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Construction's Fatal Four accident types

According to relatively recent government statistics, a little over one in five fatal workplace accidents involve construction workers. Moreover, among these construction accidents, there were four causes of accidents, dubbed the Fatal Four by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, that stand out as leading reasons for workplace fatalities at construction sites.

The Fatal Four do not include construction worker deaths related to automobile accidents, and traffic accidents could well be the most common cause of construction worker deaths.

Ag firm sets bar for workplace safety in Minnesota

In Minnesota and across the United States, June is National Safety Month. According to the National Safety Council, National Safety Month is observed every year to increase awareness and decrease incidence of the main causes of injuries or fatalities at work - as well as at home and on the road. As part of National Safety Month, the NSC acknowledges businesses that have demonstrated exemplary safety records by reducing or eliminating workplace accidents and injuries.

Syngenta Seeds is one such workplace in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Several of the company's sites in Minnesota have consistently been honored for their remarkable safety records. For example, Syngenta's production and supply facility, which is located in Danvers, Minnesota has not seen a workplace accident in more than 16 years.

Survey: Minnesota second in country for workplace safety

Each year, many workers are killed while on the job, and more are in the construction industry than in any other sector of the United States economy. According to the AFL-CIO, 92 workers lost their lives in workplace accidents in Minnesota in 2016, the latest year for which figures were available. Nationwide, more than 5,100 died on the job. Of these, 991 were killed in workplace accidents while working construction jobs.

In light of such statistics and in spite of the number of workers who have been victims of fatal accidents while on the job, it is heartening to know that Minnesota ranked second overall in the nation in terms of workplace safety. This is according to a survey of workplace safety - among other - statistics compiled and analyzed by WalletHub. In analyzing the figures, the creators of the survey looked at four discrete data points and weighted them differently to accurately reflect their impact on overall safety.

Does your injury qualify for workers’ compensation?

Suffering an injury on the job usually leads to a workers' compensation claim to provide medical care for the injured worker and to compensate him or her for lost wages, among other things. However, especially in the modern world where job roles are not always easy to define and employers may look for any reason they can use to deny coverage to a worker, it is important to understand whether an injury qualifies under workers' compensation.

Consider your own work-related injury, if you have one. You might think that it does not qualify for coverage for a number of reasons, or your employer may claim that it is outside the scope workers' compensation, but this may not be true. To keep your rights and benefits secure, pay special attention to the details and use all your resources to make sure that you receive the care and coverage for your injury that you deserve.

Workplace accidents, fatalities should be avoidable in Minnesota

After several years with a workplace fatality rate consistently well-below the national average, Minnesota's rate of work place fatalities has risen since 2014 from 2.3 deaths per 100,000 workers to 3.4 deaths per 100,000 workers. This puts the North Star State on par with the national workplace fatality rate of 3.6 deaths per 100,000 workers. Minnesota's steep rise is not reflected on a national level, where the on-the-job death rate has remained between 3.5 and 4 fatalities per 100,000 workers since 2007.

Minnesota remains below - although once again quite close to - the national average when it comes to rates of work-related accidents and illness that caused missed work days or job restrictions. Such injuries and illnesses occurred at a rate of 1.5 per 100 workers in Minnesota; while on a national level, 1.6 per 100 workers were injured or became ill on the job and missed work in 2016.

Minnesota workplace deaths lower than national average

In 2016, the latest year for which data is available, nearly 5,200 workers died on the job in the United States. This represents a sharp increase over 2015, when 4,836 people died as a result of injuries sustained in workplace accidents. For 2016, 3.6 per 100,000 workers died from injuries sustained while on the job in the United States. In Minnesota, over the same period, 92 workers lost their lives in workplace accidents - or 3.4 per 100,000 workers.

These statistics were compiled in the AFL-CIO's annual report on the number of workers killed while on the job, "Death on the Job, The Toll of Neglect." The report ranks Minnesota as the 31st most dangerous state for people to work in. One surprise is that in 2016 workplace violence was the second leading cause of death among workers in the United States. During 2016, 500 homicides were counted among the 866 deaths attributable to violence at work.

Workers in Minnesota at risk in fulfillment warehouses

Under the wrong circumstances, any workplace can be hazardous for the people who work there. The health care and construction industries are notorious for workplace injuries and large numbers of workers' compensation claims. Recently, however, online order fulfillment centers, like the Amazon warehouse facility in Shakopee, have also come under greater scrutiny from regulators and watchdog organizations.

Amazon, in particular, has drawn criticism from advocates of worker safety like the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health. To mark Workers' Memorial Week - which honors workers who died, suffered from illness or were injured while on the job - National COSH publishes an annual "Dirty Dozen" list. Included on the list are companies with repeated health or safety violations and/or whose workers were victims of severe, preventable injuries.

Fighting for injured workers in Minnesota

If you suffer an injury at your place of work in Minnesota, you may be limited to seeking medical care and reimbursement for lost wages through the state's workers' compensation system. While the notion of filing a workers' compensation claim may not seem too complicated, it is often anything but straightforward. This is because when you file a claim for workers' compensation, you are basically throwing yourself on the mercy of an insurance company.

Workers' compensation is insurance. The state requires employers to buy it, so if you're injured at your workplace, while doing your job, your medical bills will be covered and any lost wages will be reimbursed. In return for carrying workers' compensation insurance, the state ensures that an employer's liability exposure is minimized for workplace injuries. Theoretically, this is good for both employers and their employees. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work out that way.

Looking at Minnesota workplace injury statistics

There were close to 100 workplace fatalities in Minnesota in 2016, the most recent year with complete statistics. In reviewing the data, fatalities and serious injuries occur across industries and incident types. While the modern workplace is much safer than a century ago, there will always be obstacles and errors that lead to issues.

5 common landscaping injuries

It's time to get back outside in Minnesota when the final snow piles melt away and the trees begin to bud. For some this means outdoor hobbies like gardening, walking or bicycling. For the landscaping industry, it means that work is back in full season.

Landscaping is one of the country's most dangerous jobs. Nearly 200 service workers die each year from work-related injuries, which is above the average fatality rate for a job. There are many hazards, including heavy machinery, sharp equipment, working from tall heights or with electrical currents. OSHA provides a great resource for anyone in the industry that details hazards as well as safety procedures.

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