Baehman Law

Slaughterhouses efficiency raises the risks for workers

Whether you call it a slaughterhouse or a meat-processing plant, working in the meat-packing industry is difficult, backbreaking and dangerous. It's also getting worse.

Increased efficiency often comes at the expense of worker safety. In most meat-packing plants, increased efficiency translates into a push to keep the line going at all costs and -- whenever possible -- move it along even faster. Speed may be an essential part of the job, but speed is also the enemy of safety.

Little known dangers of office work

The office environment isn’t exactly considered a very dangerous place. When you think of potentially high-risk job sites, you might better imagine a construction zone. In the office, you clock in, find your desk and get to work on your phone or computer. What could possibly go wrong?

Turns out, a lot.

What types of workers' compensation are available in Minnesota?

Getting injured on the job opens up a whole slew of questions -- most of them anxiety-provoking. How long are you going to be off work? How will you pay your bills? How will you afford your medical care? What happens if you can't go back to your job?

It helps to understand as much as you can about the workers' compensation system in Minnesota. Here are some of the wage-replacement benefits typically available to injured workers:

Working as a plumber? Beware of these possible injuries

These days, plumbers are in a lot of demand -- but working as a plumber can be hazardous to your health.

One of the best ways to stay safe and avoid a workplace accident is to understand the most common risks you face. For plumbers, here are the biggest risks on the job:

How hand injuries affect workers

Your hands are important to your ability to make a living -- but your hands are also constantly in danger when you work construction, in a factory, in the heating and cooling industry or any other profession where you can easily end up with a crushing injury or an amputation of your fingers or hand.

Hand injuries are, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the second-most common type of injury in the workplace. (Back injuries are the most common.) They account for 23% of all workplace injuries and are -- above all other kinds of accidents -- the most preventable.

Your employer's duty to protect you from the heat

Climate change is making it harder for people to deal with uncomfortably high temperatures both at home and at work. There are very few laws that specifically address the needs of workers in that area. However, Minnesota is an exception.

Minnesota is one of only three states with specific laws in place to protect employees against heat injuries. These laws make employers responsible for guarding their workers against heat-related dangers.

Workers’ compensation: Can you choose your doctor?

Workers’ compensation covers your medical expenses and lost wages due to workplace injury. Workers’ compensation also reduces your employer’s liability if you are hurt on the job.

If you have been injured at work, it is crucial that you report the injury to your employer immediately. Your employer must complete a First Report of Injury form on your behalf within 10 days of being notified.

Could sleep deprivation lead to an industrial accident?

Americans tend to be sleep deprived. The struggle to maintain a work-life balance isn't easy, and the pressure of keeping up with work, managing a household and -- every so often -- having a social life can make it difficult for people to get the sleep they need.

However, a lack of sleep isn't just likely to make you grouchy or cause dark circles under your eyes. It could literally maim or kill you if you happen to work around heavy machinery in an industrial setting.

The aging of the construction industry

"Working construction" used to be a young person's occupation. After all, younger people are better suited to the labor-intensive work of construction than older workers whose bodies are starting to show the signs of a lifetime of wear and tear.

Well, in recent years, the construction industry's workforce has been getting older.

Know the 'fatal four' construction accidents

If you work in construction, nobody has to tell you that your job is dangerous. However, some dangers are more significant than others.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the top four causes of fatalities in construction include:

  1. Falls
  2. Struck-by injuries
  3. Electrocutions
  4. Caught-in or caught-between accidents
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