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Preventing workplace injuries in Minnesota

Many workers in Minnesota are injured each year due to accidents or repetitive physical stress from work activities. There are preventative measures that workers can take in order to reduce the likelihood they will be injured while working on the job.

The most common types of workplace injuries include those caused by overexertion, falling on the same level, bodily reaction injuries, falling to another level and being struck by objects at work. Overexertion injuries occur from repeatedly carrying, throwing, lifting, holding, pushing or pulling objects. Bodily reaction injuries are those that occur from bodily movements without falling, including bending, climbing, reaching, slipping without falling, tripping and standing or sitting.

In order to prevent overexertion injuries, workers should be properly trained. They should ask for help when needed or use assistive devices if they are available. Simple measures such as keeping the work area free from clutter and using non-slip coatings on floors can help prevent many falls. Bodily reaction injuries may be reduced by making certain tools are stored in easy-to-reach areas and by using good posture. Preventing falls to lower levels can involve making certain that ladders and scaffolding have been built and maintained well and that they are appropriately in place. Wearing hard hats and making certain materials are stacked properly can help reduce injuries from falling objects.

While there are steps people can take to lessen the likelihood of being injured while on the job, injuries still do occur in the workplace. When people are injured at work, they may be able to receive benefits through filing a workers' compensation claim. A workers' compensation claim can provide benefits for incurred medical and treatment expenses, physical therapy and lost wages from work in the event a person is partially or totally disabled from the injury. Injured workers may wish to speak with a workers' compensation attorney about their situation.

Source: EHS Today, "Preventing the Top 5 Workplace Injuries", Langdon Dement , November 16, 2014

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