The Minnesota economy was once based largely on agriculture, mining and the fur trade. These are, of course, dangerous professions, and their dwindling popularity means safer workers. However, the shift towards a service-focused workforce is not the only factor contributing to making the state a better place to be on the job.
Of course, the economic changes play a significant role. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development reports that the majority of Minnesota workers are now employed in the service sector as opposed to in goods-producing industries. Over 10 percent of the workforce is employed in retail and over 15 percent in healthcare, as opposed to just over 10 percent the entire manufacturing sector.
As one might expect, these trends are associated with a lower overall rate of workplace injury, assumedly because more dangerous jobs are being replaced by less strenuous or less risky occupations. According to the Minnesota Department of Labor and Employment report on workplace injuries, rates of injured workers are as low as they have been since the early 1970s.
The DLI report is not good news for everybody, unfortunately. Results of the survey show that employees of certain industries are much more likely to be injured compared to the general average. These high-risk jobs include construction and healthcare. Overall, Minnesotans should take pride in the fact that workplace safety has increased in the state over the past decades. While these positive changes might be taken as a sign of a shift towards safer occupations, they are also probably due in part to the consistent efforts by workers to keep the work environment safe. Through workers’ litigation, legislation and other formal actions, the state should continue to be an increasingly safer place.