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Minnesota Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Is your office a minefield of safety hazards?

If you are an office worker in Minnesota, your workplace might not be as safe as you think. As in all other work environments, hazards exist, many of them common to all industries. Although carpal tunnel syndrome, caused by the repetitive motions made while typing or using a mouse for hours on end, is a known work-related condition among office and tech workers, a variety of other office injuries can lead to workers' compensation benefits claims.

Picture yourself carrying a monitor to your desk and tripping over a loose carpet. You fall and fracture your arm. Hospital and doctors' fees are astronomical. With your arm in a cast, you are unable to do your job, and the lost income wreaks havoc with your finances. If you are aware of potential risks, you might avoid workplace injuries.

Did you know that exposure to chemicals can cause hearing loss?

AdobeStock_135408512.jpegDo you work in the Minnesota manufacturing industry? You might not even be aware that the presence of some chemicals manufacturers use can adversely affect your hearing. Working with all types of machinery in plants that manufacture textiles and apparel, paint and associated products, chemicals, furniture, plastics, and other products can make you vulnerable to toxic chemical exposure.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says research indicates that exposure to ototoxicant-containing chemicals can harm the hearing and balance of exposed workers, and simultaneous noise exposure can exacerbate the danger. OSHA aims to increase awareness of this relatively unknown workplace hazard.

Occupational asthma can take your breath away

AdobeStock_118211938.jpegAre you struggling to breathe when you are at work? You might have occupational asthma due to exposure to dust, gases, fumes or other substances that can harm your lungs. If you were an asthma sufferer as a child, it might come back, or already existing asthma may worsen. Smokers and anybody with a family history of this lung disease or any other allergies may also be more susceptible to develop asthma.

If your symptoms appear while you are at work, and ease when you go home or have some time off, it might indicate that your health problem is work-related. Even workers who have never had asthma problems may have allergic reactions to substances at work.

Is your job painful?

AdobeStock_85698511.jpegYou really never minded going to the same Minnesota location and doing the same job, day after day. In fact, you'd always be sort of a creature of habit, and when your structure and routine is the center of your life, you feel at ease. You may even have been glad your job was not on the typical lists of most dangerous jobs in the nation.

You'd heard stories about the risks other workers in more hazardous positions encounter regularly, such as those who work on construction sites, on the railroad or in emergency community service industries. It all changed, however, when you began to feel aches and pains that you just couldn't seem to shake no matter what you tried. A colleague mentioned the term repetitive strain injury to you and suggested you seek a medical examination. Your friend also mentioned that such situations often lead to workers' compensation claims.

Shoulder injury? Is it smart to settle a workers' comp claim?

AdobeStock_50652758.jpegIf you have suffered a work-related shoulder injury, you may experience long-term health consequences. Shoulder injuries fall into the category of sprains, strains and tears, and it makes up a significant percentage of occupational musculoskeletal injuries. As with any other work-related injuries, you will be entitled to pursue financial relief through the Minnesota workers' compensation insurance system.

However, some may advise you not to accept any settlement offers from your employer's insurance provider without careful consideration. It might be wise to learn about the pros and cons of the types of settlements that are available.

Work-Related Knee Injuries Are More Common Than You May Think

260s AdobeStock_48276979.jpegFootball fans are generally familiar with how devastating a knee injury can be. ACL injuries seem to occur frequently on the gridiron. However, the potential for knee injuries occurring on the job for people who work in health care, the construction industry, in an office, or any other setting may not be as well known. 

The fact of the matter is, more than 100,000 workers suffer knee injuries on the job each year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Knee injuries are highly common across all occupations, ranking third among all serious work injuries and accounting for 5 percent of all work-related injuries that require a trip to the emergency room.

Don't Fall Down On Your Workers' Compensation Claim After A Fall

225 150 AdobeStock_67017182.jpegMinnesota workers know that there are some jobs that are simply more dangerous than others. Industries such as construction and health care may carry a higher risk of a worker suffering an injury, but every man and woman who works faces a threat that he or she could suffer an injury at some point.

One of the greatest threats to worker safety is the risk of a fall. In fact, workplace falls are one the major sources of injuries to employees of all kinds. If you fell and suffered an injury in your workplace, it is possible that you could have grounds to pursue financial support through a workers' compensation claim. You would be wise not to make any assumptions about your case and to fully explore this option.

Your Boss's Responsibilities Regarding Workers' Compensation

Minnesota workers, regardless of job description or duties, would be wise to know their rights regarding workers' compensation. Injured workers or those who become ill because of job conditions could have the right to medical care, recovery of lost wages and other types of financial support. It can also be beneficial to know what the employer's responsibilities are regarding workers' compensation.

When an employer fails in his or her obligations regarding workers' compensation, it can be detrimental to the worker. You should know your employer's procedures for work accident events, filing a claim and other aspects of the actual claims process. Your employer cannot prevent you or discourage you from seeking rightful compensation.

Chronic pain and your claim to workers' compensation benefits

You know that a work injury can sideline you from work for an extended amount of time. For some injured Minnesota workers, recovery from a work injury is complex, and pain and complications affect their ability to work long into the future. You may find yourself in this situation as well, dealing with chronic pain and other related issues. 

In some cases, a one-time injury, even something as simple as a bruise, can be the source of a diagnosed condition known as complex regional pain syndrome. This medical condition, sometimes called chronic pain syndrome, can be debilitating and impact a person's ability to work. Your case of CRPS could be the result of your work accident and injury.

What do you need to complete an application for disability?

You may have a valid disability and be unable to work in Minnesota, yet knowing how to actually obtain the benefits to which you have a rightful claim can be a complex and difficult process. It can be helpful to know what to expect and how you can move forward with your claim for Social Security Disability benefits.

Many initial claims come back denied. This is frustrating, but you have the right and option to appeal. However, properly preparing your claim the first time can be a positive step toward securing the disability benefits you need. No matter the details of your individual situation, you have the right to seek guidance for the entire benefits application process.

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