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Promoting safe driving practices in the workplace

Each day, thousands of Minnesota workers travel major thoroughfares in designated company vehicles to get from one destination to the next. While operating a company vehicle can provide a plethora of benefits, conveniences and flexibility for workers and employers alike, it also presents risks associated with potential car accidents.

For companies wishing to encourage their employees to operate their vehicle safely and in compliance with organizational policies, taking proactive precautions can help reduce the chances of accidents occurring. According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, there are steps that responsible employers can take to encourage driver safety including the following:

  • Budgeting for accidents: Even though optimistic thinking is never a bad idea, employers who do not adequately budget for potential accidents could be left with major consequences if one happens. Companies should effectively budget by implementing an effective workers’ compensation program, planning for accidents and properly allocating resources to cover costs if something happens.
  • Safe driving programs: One of the best things an employer can do is to create and implement a safe driving program. Through adequate education, management can encourage driver safety and provide incentives to employees who abide by the rules.
  • Employee education: Companies should set aside the time to provide educational opportunities to their staff regarding safe driving practices. When properly informed, employees with company-issued vehicles can feel more confident about operating their car in a way that is both safe and efficient.

Avoid workplace injuries by knowing potential dangers

While having a job is essential for the livelihood and satisfaction of many Minnesota residents, for some it can be significantly more dangerous than for others. Factors influencing a person’s risk level can include anything from industry type, to environmental exposure to types of equipment used.

Workers can be better prepared and able to avoid workplace injuries when they are fully aware of the types of dangers that could pose a threat to their safety. According to the Huffington Post, some of these dangers include the following:

  • Driving: Workers who are required to commute each day to attend appointments, service customers or deliver product are often given a company vehicle. Because they are exposed to the everyday risks associated with driving a motor vehicle, they may be at higher risk of injury than others.
  • Heights: Some industries, like construction, require people to work at excessive heights. When working on scaffolding, scaling a roof or working from the top of a cherry picker, a worker should be extra cautious of his or her surroundings and wear all applicable safety equipment to avoid falling.
  • Compression: People who operate heavy machinery or equipment are at increased risk of getting caught, compressed or crushed if they do not understand how to operate it properly. Sometimes, technical malfunctions can also occur which compromise the integrity of machinery.
  • Overexertion: For workers who are required to lift heavy objects, stand for long periods of time or face consistent exposure to hazardous environments, they are at risk of overexertion. Too much strain can compromise a person’s safety and health.

A closer look at common construction site accidents

Construction workers face unique risks in an industry that requires heavy machinery and powerful tools along with exposure to heights and other dangers, to get a job done. While many Minnesota construction companies do their best to adhere to designated safety protocols and procedures, the chance of an on-site accident is always present.

Stories in the news about construction accidents are not uncommon. In fact, according to the Inforum, a recent construction accident claimed the life of a man in East Grand Forks. The worker was employed by a contractor and was working on building a new home at the time of the accident. Investigations concluded that the man landed on concrete after falling nearly 10 feet from the garage rafters. He was transported to a local hospital where he later died as a result of the injuries he sustained in the fall.

What guidelines are in place for workplace vehicle safety?

Work-related vehicle accidents in Minnesota are a cause for concern because they occur too often. Not only are employees at risk but companies also face issues when there is an accident. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has offered some helpful advice and guidelines to help you and your employer minimize accidents

Employers should put safety programs into place to help train you to drive more safely. They should conduct regular inspections on vehicles and keep them maintained in proper working condition. Your employer should also offer incentives for good driving and have a clear system for handling violations.

Does shift work increase my risk of injury?

As a shift worker in Minnesota, you earn a good wage and can maintain a flexible schedule for your kids and other obligations. Unfortunately, it could also have an impact on your safety while on the job. 

Shift workers face particular challenges when it comes to staying safe and well. Here is what you should know about shift work and workplace accidents. 

Dealing with a repetitive stress injury

In workspaces across the country, employees suffer various types of injuries each day. Sometimes, these injuries are completely unexpected, while others may have had certain warning signs. Regardless, employees who are hurt at work in Minnesota often face numerous difficulties as they try to recover. At the Fellman Law Office, we know that many people have been hurt due to repetitive stress.

You may be at risk of suffering a repetitive stress injury if you frequently bend over to lift up objects at work. However, there are all sorts of other motions that can lead to this type of injury, including computer use, regular use of tools, and other activities that are carried out at work.

What can cause my workers’ compensation claim to be denied?

If you are getting ready to file a workers’ compensation claim in Minnesota, you may find yourself wondering what problems you may encounter during the process. Even though workers’ compensation is a benefit you are entitled by law, and you have suffered an accident at work that qualifies according to the guidelines, there are many reasons why your claim may end up getting denied. 

A denial does not mean you have no recourse. You may still get your benefits, but you will need to file an appeal to do so. To spare yourself the delays, frustrations and complications that can ensue during the claims process, you should learn about some common factors that can result in the denial of your initial claim. 

Electrocution dangers at construction sites

For many construction workers in Minnesota and other states across the country, one of the biggest risks faced every day is electrocution. The reasons for this danger are varied and can affect workers in almost any part of the industry. We at Fellman Law Office can not only help if you or a loved one have been injured by electrocution, we have also provided information on the top causes of this danger so you can be better protected.

 

Who is not entitled to workers’ compensation?

As a worker in Minnesota, you may be wondering if you have the right to make a claim for workers’ compensation. In most cases, your employer will be required to provide such coverage, but there are exceptions. According to The Office of the Revisor of Statutes, the most notable exceptions to the workers’ compensation requirement are those covered by the Federal Employers’ Liability Act. These are not the only exempt employer’s, though.

If you work on a family farm or in a family business, which is owned and operated by a family member and is a sole proprietorship, then you also have no automatic rights to coverage. Some executive officers of smaller companies and workers for veterans groups also are exempt. Independent contractors are another group without coverage rights. Employers of household workers earning below a certain amount may also not be required to provide insurance. Small limited liability companies and nonprofits paying less than $1000 in wages per year are often not required by law to provide coverage either. Finally, those who have coverage under the Domestic Volunteer Service Act of 1973 are not covered under workers’ compensation.

What are occupational diseases?

In Minnesota, you have the right to be protected against occupational diseases. According to Encyclopaedia Britannica, an occupational disease is a condition caused by your work environment. This could include a range of things, such as lung disease, repetitive stress injuries or cancer. Such conditions often take time to develop and occur due to consistent and prolonged exposure to the source causing the disease.

Employers are required by law to take certain measures to ensure you are not exposed to things that could result in an occupational illness. This includes eliminating exposure, adjusting work duties to limit exposure and providing proper safety training. There are many government agencies also tasked with assisting employers in ensuring your workplace is safe, such as OSHA. However, before protective steps can be taken hazards have to be identified.

Fellman Law Office
400 Robert Street North Suite 1740
Saint Paul, MN 55101

Toll Free: 866-532-5051
Phone: 651-222-9515
Fax: 651-225-5656
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