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Minnesota Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Are you at risk of suffering serious work-related injuries?

There are people in Minnesota who put their lives on the line every day. Are you one of them? Even if you are not an underwater welder, bull rider, snake milker or crocodile wrestler, several common, every-day occupations pose life-threatening hazards. You need not be a daredevil to face daily risks that could leave you with long-term health consequences or worse.

It is common knowledge that avoiding tobacco and excessive consumption of alcohol, along with a healthy diet and regular exercise, are necessary to maintain good health. However, working with dangerous equipment, exposure to toxic or poisonous materials, and other hazards could send you to the hospital. How will you cope with the medical expenses, and will you be able to care for your family if you are unable to return to work for an extended period?

Any workplace can pose brain injury hazards

Regardless of whether you work on a Minnesota construction site or in an office, you could fall victim to a catastrophic injury. Even if your work environment seems safe, hazards may exist that could cause brain injuries. Such injuries can change your life forever, and it might also cause a permanent total disability. Surprisingly, incidents that seem insignificant can cause traumatic brain injuries.

It is essential to understand that a brain injury can occur even if there is no penetration wound to the head. Striking your head against a hard object could be enough to cause severe damage.

Beware, forklifts are more dangerous than they appear to be

If you are a forklift operator in Minnesota, you might not realize the perils of your occupation -- some of which can be deadly. These vehicles are more dangerous than they appear to be, and forklift accidents can have devastating consequences. Safety authorities say a significant percentage of annual workplace fatalities nationwide result from forklift accidents.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has strict forklift-related safety standards in place. The agency maintains that most forklift accidents are preventable by compliance with safety regulations.

A spinal cord injury affects nearly every part of your body

Perhaps you knew as soon as the accident occurred that something just wasn't right. Maybe you thought you were just in shock and didn't consider that your injuries were severe. In either case, hearing from doctors that you suffered a spinal cord injury was probably disconcerting and frightening.

Even if doctors tell you that you will walk again, it could be months before that happens. The fact is that your injury could be permanent and affect you for the rest of your life. In either case, you may soon find out that you have more to worry about than just the fact that you can't walk.

Working with heavy equipment can cause debilitating injuries

If you work in an industrial facility in Minnesota, you likely rely on your employer to protect your safety. However, it might be a good idea to gain knowledge about the risks posed by heavy equipment. You could lose a hand or a limb in the blink of an eye if you work on machines that lack the necessary safeguards.

Safety authorities warn workers about the amputation hazards posed by conveyors, power presses, printing presses, drill presses and roll-bending machines. In engineering facilities, you might risk such injuries if you work with a milling machine, and slitters, grinders and shears also pose amputation hazards. The meat processing industry exposes workers to the dangers posed by meat grinders, food slicers and band saws.

Does heavy machinery threaten your safety at work?

AdobeStock_139412130.jpgToo many workers in Minnesota have suffered severe or even fatal workplace injuries in hazardous work environments. Even though the Occupational Safety and Health Administration prescribes strict safety regulations and expects employers to comply with them and protect workers from known hazards, many prioritize profits instead. If you work in an industrial facility, machine safety is crucial if you want to stay safe.

Although your job might involve unique dangers, you might also be smart to take note of other common hazards that threaten your safety. Heavy machinery can cause severe injuries to operators and other workers nearby.

The many occupational hazards faced by cashiers

AdobeStock_58738070.jpgWorkers in Minnesota will always face health and safety risks, regardless of the sector in which they work. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration mandates that employers must protect employees against known hazards, but many business owners focus primarily on profits and disregard employee safety. Any workers who are in positions in which money changes hands are at an increased risk of physical harm.

If you earn your income as a cashier, your job is one of the worst when it comes to robberies, often involving firearms. Furthermore, the nature of your work also exposes you to several occupational injuries. The more you learn about the risks you face, the better that your chances will be to prevent injuries.

Are you risking your life while caring for others?

AdobeStock_124928348.jpgAll aspects and levels of nursing are demanding -- both physically and emotionally. Registered nurses in medical facilities in Minnesota frequently have to suffer the consequences of staff shortages. Inappropriate numbers of on-duty nurses threaten not only the safety and health of patients, but it also increases pressure on nurses. This could lead to fatigue and a higher rate of occupational injuries.

Are you working in a medical facility that uses mandatory overtime as a tool to limit the number of RNs they employ? The American Nurses Association regards this as a dangerous practice that creates circumstances in which preventable medical errors could occur due to nurses' fatigue.

Beware of accidental start-ups during equipment maintenance

AdobeStock_108926692.jpgIf your job involves repairs and maintenance of industrial machines in the manufacturing industry of Minnesota, you will no doubt be aware of the many hazards you face as you go about your tasks each day. Even when not active and operating, machinery poses dangers that could claim your limbs or your life. Attached energy sources like compressed air, natural gas, electricity, steam and pressurized water pose risks if there is no lockout/tagout program in place.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration mandates that any facility with industrial equipment must have an effective lockout/tagout program. Some of the requirements might seem like overkill, but the program is not only there for your protection but also other workers -- some of which might be unfamiliar with the machine.

Lesser-known hazards posed in meatpacking facilities

If you work in one of the many meatpacking plants in Minnesota, you spend your days in one of the most dangerous occupations in the country. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says workers in these facilities suffer three times more injuries than in any other manufacturing industry. You and your coworkers face a wide variety of safety hazards every day, many of which involve cuts by knives and injuries caused by equipment.

Hazards of your job include machines like bone and head splitters, jaw and snout pullers, band saws, cleavers, and other equipment used during the different stages of carcass processing. Along with that comes various lesser-known health and safety hazards, some of which could be life-threatening.

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