Minn. Fatal Work Injuries Drop

September 24, 2004

Seventy-two fatal work injuries were recorded in Minnesota in 2003, a decrease of nine cases from 2002, according to the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The total is below the five-year average for 1998 through 2002, which is 75 fatalities.

Transportation incidents continued to be the most frequent fatal work-injury, accounting for 42 percent of the cases. Fatalities resulting from transportation incidents dropped from 44 cases in 2002 to 30 cases in 2003. Fatalities due to assaults and violent acts increased from three cases in 2002 to nine cases in 2003.

Among industries, agriculture recorded the highest number of worker fatalities, with 19. This was a decrease of three fatalities from 2002. Construction had the second-highest number of fatalities, with 10 cases, a decrease of five cases from last year. The number of fatalities to government workers dropped from 12 cases in 2002 to three cases in 2003. Self-employed workers accounted for 17 fatalities, including 16 fatalities to workers in agriculture.

Seven women were fatally injured in 2003, four fewer fatalities than in 2002. The number of fatalities to men decreased from 70 in 2002, to 65 in 2003.

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 is meant to assure that 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.

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