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State's fatal work injuries decrease in 2007

Seventy-two fatal work-injuries were recorded in Minnesota in 2007, a decrease of six cases from 2006 and 15 fewer cases than in 2005.

The 2007 total is less than the average of 80 cases a year for 2002 through 2006. 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.

"It's important to remember that behind each one of these statistics are family members, friends or coworkers that have been affected by a workplace fatality," said Steve Sviggum, commissioner, Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry. "Our goal is to try to prevent workplace fatalities and ensure that employees go home at the end of the work day the same way they began it."

The CFOI also provided the following statistics for Minnesota's workplace fatalities during 2007.

Industries

•?Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting had the highest number of fatalities, with 17 cases, compared to 23 cases in 2006, which was also the highest number of fatalities. Most of the fatalities were caused by either contact with objects and equipment or transportation incidents.

•?Construction recorded the second-highest number of worker fatalities, with 16 cases, compared with 13 cases in 2006, and 25 cases in 2005.

•?Five government workers were fatally injured in 2007; its lowest number since 2003.

•?Self-employed workers accounted for 18 fatalities, including 14 fatalities to workers in agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting and four fatalities in construction. There were 21 fatalities to self-employed workers in 2006.

Types of incidents

•?Transportation incidents accounted for 24 fatalities and continued to be the most frequent fatal work-injury event. Fatalities resulting from transportation incidents decreased from 29 cases in 2006 and 34 cases in 2005.

•?Contact with objects and equipment continued to be the second-highest event category, with 16 fatalities, a large decrease from 27 cases in 2006. The most common incidents in this category were being struck by a falling object, getting caught in or compressed by equipment or objects, and getting crushed by collapsing material.

•?Eleven fatalities resulted from falls in 2007, two cases higher than in 2006.

•?Fatalities due to assaults and violent acts increased from three cases in 2006 to nine cases in 2007, but were below the 12 cases in 2005.

Gender

•?Four women were fatally injured in 2007, compared to nine cases in 2006.

•?The number of fatalities of men decreased by one to 68 cases in 2007.

The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, 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.

Minnesota 2007 CFOI tables are available at www.doli.state.mn.us/dlistats.html. National data from the CFOI program is available at www.bls.gov/iif/oshcfoil.htm.

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