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What role does MNOSHA play in worker compensation cases?

Rather than relying on the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Minnesota uses its own state agency to oversee the safety of workplaces in the greater Twin Cities area as well as the rest of the state. The agency is called the Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or MNOSHA.

Like its federal counterpart, MNOSHA enforces a series of rules that apply in some respect to all types of business conducted in this state. Some of these rules are also aimed toward specific industries and specific circumstances. MNOSHA, for instance, plays a significant role in setting safety standards for the construction sites throughout this state.

All of the rules MNOSHA enforces are designed to make sure that employers in this state make the safety and health of their workers a priority by taking the steps necessary to provide both a safe work environment and safe equipment. When employers do not follow these rules, and an accident results, MNOSHA will likely investigate the accident and, as appropriate, issue fines and other penalties to the employer as a consequence for their failure to measure up to safety standards.

However, it is not MNOSHA's role to ensure that workers get paid compensation following a construction accident. For this, injured workers should look first to the state's no-fault workers' compensation system. While the bad news is that MNOSHA issuing a citation does not, standing alone, ensure compensation, it is also true that there need not be a safety violation in order for a worker to get worker compensation benefits following an accident.

Being aware of whether MNOSHA issued a citation in connection with a work-related accident may still be important for victims if they pursue third-party liability claims against other negligent actors. The violation can be used as evidence of negligence in a lawsuit.

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