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Minnesota workplace fatalities rose slightly to 70 in 2012

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Minnesota recorded 70 workplace deaths last year, according to a newly released report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That was up 10 from 60 fatalities in 2011, which was an all-time low. Minnesota in 2011 had one of the lowest worker fatality rates in the nation, 2.3 workers per 100,000 workers, the AFL-CIO reported.

Of the 70 who died at work in 2012, 65 were men. Of the 70 deaths, 28 were caused by transportation accidents and 14 by contact with objects or equipment.

Eleven deaths were caused by workplace violence or by other people or animals. The most high-profile loss of life last year came in Minneapolis, when a workplace shooting at Accent Signage claimed the lives of five company workers and a UPS driver. The gunman, who had just been fired from his job at Accent, killed himself.

The all-time high for annual workplace fatalities in Minnesota came in 1993, when there were 113, WCCO reported.

Nationwide, fatal work injuries dipped in 2012 to 4,383, down from 4,693 in 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.

Meanwhile, Minnesota's workplace injury and illness rate for 2012 increased slightly from the all-time low mark in 2011. The state had an estimated 3.9 nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses per 100 full-time-equivalent workers in 2012, up from 3.8 cases in 2011, according to the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry.

The survey estimated the number of Minnesota's nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses to be 77,600 for 2012, up from 75,400 for 2011.

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