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Number of fatal workplace injuries went up in 2014

The annual total of fatal work injuries in the United States went up slightly in 2014, according to the 2014 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. There were 4,821 fatal work injuries in 2014, a figure that includes several Minnesota fatalities and which equates to 3.4 fatal work injuries for every 100,000 full-time employees. The fatal work injury rate in 2013 was 3.3 for every 100,000 full-time employees.

The overall total of fatal work injuries in 2014 is the first increase since 2010 and the highest annual total since 2008. The final total of fatal work injuries for 2014 was announced after preliminary numbers were released in September 2015. Updates were made to the preliminary total after existing cases were revised and newly identified cases were added.

One of the industries with a lot of fatal work injuries in 2014 was the private construction industry, where 899 full-time workers were killed on the job. The number of private construction employees that were killed in 2014 represented a 9 percent increase compared to 2013. Fatal work injuries in the private mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction industries were the highest they have been since 2007. More workers over the age of 55 were killed on the job in 2014 than in any previous year.

Although there have been significant efforts to improve workplace safety in Minnesota and around the country, workplace injuries can and do happen. Most Minnesota employers are required to carry workers' compensation insurance to provide medical care and other benefits to those employees who are injured on the job. People who are unsure of their eligibility or who need assistance in filing a claim may want to meet with an attorney to discuss their situations.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Fatal Work Injuries in Minnesota -- 2014", Dec. 31, 2015

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