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Saint Paul Legal Blog

On-demand laborers fighting for workers' compensation

We’re going to guess that most people have used an on-demand delivery or ride sharing service. If you haven’t, you certainly know someone who has.

These services offer convenience for consumers, and, in ways, convenience for their workers. However, there are also issues around working for these companies, including a lack of workers’ compensation benefits.

Hearing loss: The most common workplace injury

With the prevalence of hazardously loud machinery in factories and workplaces across the country, it's no small wonder that hearing loss ranks as the most common workplace injury. Unfortunately, many workers tend to overlook the dangers of hearing loss. Similarly, businesses do not always provide appropriate precautions or take proper steps to reduce the risk for workers. An employee needs to know that hearing damage can be a compensable workplace injury in Minnesota.

Winter’s coming: keep yourself safe in hazardous conditions

Not everybody wants to admit it, but winter is coming. It won’t be long before we get our first snowstorm and are settling in for the long, cold months to follow.

Winter creates hazards unlike any other season: wind, snow and ice can wreak havoc. This is especially true for employees working outdoors in the winter months. It is important to follow safety precautions to avoid workplace injuries and workers compensation claims.

What a Legionnaires Outbreak Can Teach Us about Occupational Diseases

A recent outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in Hopkins has led to 23 reported cases of the disease, including one fatality. The cause has not been linked to a specific location or employer.

While this example isn’t a specific workplace outbreak, the story offers a window into potential occupational disease risks.

Falls Are Among Most Dangerous Construction Site Accidents

Perhaps it should come as no surprise that falling accounts for the most fatalities at construction sites. With so much work performed off the ground, falling is often a concern on the job.

The Center for Construction Research and Training released a study in 2013 that shows the dangers from falling.

Vocational rehabilitation can help you get back to work after an injury

If you've has been seriously injured at work, you know that along with physical pain often comes economic uncertainty, even if you're eligible for workers' compensation. These worries don't always go away when you've recovered enough to return to work.

Ideally, your former employer will welcome you back with open arms. But if you've been unable to work for a long period of time, your old job may not be waiting for you, or your injury may prevent you from performing your old job in the same way.

Repetitive motion injuries are not new, but can require attention

Injuries from repetitive motions are nothing new. The strains and stresses placed on nerves and in the joints have been sources of injury and pain for many generations. You have likely heard of carpal tunnel syndrome. Tennis elbow is fairly well-known as well. Through the years, there have been a range of interesting monikers for repetitive stress injuries.

Medical literature from the 17th Century reportedly discusses milkmaid's arm, according to HealthDay. Back in 1912, people who worked in the telegraph office started noticing pains that become known as telegraphists' cramp. Morse Code operators became familiar with glass arm during the First World War.

Ohhhh....My aching back!

Getting out of bed in the morning is not easy for many people. The snooze button is often a comforting friend -- until the next blast of the alarm. However, for workers suffering from back pain, getting out of bed is only the first obstacle of the day. The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) estimates that 31 million people suffer from pain in the lower back at any given moment. Moreover, lower back problems are the leading cause of disability in the world.

Heavy Lifting Or Falls Are Not The Only Source Of Work-Related Back Issues

Many occupations place significant stress on the lower back, according to the Mayo Clinic. Physically demanding jobs, such as construction work or nursing that involve repetitive movements and heavy lifting can be a strong source of debilitating back problems. However, the Mayo Clinic says that even working at a desk can cause back stress that can create back problems or aggravate preexisting conditions.

Temp workers in Minnesota deserve a safe work environment

Temporary workers in Minnesota are those hired by a temporary employment agency before being assigned to clients to address their special labor needs or projects. Both the agency that hires the employee and the employer where the employee performs work are responsible for providing worker's compensation coverage for that individual. The two employers can choose to reach an agreement in which one is solely responsible for providing insurance that adequately covers the employee. In cases where both employers have insurance on the employee, the employer where the person was performing work is the first insurance policy that is looked at for benefits payments.

A Safe Work Environment for All Workers

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations mandate that both employers are responsible for providing a healthy and safe work environment. It is imperative that the employee receives sufficient training to ensure that job duties can be performed safely. Depending on the circumstances, this training could be the responsibility of either the temporary agency or the employer where the employee is assigned to work.

As the summer temps rise, so does the risk of heat stroke

As we move into the hottest time of the year in Minnesota, it is a good time to discuss the effects of heat on the human body. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says that heat-related illnesses can occur indoors, as well as outdoors. Heat stroke, heat exhaustion and similar medical conditions related to furnaces in factories or recycling plants, outdoor jobs that include extensive exposure to the sun and heavy work requiring the use heavy safety clothing in hot conditions can all lead to serious heat illnesses.

Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related medical condition. When the body can longer regulate body temperature, a worker can become confused, experience seizures and lose consciousness. If hazardous conditions are included in the workplace, the decreased ability to focus on job duties from heat stroke can cause falls and serious work injuries well beyond the heat stroke. But make no mistake -- OSHA warns employers and workers that heat stroke is a serious issue. Workers should consider heat stroke as a medical emergency and know that the condition can be fatal in and of itself.

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