ST. PAUL — Minnesota's work-related injury and illness rate dipped slightly to an estimated 3.2 per every 100 full-time workers in 2018, according to figures released Friday, Nov. 8 by the state Department of Labor and Industry.
That is down somewhat from the rate of 3.3 cases recorded by the agency in 2017. Case rates reported in both years are among the lowest recorded in Minnesota since the department began to track them in 1973.
"Although Minnesota has seen a 61% decrease in its rate of work-related injuries and illnesses in the past 22 years, even one injured or ill worker is one too many," department commissioner Nancy Leppink said in a statement.
The 2018 workplace injury survey estimated that approximately 71,600 workers in Minnesota claimed to have injuries or illnesses that met reporting standards set by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. That figure marks a roughly 1.24% decrease from the 72,500 recorded in the 2017 survey.
An employment base of approximately 2.79 million was surveyed for the 2018 report, according to the department, with 4,700 private and public employers submitting information. Nationally, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that an estimated 3.5 million cases of nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses occurred in 2018 — or approximately 3.1 cases per every 100 full-time workers.
Manual labor accounted for some of the highest workplace injury rates recorded in 2018, according to department figures. Minnesota's construction industry had the highest total injury and illness rate at an estimated five cases per every 100 full-time workers. Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting together accounted for an estimated 4.9.
A rate of 4.4, meanwhile, was recorded for the transportation and warehousing industries.
- The rate of workers who took one or more days off from work due to injury remained on par in 2018 to those reported in previous years at approximately one case per every 100, or 21,200 cases. The median number of days spent away from work was six.
- Sprains, strains and tears, according to the department, were reported to make up 35% of all injuries that resulted in missed days of work. The second most common injury was pain and soreness at approximately 20%.
- The back was the most common part of the body to be injured in 2018, according to the department, with 19% of all reported injuries affecting it. Head and hands accounted for 10% each.
- Overexertion and bodily reactions were reported as the most common injury event in 2018 at 36% of all cases. Falls, trips or slips made up approximately 28%, while being struck by objects or equipment accounted for 22%.
- The most common sources for injury were workplace floors and ground surface at 19% of cases, with bodily motions making up 17%. Vehicles, including forklifts, made up an estimated 10%.