Baehman Law

New cannabis testing devices may affect employees and employers

Minnesota, like many other states, is grappling with the changing social attitudes toward marijuana use and legislation. The possession of small amounts of cannabis has been decriminalized for decades in the state, and medicinal use of the drug is authorized for a number of hard-to-manage conditions. There's also a growing consumer preference for cannabis instead of opioids for pain control.

This has been problematic for both employers and the employees who want to use marijuana (medicinal or otherwise) on their own time. On one hand, employers are eager to move with the times and reluctant to end up in litigation when an employee needs medical marijuana. On the other hand, they also need to comply with safety regulations and keep impaired employees off the job.

First responders with PTSD qualify for workers’ comp benefits

Minnesota is one of several states that has recently passed legislation providing workers’ compensation benefits for first responders suffering from PTSD. A study says fire stations, police departments, hospitals and dispatchers across the country struggle with everyday deaths as well as the national epidemic of mass shootings.

The survey of 4,000 first responders by the Journal of Emergency Medical Services says police officers, firefighters, EMTs, paramedics and other emergency workers are ten times more likely to attempt suicide than another person, and 6% of those surveyed said they had tried to take their own lives.

State safety report shows the danger construction workers face

A new report from the Minnesota area's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) indicates that the construction industry is still incredibly dangerous to workers -- despite all the safety regulations that are supposed to be in force.

The report indicates that there have been 34 deaths due to workplace accidents in the year prior to Sept. 30, 2019. A total of 38% of those deaths were in the construction industry.

Workers' compensation claims for mental health issues rise

Workers' compensation insurers throughout the nation are seeing an influx of claims related to mental health issues, such as anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

It's unclear exactly how much of a surge in those types of claims is being seen. However, one of the large companies that manages independent medical evaluations for psychiatric claims through workers' comp has seen a 20% increase in the number of evaluations it has arranged over the last two years alone.

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.

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