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Dangers of lasers for Minnesota workers

Many workers routinely use lasers as a part of their jobs. However, lasers can pose various dangers to workers who use them. According to a report issued by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, the federal agency tasked with regulating safety in workplaces, those in the medical, industrial, construction and research occupations are especially at heightened risk.

The report, released Jan. 5, indicated that those who work with lasers risk serious eye and skin injuries, including the possibility of sustaining permanent blindness and damaged tissue. OSHA previously issued safety fact sheets designed for medical professionals who work with lasers as a part of their jobs. The agency is in the process of developing training information for workers in multiple industries.

As a part of its drive to prevent injuries due to the workplace use of lasers, OSHA intends to present training and educational materials at industry conferences and safety exhibits. To that end, the agency has partnered with the Laser Institute of America. Employers are encouraged to implement training and safety procedures regarding workplace laser use.

Individuals who are injured in a work-related accident may be eligible to file a claim with their employers' workers compensation insurance carriers. Employers carry the insurance in order to protect workers from the financial fallout that can be associated with workplace accidents and injuries. The coverage can pay for medical expenses and rehabilitation costs related to the injury.

If an employee is either temporarily or permanently disabled, workers' compensation may provide monthly disability checks to replace a percentage of the income lost as a result of the injury. Despite the fact that employers are mandated to carry the coverage, employers or their carriers will sometimes dispute a filed claim. In that event, the injured worker may need the help of a workers' compensation lawyer.

Source:The Hill, "Laser injuries a threat to workers, OSHA says", Tim Devaney , Jan. 5, 2015

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