The number of paid workers’ compensation claims has fallen 44 percent relative to the number of employees from 1997 to 2009, according to the 2009 Minnesota Workers’ Compensation System Report, just released by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI).
“Though each workplace accident is one too many, the report underscores that Minnesota’s workplaces have become much safer for employees and comparatively less costly for employers since 1997,” said Ken Peterson, DLI commissioner. “Medical treatment for injuries remains the chief cost driver for the system, increasing annually per claim by more than 6 percent above average wages since 1997.”
- The workers’ compensation claim rate has fallen considerably from 1997 to 2009, from 8.7 to 4.9 claims per 100 full-time-equivalent employees.
- The 2009 total workers’ compensation system cost was $1.35 per $100 of payroll, nearly the lowest since 1997.
- Because of the falling claim rate, total benefits, including medical, cash and rehabilitation, fell 10 percent relative to payroll between 1997 and 2009.
- Medical care accounts for the largest share of total system cost, 35 percent; next, insurance expenses, 31 percent; then cash benefits, 30 percent.
- The percentage of claims with disputes rose from 15.4 percent to 21.6 percent from 1997 to 2009, a 40-percent increase. Consequently, even though the number of claims dropped, the total number of disputes remained roughly the same. The high rate of disputes led to a successful legislative measure this year, streamlining the dispute resolution system.
- The proportion of claimants receiving vocational rehabilitation services increased from 1997 to 2009. This may contribute to the findings of other studies that injured workers in Minnesota get back to work sooner than in most other states.
The report, part of an annual series, presents data from 1997 through 2009 about aspects of Minnesota’s workers’ compensation system. The purpose of the report is to describe the current status and direction of workers’ compensation in Minnesota and to offer explanations, where possible, for recent developments.
The report is available online at www.dli.mn.gov/RS/WcSystemReport.asp.
Copies of the report may also be obtained by calling (651) 284-5030 or toll-free 1-800-DIAL-DLI (1-800-342-5354).
Source: Minnesota DLI