Minnesota Employment Injury and Illness Rate Data: Decreasing Workplace Injuries

The Good News:
Minnesota’s estimated workplace injury and illness rate for 2016 is at its lowest rate since the measurement started in 1973. According to the annual Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, the state had an estimated 3.4 OSHA-recordable nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses per 100 full-time-equivalent (FTE) workers in 2016. Over the past decade workplace injury and illness rates have decreased 33% in Minnesota.

The Bad News:
There were 73,600 workers with OSHA-recordable nonfatal workplace injuries in Minnesota in 2016. An estimated 21,200 worker injuries, 1.0 cases per 100 FTE workers, had one or more days away from work after the day of injury. This rate was unchanged from 2015. The median number of days of work disability for workers with one or more days away from work was five days. When we look at this data we see approximately 106,000 days of disability in 2016.

Is There Room For Improvement?

YES!

Let’s look at some more data from Minnesota:

  • The industry divisions with the highest total injury and illness rates were construction (5.0 cases per 100 FTE workers); local government (4.8); and health care and social assistance (4.7).
  • Sprains and strains accounted for 38 percent of the injuries for workers with days away from work. The second-highest category was soreness and pain, accounting for 17 percent of the cases.
  • The back (19 percent) was the most commonly injured body part, followed by hands (14 percent) and knees (10 percent).
  • The most common injury events were being struck by objects or equipment and falls on the same level, each with 15 percent of the cases, followed by overexertion while lifting or lowering, with 11 percent.

I see an opportunity to reduce this rate further when I look at what type of injuries and within what industries injuries are taking place.

How Do We Further Decrease Workplace Injuries?

  • Get ALL Employees Invested in Safety – All employees should value safety as part of their job. All employees should hold each other accountable to perform job tasks safely according to their policies and procedures.
  • Evaluate and Review Safety Procedures Regularly – Are there safer ways to perform job task? Are all the proper equipment and tools being utilized? Did something within the job process change that has now created a higher injury risk? Identify “near misses” and take corrective action to decrease risks.
  • Follow Through on Eliminating Hazards – If a potential hazard has been identified, is there someone or a group of people in charge to make the necessary correction/change in behavior to decrease or eliminate the hazard? Forming a safety committee within your organization can be a great asset.
  • Proper Training For All Employees – Train employees about workplace safety and how to identify hazards. Workplace safety training as part of employee onboarding and refreshers especially early on in employment is beneficial. You can have new employees learn safe job practices from an experienced employee. This will help build comradery and encourage safe work practices.

Do you have examples of how you made your workplace safer in 2017? Let us know in the comments!

Let’s make 2018 the safest year yet for Minnesota workers!

Dustin Eslinger, MA, ATC
Athletic Trainer
Physical Therapy Consultants, Inc.

December 14th, 2017

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