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What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

As we continue to become reliant on technology is all aspects of life, many Minnesota jobs will include work on computers and require many hours spent typing. Such situations can take a toll on the hands, wrists and arms, leading to occupational diseases. One of the most common of these is carpal tunnel syndrome.

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons explains carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition associated with pain or sensation issues in the wrist, hand and arm. It is caused by compression of the median nerve, which is a main nerve leading to the hand. Without proper treatment, this compression can cause permanent nerve damage.

Calculating payments for Minnesota workers' comp benefits

When an employee gets hurt on the job, receiving workers' compensation benefits can be quite helpful. This award may be essential to relieving financial and physical strain. 

If you or a loved one are looking to receive such benefits, it is important to understand which workers' compensation you qualify for because it determines how much compensation you will receive. There are three main types of workers' compensation, and each has its own calculation method.

How can you get the most out of your workers' compensation?

As an integral member of the workforce in Minnesota, you leave for work each day with a list of duties to accomplish and tasks to complete. Depending on the job you have and the industry you work in, you may face unique and inherent risks. Protecting yourself is due in large part to using proper safety equipment, protocols and methods to complete your responsibilities. However, if an accident occurs and you are injured, it is imperative that you are properly educated about how you can get the most out of your workers compensation policy. 

According to NY Daily News, your familiarity with several important facts about dealing with workers' compensation can play a significant role in how effective your policy is in protecting you in times of need. Some of the things you can do include the following:

  • Inform health care workers that your injury occurred on a job site, what you were doing and any equipment you were using.
  • Be responsible at work and never arrive at your occupation if you are under the influence.
  • Be proactive about reporting any illnesses or injuries you have sustained if you are at all suspicious that they are work-related.
  • Participate in programs provided by your employer aimed at educating you about how your policy works and what is covered. 
  • Be familiar with which medical providers and health care facilities are connected with your policy to ensure you seek help from professionals that are covered under your plan.

Moving forward after a work zone accident

Workers face a wide variety of threats each day, whether a construction worker falls off of a building, an office worker slips on a wet floor, or an electrician is shocked, to name just a few. Having said that, work zones can be particularly dangerous in Saint Paul, and all over the state of Minnesota. The Fellman Law Office knows that those who are required to work in a work zone may be injured or even killed in a crash, the details of which vary from one incident to another.

Setting aside intense heat and other weather-related risks, those working in a highway construction zone may be struck by a vehicle driven by a random driver or a co-worker. They may be hit by someone traveling at a dangerously high speed or by a work truck that was backing up inappropriately. Another hazard is the use of dangerous equipment. Clearly, work zones can be an incredibly dangerous place for people to work and those who find their lives thrown into chaos over an accident should do what they can to move forward.

Countering the risks of the lone worker

Many people in Minnesota may enjoy working alone and feel comfortable working independently without others around. However, when it comes to workplace injuries, being alone can be a serious liability. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration recognizes this, and has set standards that employers must follow.

The primary responsibility of the employer is to check in with the worker at regular intervals to make sure he or she is safe. OSHA does not specify how this should be done, but it may be feasible through radio, phone or other verbal communication, or it could be a visual update, in person or electronically, depending on the circumstances. At the end of the job or the shift, the employer also needs to account for the worker's safety.

How can employers reduce workplace vehicle accidents?

Workplace vehicle accidents happen more often than you may realize in Minnesota. It is such a problem in this country that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has put together specific safety advice to help employers minimize accidents involving workplace vehicles. Following these tips from OSHA can help you to ensure your employees are safer and prevent the expenses that result from accidents.

Keeping vehicles and employees safe starts with having a solid plan. You should establish rules, regulations and guidelines for the use of company vehicles and driving while on the clock. Employees should be trained in safe driving practices, including wearing seat belts, avoiding distracted driving and not driving when tired. You can implement programs, such as the NETS 10 Step Program, which encourages involvement of everyone in a company, along with proper vetting of employees who will drive, regular vehicle maintenance and strong policy creation.

How do crush injuries happen?

If you work in the construction industry in St. Paul, your working conditions as well as the tools of your trade serve as constant reminders that yours is one of the most dangerous occupations in America. There are many different scenarios that you may encounter on the job site that could put you and others in jeopardy. Crush injuries rank among those whose dangerous potential is likely the least appreciated. Despite being listed among the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's "Fatal Four," crush accidents and their causes are still largely under-researched and unanticpated by employers.

Crush accidents are those that involve the crushing of extremities, limbs or (in some cases) an entire body. Those that do not result in death could leave you needing to have an affected limb amputated or extensive reconstructive surgery (both of which can be costly in terms of money and recovery time). Most crush injuries occur in the one of the following three scenarios:

  • The fall or collapse of building materials: This may include a structural collapse or the caving in of a trench during excavation work.  
  • Being caught in-between equipment: When working in tight confines, it is easy to become caught in between the ground or a wall and a forklift, excavator or other piece of heavy equipment. 
  • Coming into contact with moving machine parts: Loose articles of clothing can quickly become caught in a press or shearing equipment, pulling limbs or even a person in between moving parts of a functioning machine.

What occupational diseases does workers’ compensation cover?

Most Minnesota workers know workers’ compensation covers them for any injuries they sustain in workplace accidents. But they may not be aware that workers’ compensation also covers occupational diseases. In many workplaces, illnesses are just as common as accidents. Exposure to certain chemicals and toxins may not lead to sickness right away. Sometimes it can take years after exposure for some occupational diseases to develop. 

Employees should take some time to learn about the types of illnesses that workers’ compensation covers. 

What should I do after a workplace accident?

One of the challenges you face every day when you go to work in Saint Paul is staying safe. Workplace accidents are very prevalent and can happen anywhere, especially while you are at work. According to Fortune.com, workplace accidents are the cause of 5,000 deaths each year. The number of employees who sustain injuries while on the job is 2.9 million. You may not anticipate being in a workplace accident. But unfortunate incidents often happen unexpectedly. 

Learn about measures you should take after a workplace accident. Not knowing what to do and taking too long to act can lead to complications your workers’ compensation claim. 

What to know about the independent medical exam

Workers who apply for workers' compensation benefits in Minnesota may need to go through an Independent Medical Examination. It is true that not all applicants receive a notice to attend an IME. Those with relatively small and straightforward claims have a greater likelihood of a quick approval.

On the other hand, if the insurer does not resolve your claim within a few months, it may intend to deny it or to dispute the amount of the claim. When insurance companies schedule an IME, they usually aim to gather information to help them substantiate an eventual denial.

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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AV Preeminent | Mark J. Fellman