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Statistics: Agriculture is one of state's most dangerous jobs

ST. PAUL -- Twenty-one of the 65 fatal work-related injuries recorded in the state of Minnesota in 2008 were in the agriculture industry, according to data released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry.

The total number of workplace deaths in the state dropped from 72 in 2007 and 78 in 2006. The number of deaths in the agriculture and logging industries were 25 in 2008 and increased from 17 in 2007. Most of the fatalities were caused by either contact with objects and equipment or transportation incidents.

Last year, there were 14 fatalities in crop production agriculture and seven fatalities in animal agriculture. Four people died while working in the forestry and logging industries.

The data provided by the Department of Labor and Industry comes from the annual Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.

The data show that men accounted for 63 of the 65 fatally injured workers and that workers age 55 or older accounted for 22 of the deaths. Older workers counted as 12 of the agriculture and logging deaths.

Among Minnesota's metropolitan areas, there were 12 fatalities in Minneapolis-St. Paul (including the neighboring Wisconsin counties), eight fatalities in Rochester, six in Duluth (including areas in Wisconsin) and four fatalities in St. Cloud.

The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries data are not broken down by county, according to the Department of Labor and Industry.

-- Gretchen Schlosser