State's fatal work-injuries decreased in 2020
December 17, 2021
A total of 67 fatal work-injuries were recorded in Minnesota in 2020 during the annual Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), a decrease from the 80 fatal work-injuries in 2019. Minnesota's 2020 fatal-injury rate is 2.4 fatalities per 100,000 full-time-equivalent workers; the 2019 rate was 2.6 fatalities per 100,000 full-time-equivalent workers. These and other workplace fatality statistics come from the CFOI, conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor.
Nationally, there were 4,764 fatally injured workers in 2020, down 10.7% from the 2019 count of 5,333 workers. The fatal work-injury rate was 3.4 fatalities per 100,000 full-time-equivalent workers, down from 3.5 per 100,000 full-time-equivalent workers in 2019.
The CFOI also provided the following statistics for Minnesota's workplace fatalities during 2020.
Industries and occupations
• Construction recorded the highest number of worker fatalities, with 15 cases, four more than in 2019. The fatal-injury rate in 2020 for this industry sector is 7.9 fatalities per 100,000 full-time-equivalent workers.
• Natural resources and mining had the second-highest number of fatalities with 14 cases, compared to 24 cases in 2019.
• In addition to natural resources and mining, industries that saw decreases in fatalities included education and health services (from five fatalities in 2019 to two fatalities in 2020) and public administration (from five fatalities in 2019 to three in 2020).
• The occupation of farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers had the highest number of fatalities in 2020 at 10. The second-highest occupation was construction laborers with five fatalities.
Types of incidents
• Transportation incidents accounted for 28 fatalities, the most for any incident type, which was down from 36 transportation incidents in 2019. Seventeen transportation fatalities occurred during roadway incidents involving one or more motorized land vehicles and six occurred during non-roadway incidents. There were also two aircraft incidents.
• Falls, slips and trips was the second most-frequent fatal work-related injury event in 2020, with 15 fatalities. This is the same number of fatalities as was in this category in 2019.
• Contact with objects and equipment accounted for 11 fatalities in 2020, down from 14 fatalities in 2019.
• Men accounted for 61 of the 67 fatally injured workers in 2020. Forty-one percent were involved in transportation incidents. There were six fatally injured female workers, the same number as in 2019.
• Workers age 55 and older accounted for 35 fatalities, with transportation incidents accounting for the largest event (15 fatalities).
• Fatal work-related injuries among wage and salary workers decreased from 48 in 2019 to 42 in 2020; self-employed workers accounted for 25 fatalities in 2020, compared with 32 in 2019.
Fatal occupational illnesses
Fatal occupational illnesses, including COVID-19, are out of scope for CFOI unless precipitated by an acute injury. It is possible that a COVID-19-related fatality resulting from an acute injury may be in scope and appear on the CFOI file. However, information about COVID-19-related fatalities in source data is inconsistent and often unavailable. Therefore, BLS will not attempt to publish COVID-19-specific data.
Minnesota OSHA fatality investigations
Minnesota OSHA (MNOSHA) workplace fatality investigation statistics differ from CFOI. MNOSHA Compliance investigates all employee deaths under its jurisdiction that result from an accident or illness caused by or related to a workplace hazard. In federal-fiscal-year 2020 (October 2019 through September 2020), MNOSHA Compliance investigated 30 workplace fatalities (see http://www.dli.mn.gov/business/workplace-safety-and-health/mnosha-compliance-fatalities-investigated). The CFOI numbers include Minnesota workplace fatalities caused by traffic accidents, airplane crashes, mining accidents, farm accidents, and accidents to the self-employed, federal workers and railroad workers, none of which are covered by MNOSHA enforcement.
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.
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 (DLI) collects the information about Minnesota’s workplace fatalities for the CFOI.
Minnesota 2020 CFOI tables are available at http://www.dli.mn.gov/our-areas-service/research-and-statistics/census-fatal-occupational-injuries-cfoi. Additional data may be available by calling DLI Research and Statistics at 651-284-5428. National data from the CFOI program is available at http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshcfoi1.htm.