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Woodbury Legal Blog

Statistics: Minnesota improving workplace safety

As this blog has reported before, our state has a relatively good track record for workplace safety, at least in some respects. The good news for residents of the greater Twin Cities area is that the state continues to improve in its effort to prevent workplace accidents.

According to numbers reported by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, which among other things administers the workers' compensation program, as of 2017, our state enjoyed its lowest ever rate of workplace accidents. Specifically, there were 3.3 reportable work-related illnesses and injuries per 100 full-time workers in this state, a drop from 3.4 in 2016.

Important tips to help workers stay safe from back injuries

Back injuries at work can be very serious because you use your back for almost everything you do. It is imperative that work places have protocol for reducing the risk of incidents that can lead to this. It is easy to think that the workers should be the ones who are responsible for safety, but the responsibility actually falls on the employers.

No matter what industry a company falls under, employers and employees can benefit from knowing some information about what the more common causes of back injuries are. This helps them ensure that they have adequate protocol to address the issues.

On-the-job injuries are more common than one might think

Workers in the Minnesota area might not realize it, but it is actually fairly likely that, on a given day, they will either get hurt at work themselves or may witness a significant workplace accident. According to an analysis by the National Safety Council, someone in this country gets hurt at work at an average rate of 7 seconds. The Council arrived at this number by dividing the approximately 4.5 million work-related injuries that happen annually.

Many of these accidents are more than just minor cuts or scrapes that can be treated at the scene. In fact, the Safety Council estimated that, as of 2016, workers were missing 104 million days of work annually due to various injuries. The most common types of injuries that kept people away from work included bad cuts and scrapes, generalized pain and sprains and the like.

What can you do when a work injury will keep you out of a job?

Most people who get hurt at work don't have any long-term consequences. They may miss a few days of work for medical treatment, but otherwise the impact of the injury will be minimal. For other people, the impact of a workplace injury could be long-lasting.

For some people, despite their best efforts, the injuries they suffer because of their profession will ultimately keep them from continuing to practice that profession. In fact, accumulated injuries, such as repetitive motion injuries, can also have long-term consequences despite lacking a single event that leads to the injury.

Independent contractor status issues in construction accidents

When a worker gets hurt in a construction accident, it may be hard for that worker, or the family, to know to whom to turn in order to get compensation. In theory, the construction worker's own employer should have worker's compensation available to cover the injured worker's medical bills and lost wages.

Unfortunately, though, some construction outfits choose to ignore this law. In other cases, a worker may find he or she is without benefits because of an honest mistake or a misunderstanding of Minnesota law.

What causes a trench collapse?

Many construction sites and other workplaces include trenches, that is, narrow tunnels in the earth that workers dig out with heavy equipment. Trenches are commonplace at many different types of Minnesota worksites. For instance, workers use them to lay or repair sewage, water, gas and other underground utility lines. A trench may also be needed when workers are building or repairing a road or doing other work that requires access underground.

According to a union that represents many people in the Twin Cities area who work with trenches, the biggest danger associated with a trench is the possibility the trench will collapse. In addition to an immediate and hard blow to the head, a collapse can lead to a crush injury or even death by suffocation.

Beloved Minnesota coach injured in work accident

A man from the northern part of our state, who gave of his time to coach lacrosse and referee soccer games for a nearby school system, has suffered critical injuries because of a work-related accident. As of the latest report, the man was able to breathe with the help of a machine, but was comatose, suggesting he may have suffered a severe brain injury.

Initial reports were that the man fell about 20 feet from a conveyor. He was working at a lumberyard at the time of the accident, and rescuers transported him to a hospital in Duluth.

Is your repetitive motion injury work-related?

Workers' compensation insurance is an important part of the system we have to protect the rights and safety of workers. It offers compensation and access to medical care when a person suffers an injury while on the job. However, these insurance policies are also in place to protect employers from frivolous lawsuits. In many cases, the insurers that provide them prefer to protect their bottom line over protecting injured workers.

When you experience a work-related injury, it is wise to look at your circumstances carefully to ensure that your workers' compensation provider does not minimize your payout or refuse coverage that you should receive. This is particularly true when it comes to repetitive motion injuries and other ailments that develop slowly over time.

We offer a range of options for injured construction workers

As anyone in the Minneapolis and Saint Paul area who has worked construction knows, there are many ways to get hurt while on a construction site doing work. For instance, oftentimes, construction zones involving scaling scaffolding to great heights or working below ground in a deep trench. Objects can fall, trenches can collapse and a worker can herself lose balance and take a tumble from a great height. Sometimes, the problem lies with a defective or dangerous tool or machine, while at other times equipment collapses, causing falls and other serious injuries.

One must also not forget that construction zones, particularly along a highway, are crowded with cars and other motor vehicles and drivers can of course get in to accidents. Even white collar workers who are employed by construction firms are not immune from a job-related car accident or even a fall or other injury.

What if I get hurt at my employer's recent party?

Many workers in the greater Twin Cities area may have attended a recent holiday party, or just an end-of-the-year event, in recent days. While hopefully everyone managed to stay safe at these events, there is always a chance an employee can get injured at a social event like the annual holiday party. Of course, this applies to other company outings that take place at other times of the year as well.

While one might not realize it, workers' compensation benefits could be available to an employee who gets hurt at an employer-sponsored office event. The reason is that benefits cover not only accidents that happen while on the company's premises and while employees are actively performing their job functions but also at just about any work-related activity.

Baehman law

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Woodbury, MN 55125

Phone: 651-447-6657
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