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Sauk Rapids Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Occupational hazards faced by today’s nurses

If you make your living working as a nurse, other people count on you regularly to see to it that they stay as healthy as possible. Regrettably, however, your role as a nurse exposes you to injuries and hardships of your own, with nurses, per the National Center for Biotechnology Information, typically reporting higher-than-average instances of job-related injuries and illnesses.

Recognizing where your occupational health risks lie may help you learn to adopt safer practices and take more strides to protect yourself, so know that your role as a nurse places you at risk of:

Construction workers and back injuries

Minnesota construction workers are at high risk for receiving a back injury while on the job. As reported by Fox News, work-related musculoskeletal disorders of the joints, muscles, tendons and nerves are higher among construction workers than in all other industries combined.

Work-related musculoskeletal disorders make up approximately 25 percent of all nonfatal construction injuries, and back injuries account for over 40 percent of all WMSDs. In 2014, the average number of days away from work needed by a construction worker to recover from a WMSD rose to eight. Approximately $46 million was lost in wages that same year.

Construction workers and traumatic brain injury

Construction workers in Minnesota and across the nation are at substantial risk for receiving a work-related traumatic brain injury because they so often must work on roofs, scaffolding, tall ladders, etc. where they are subject to falls. The Mayo Clinic defines a traumatic brain injury as one where an external mechanical force comes into contact with the head, causing brain dysfunction. A TBI usually results from a blow to the head, whether or not the object penetrates the skull.

Falls are by far the most common accidents that cause a TBI. The farther the fall, the greater the risk for receiving one. Likewise, the harder or sharper the surface coming into contact with the head, the greater the likelihood of a serious or even catastrophic TBI.

Do women have fewer workplace injuries than men do?

The most dangerous jobs in America are also ones that men tend to dominate, such as construction and logging. With high fatalities and injuries in these industries, it may seem that men are far likelier to experience workplace accidents than women are.

Although women suffer fewer job-related injuries, the difference in numbers is not as great as it seems. Women also tend to experience specific types of injuries. Looking at the data can help explain these facts.

New electrical standards highlight safety

Minnesota residents who work in jobs that involve close contact with electrical lines, receptacles and more know that safety is or at least should be a top priority at all times. This is why the Occupational Safety Health Administration has created multiple sets of safety standards that relate to electricity.

Some of OSHA's electrical safety standards are outlined for general purposes and some are detailed for specific industries or lines of work such as construction. Part of the agency's requirement is that employees are provided proper training about how to stay safe. Employers may even request completely confidential consultations with OSHA to get help in maintaining safety or even correcting a potential concern. If a violation is noted and a citation issued, there may be a specific set of time within which corrective action must be taken.

Can you incur a burn at work?

You may think you do not need to worry about burns at your Minnesota job. Workplace injuries can include burns, though, and it is important for you to know what you can do to prevent these wounds.

Burn injuries can differ in their severity. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says that the worst kind of burn you can get is a fourth degree burn. This means that your tendons, muscles and sometimes even your bones may have been harmed because every layer of your skin was damaged. If you incur a third degree burn, the top two layers of your skin sustain damage. After incurring this kind of burn, your skin might look charred on the burn site. Additionally, the tissue beneath the dermis may also be damaged.

Is a safety violation making your work site dangerous?

You probably already know that the construction industry is a dangerous one to work in. Every year, according to statistics from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, thousands of construction workers in Minnesota and across the country die or sustain serious injuries on the job. Despite the precautions you take to keep yourself and others safe at your work site, you might be at risk from safety violations.

Vital safety standards are mandatory at every construction site to reduce the numbers of fatal and disabling accidents that occur yearly in the construction industry. However, not everyone always observes these standards. For example, your employer might find that skipping training or the provision of necessary safety equipment increases work speed and cuts costs. Your coworkers might engage in dangerous horseplay or disregard safety measures.

Woman dies in work transportation accident

Family members who have loved ones employed in the construction industry in Minnesota should be able to trust that employers maintain strict safety standards on job worksites so that their relatives can be kept safe from injury when performing their jobs. This can include not only implementing safety protocols but educating all workers on those protocols and enforcing their adherence.

Sadly, there continue to be situations in which construction site workers are injured and even killed on the job. In fact, one such incident just happened recently in Delano. The event occurred where some roadwork was happening. Two trucks were on the job site and the driver of one of the trucks had gotten out of her vehicle for some reason that is not known. While she was outside the truck, she was struck by another truck.

What are the steps in the workers' comp claims process?

If you get injured on the job in Minnesota, you need to make sure take the proper steps to make your workers' compensation claim. Any legitimate on-the-job injury makes you eligible to seek compensation for lost wages, medical bills and possibly other expenses related to the injury. However, if you do not follow the right procedure to make your claim, you could be denied any benefits.

Understanding the process involves getting a clear idea of what it entails. You should know every step from what to do when you get injured to how your claim will be finalized.

Treating scars from workplace injuries

Minnesota workers like you who have suffered through traumatic and painful accidents at the workplace may be left with unfortunate reminders. Scars can last a long time, and some may not heal properly at all. Fortunately, there are options available to you if you're looking to reduce the appearance of any scars that may linger.

MedScape reports on both hypertrophic and keloid scarring, two of the most invasive and aggressive scars that you can suffer from. These scars are generally caused by sudden and acute trauma, which is why they're so common in accidents that involve heavy machinery, electrical burns, and other common sources of workplace accidents. These scars are also difficult to care for. Due to their raised nature and the discoloration that accompanies them, they can be very noticeable. This might have an obvious impact on your mental health, especially if the scars are in a highly visible location.

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