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2017 a deadly year for Minnesota workers

The end of the year is a time for many to take stock of the events of the previous 12 months to try to identify patterns, both good and bad, to replicate successes and to learn from mistakes. While statistics from 2018 are not yet available, a report recently released by the Department of Labor and Industry indicates that 101 people in Minnesota died from work-related accidents in 2017. 

According to the report, twelve of the 101 workplace fatalities in 2017 were women, while the rest were men. Most of the accidents involved workers age 55 and older, while nearly half involved transportation. Statistics from the last three years indicate that fatal workplace accidents are on the rise, with 92 workplace fatalities in 2016 and 74 in 2015. 

The report also included some statistics that may be surprising. The good news for construction workers is that fatal construction accidents actually decreased; there were only eleven in 2017 compared to fifteen in 2016. Deaths in the retail sector, however, showed an increase, as did deaths in the workplace resulting from violence from persons or animals. 

Minnesotans can reasonably expect a report on 2018 workplace deaths in mid-December of next year. As of now, Minnesota OSHA still has an investigation of a 2018 workplace death pending: an incident in June which found a man preparing to repair a power line lying on the ground. 

Because the report focused specifically on workplace fatalities, it does not reflect the number of non-fatal workplace injuries that occurred in 2017. However, the trend of increasing workplace deaths suggests that the number of accidents resulting in non-fatal injuries may be significant. Those who have sustained an on-the-job injury, particularly if it happened on a construction site, may find it helpful to discuss the case with an attorney. 

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