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Workplace injury statistics

Many Minnesota workers are injured every year in workplace accidents. Although the numbers of those injured remain high, the rates of workplace injuries have actually declined over the past 11 years nationwide. Experts attribute the continued decline in workplace injuries to better governmental oversight and regulation as well as both employee and employer-driven steps to prevent workplace accidents from occurring.

A survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that three million workplace injury and illness cases were reported in 2013. While the numbers were high, they demonstrated a statistically significant decrease over the numbers of workplace injuries in 2012.

Across sectors, rates of injury varied. Government employees demonstrated much higher injury rates than their private industry counterparts, reporting an average of 5.2 cases per 100 workers. That number was still an improvement over the 5.6 cases per 100 workers that were reported in 2012. In the private industry sector, employers in the retail trade, utilities and manufacturing all demonstrated significant declines in reported injuries. Other private industry types showed no significant change, however.

Although the numbers are decreasing, workplace injuries still occur. Despite better regulation and enforcement, some employers consistently violate safety standards, putting their employees at risk of injury. While steps can be taken to lessen the likelihood of suffering injury from a workplace accident, such accidents are not entirely avoidable. As a result, Minnesota law provides that employers in the state must provide coverage to their employees through its workers' compensation program. A worker who is injured on the job may be able to pay for all associated medical expenses and ongoing treatment costs through filing a workers' compensation claim. Additionally, if the injury results in time lost from work, benefits may be available to replace the lost income.

Source: Occupational Health & Safety, "Three Million Workplace Injuries and Illnesses in 2013: BLS", December 05, 2014

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