State's fatal work-injuries increased in 2021
December 19, 2022
A total of 80 fatal work-injuries were recorded in Minnesota in 2021 during the annual Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), an increase from the 67 fatal work-injuries in 2020. Minnesota's 2021 fatal-injury rate is 2.8 fatalities per 100,000 full-time-equivalent workers; the 2020 rate was 2.4 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 5,190 fatally injured workers in 2021, up 8.9% from the 2020 count of 4,764 workers. The fatal work-injury rate was 3.6 fatalities per 100,000 full-time-equivalent workers, up from 3.4 per 100,000 full-time-equivalent workers in 2020.
The CFOI also provided the following statistics for Minnesota's workplace fatalities during 2021.
• Trade, transportation and utilities recorded the highest number of worker fatalities, with 22 cases, 10 more than in 2020.
• Construction had the second-highest number of worker fatalities, with 18 cases, three more than in 2020.
• Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting recorded 11 fatalities in 2021, compared to 14 cases in 2020.
• Other industries that also saw increases in fatalities included education and health services (from two fatalities in 2020 to four in 2021) and government (from three fatalities in 2020 to five in 2021).
• The category of construction and extraction occupations had the highest number of fatalities in 2021, at 17.
• Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers was second with 16 fatalities.
Types of incidents
• Transportation incidents accounted for 33 fatalities, the most for any incident type, which was up from 28 in 2020. Twenty-two transportation fatalities occurred during roadway incidents involving one or more motorized land vehicles and five occurred during non-roadway incidents.
• Falls, slips and trips was the second most-frequent fatal work-related injury event in 2021, with 19 fatalities. This category increased from 15 fatalities in 2020.
• Violence and other injuries by persons or animals accounted for 10 fatalities in 2021.
• Male workers accounted for 73 of the 80 fatally injured workers in 2021. Forty percent were involved in transportation incidents. There were seven fatally injured female workers, one more than in 2020.
• Workers age 55 and older accounted for 32 fatalities, with transportation incidents accounting for the largest event (15 fatalities).
• Fatal work-related injuries among wage and salary workers increased from 42 in 2020 to 65 in 2021; self-employed workers accounted for 15 fatalities in 2021, compared with 25 in 2020.
Fatal occupational illnesses
Fatal occupational illnesses, including COVID-19, are out of scope for CFOI unless precipitated by an acute injury. It is possible 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 2021 (October 2020 through September 2021), MNOSHA Compliance investigated 35 workplace fatalities (see 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 Compliance 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 2021 CFOI tables are available at 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 bls.gov/iif/fatal-injuries-tables.htm.