2015 and 62 fatal work-injuries in 2014. This is the highest total number of fatal work-related injuries since 1996.

The 2016 total is 32 percent above the average of 67 cases a year for 2011 through 2015. Minnesota’s 2016 fatal injury rate is 3.4 fatalities per 100,000 full-time-equivalent workers; the 2015 rate was 2.7 fatalities per 100,000 full-time-equivalent workers. These and other workplace fatality statistics come from the annual Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.

Nationally, there were 5,190 fatally-injured workers in 2016, a 7 percent increase from the 2015 count of 4,836 workers. This is the highest total number of fatal work-related injuries nationally since 2008. The 2016 national rate is 3.6 fatalities per 100,000 full-time-equivalent workers, an increased from 3.4 in 2015.

The CFOI also provided the following statistics for Minnesota’s workplace fatalities during 2016:


  • Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting recorded the highest number of worker fatalities, with 23 cases, the same number as in 2015. The fatal injury rate in this industry sector is 24.7 fatalities per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers.
  • Construction had the second-highest number of fatalities, with 15 cases, compared to 9 cases in 2015. The fatal injury rate in this industry sector is 9.0 fatalities per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers.
  • Transportation and warehousing saw an increase from six fatalities in 2015 to 11 in 2016.

Types of incidents
Transportation incidents accounted for 46 fatalities, the most for any incident type, up from 31 transportation related incidents in 2015 and 24 in 2014. Transportation incidents were spread across many types of industries. Ten of these fatal transportation events occurred in the agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting industry sector, seven in construction and four in the truck transportation industry. Thirteen transportation events in 2016 involved freight hauling and utility trucks.

Exposure to harmful substances or environments was the second most frequent fatal work-related injury event in 2016, with 12 fatalities. In six of these cases, the worker was exposed to chemicals or chemical products, four of which involved drugs (nonmedical) and medicines. There were three fatalities caused by exposure to harmful substances or environments in 2015.

Eleven work-related fatalities in 2016 were due to falls, down from 13 fatalities due to falls in 2015.

There were 10 fatalities resulting from violence or intentional injury by persons or animals in 2016, compared to seven such fatalities in 2015 and eight fatalities in 2014. In 2016 there were six work-related suicides, compared to three such incidents in 2015.

Worker characteristics
Men accounted for 84 of the 92 fatally injured workers in 2016. There were eight fatally-injured female workers, down from 2015 count of 14, the highest annual CFOI count in Minnesota since the inception of the program in 1992.

Workers age 55 and older accounted for 48 fatalities, with 15 of these fatalities in the agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting industry sector. Of the 20 fatal incidents that occurred at a farm location, 11 of these involved workers over age 55.

Fatal work-related injuries among wage and salary workers increased from 37 in 2015 to 58 in 2016; self-employed workers accounted for 34 fatalities in 2016, the same as in 2015. Self-employed workers accounted for 21 of the 23 fatalities in the agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting industry.

Minnesota OSHA fatality investigations
Minnesota OSHA (MNOSHA) workplace fatality investigation statistics differ from CFOI. MNOSHA investigates all employee deaths under its jurisdiction that result from an accident or illness caused by or related to a workplace hazard. In 2016, MNOSHA investigated 16 workplace fatalities. The CFOI numbers include Minnesota workplace fatalities caused by traffic accidents, airplane crashes, mining accidents, farm accidents and accidents to the self-employed, federal workers and railroad workers, none of which are covered by MNOSHA enforcement.

CFOI program
The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), part of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ occupational safety and health statistics program, provides the most complete count of fatal work injuries available. Workplace fatalities due to illnesses are not included.

The program uses diverse data sources to identify, verify and profile fatal work injuries. Information about each workplace fatality (occupation and other worker characteristics, equipment being used and circumstances of the event) is obtained by cross-referencing source documents, such as death certificates, workers’ compensation records, and reports to federal and state agencies. This method assures counts are as complete and accurate as possible. The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry collects the information about Minnesota’s workplace fatalities for the CFOI.

Click here for Minnesota’s 2016 CFOI tables. Review national data from the CFOI program.

Source: MN DLI

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