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Sauk Rapids Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Tips to help prevent office injuries

While some jobs in Minnesota involve greater risk than others due to the physical demands involved, we at Lindberg Law recognize that workplace injuries can happen anywhere, in all types of workplaces. Even those who perform sedentary desk jobs are not immune; the injuries associated with them may be different yet still have the potential to prevent you from performing your job duties effectively. 

If you do become injured at your desk job, you have the same rights as every other employee to seek workers' compensation. However, according to Monster.com, there are steps you can take to prevent office injuries from occurring in the first place. 

3 serious risks health care workers face on the job

Health care workers may not seem like a group of employees who are particularly at risk for on-the-job injuries. However, the reality is that this sector is one of the most dangerous in terms of workplace injuries.

Health care workers are continuously performing certain types of tasks at work that put them at a higher risk of injury than employees in many other professions. In all cases of workplace injuries, it is important for the worker to report the injury and get the appropriate medical treatment needed. Here are three of the most serious risks that health care workers face.

2017 a deadly year for Minnesota workers

The end of the year is a time for many to take stock of the events of the previous 12 months to try to identify patterns, both good and bad, to replicate successes and to learn from mistakes. While statistics from 2018 are not yet available, a report recently released by the Department of Labor and Industry indicates that 101 people in Minnesota died from work-related accidents in 2017. 

According to the report, twelve of the 101 workplace fatalities in 2017 were women, while the rest were men. Most of the accidents involved workers age 55 and older, while nearly half involved transportation. Statistics from the last three years indicate that fatal workplace accidents are on the rise, with 92 workplace fatalities in 2016 and 74 in 2015. 

The hidden danger of forklifts

As a worker on a Minnesota construction site, you likely understand how to keep safe whenever a forklift is in operation. From pinning a worker, to tipping over, to dropping its load on an unsuspecting person, forklifts present a number of dangers that workers are trained to watch for. However, forklifts also present a more silent danger that some construction workers might overlook.

Forklifts can operate both in the outdoors and inside an enclosed structure. The hidden danger of a forklift is generally not going to manifest if it is used outside. Inside, however, is another matter. A forklift is a motorized vehicle, and just like your car or truck, it emits carbon monoxide, which can be very dangerous if operated in an enclosed space with no way for the gas to escape.

What is acute compartment syndrome?

If you have broken an arm or a leg in a workplace injury in Minnesota, you need to be on your guard for possible complications that can be at least as serious as the initial injury. Acute compartment syndrome is a potentially dangerous complication of a broken bone in the upper or lower extremities that may require emergency surgery to correct. According to WebMD, acute compartment syndrome can develop within days or even hours of the initial injury. The most common sites for compartment syndrome to develop are the arms, legs and abdomen.

Compartment syndrome gets its name from the compartments within the body containing organs or muscles grouped together and surrounded by connective tissue called fascia that form strong webs around the compartments, holding the structures within them in place. Compartment syndrome occurs when fluid such as blood accumulates in a compartment after an injury, increasing pressure within the compartment and inhibiting blood flow to the tissues.

Logging: One of the nation’s most dangerous professions

When you make your living as a logger, you face a level of on-the-job risk higher than that faced by workers across most other professions. In addition to regularly working in remote locations where medical care is often unavailable, the nature of your job typically requires that you work from heights, with heavy machinery and for long stretches of time.

Just how dangerous is working in the logging industry, and where do you face some of the most substantial risks?

Staying warm at work this winter

Sauk Rapids residents do not need to be told that Minnesota's winters can become extremely cold. You feel this every day during the winter season, especially if you labor in a profession that involves a lot of work outdoors (such as the construction industry). With the winter fast approaching, it is important to know not only how to protect yourself from the cold, but also what obligations your employer has to do so, as well. Many come to us here at Lindberg Law, P.C. after having suffered an injury from exposure while at work thinking that they have no legal recourse. That may not be case. 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration does not have any set standards in place addressing cold weather working conditions. This does not mean, however, that your employer is allowed to leave you and your coworkers literally "out in the cold." Federal law requires that your employer protects you from recognized hazards; exposure to extreme cold may certainly fall into that category. 

How can employers protect workers from loud noise?

When it comes to protecting workers, Minnesota employers should not neglect the issue of workplace noise. While some jobs do not feature loud work environments, industries like construction, manufacturing and maintenance do produce a lot of noise that can damage the hearing of workers. While workplace noise can be reduced by administrative or mechanical means, it is not always possible, so employers should take steps to protect their workers.

Occupational Health and Safety advises employers to equip workers with the proper protection gear. Sometimes ear plugs will be sufficient. In workplaces where there is a lot of low frequency sounds, a worker can put on a pair of ear muffs. Simple gear like muffs and plugs are easy to take out and are convenient for the worker. Sometimes, however, stronger and more elaborate head protection gear is needed.

How much risk of electrocution do you face?

If you work construction in Minnesota, no one need tell you that your various job sites are full of power tools and other electrical equipment. What you may not realize, however, is that being surrounded by electricity on a day-to-day basis puts you at high risk for receiving electrocution injuries.

Per Construction Connect, work site electrocutions constitute the second highest of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s “Fatal Four” list of construction deaths. In order of frequency, these four rank as follows:

  1. Falls
  2. Electrocutions
  3. Struck-by-object accidents
  4. Caught-in-between-object accidents

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

When you hear about workers' compensation, horrific injuries or accidents in dangerous professions will often come to mind. However, any worker in Minnesota can suffer from workplace injuries no matter what industry you're in. Lindberg Law, P.C., is here to discuss Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, a form of repetitive stress injury.

Many workers will make repetitive motions throughout a day, regardless of what type of motion they're doing. For example, secretaries will often have to do a lot of typing. However, if you make the same motions with your wrists day in and out, you risk developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

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