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Saint Paul Workers' Compensation Law Blog

What are the basics about Minnesota workers' compensation?

Workers compensation is a system that provides benefits to workers who are injured on the job. The workers' compensation system has been enacted in all 50 states, including Minnesota, but it varies from state to state. Workers' comp was created to guarantee that employees who sustain injuries on-the-job would be eligible to receive monetary compensation. Injured employees can receive the benefits without the need to litigate a claim against their employers.

Under Section 176.181 subdivision 2 of Minnesota Statutes, purchasing workers ' compensation insurance is a requirement for most business entities, except for those who do not have any employees or are otherwise excluded. The purpose of workers' compensation in Minnesota is to provide benefits to employees who have work-related injuries and illnesses.

Healthcare workers are sometimes chemically exposed

Healthcare workers and professionals play an important role in Ramsey County, Minnesota, as well as the rest of the nation. These people receive special training in order to help citizens suffering from certain diseases and illnesses and provide them with proper medical attention. But despite their specialization, these workers are still vulnerable to elements that may cause health complications and diseases.

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, healthcare workers are often exposed to hazardous chemicals at work. One reason for this toxic exposure is the lack of training for workers who come in contact with these chemicals. These exposed workers were also not equipped with special equipment that may prevent the exposure.

Are you at risk for a workplace illnesses related to asbestos?

Asbestos materials were widely used for many years in the developed world because of their resistance to corrosion and heat and their tensile strength. Unfortunately, these natural substances turned out to be health hazards. For the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, removal of asbestos has been a priority for decades because of the materials' ability to create health problems and workplace illness.

Asbestos fibers are microscopic and easily airborne, making them easy to inhale. The result is frequently asbestosis, an illness that compromises proper lung function. People suffering from asbestosis are at higher risk of becoming disabled and dying.

Minnesota worker dies from electrocution accident

Jobs in the power and construction industries are considered some of the most dangerous tasks in the U.S. When it comes to job dangers, construction and powerline workers can face dangerous situations every day. Given the nature of electric work, the number one risk on their job can be electrocution.

Unfortunately, electrocution can happen at any given time because of one wrong decision and can result in a terrible workplace accident. Take, for example, the recent workplace accident that occurred in Minnesota. According to a report, two electric workers were involved in an electrocution incident while working on a power line northeast of Fairfax, Minnesota. The authorities reported that they responded to an emergency call saying that two people had been electrocuted. These people were identified as workers of Donovan Construction; they were working on the CapX2020 project, which would expand the electrical grid in the state.

Fracking workers suffering toxic exposure in the workplace

Hydraulic fracturing has assumed an important role in the oil and gas industry in North America, including Minnesota. Known as fracking, the process uses horizontal drilling through the ground to unlock deposits of oil and natural gas.

Once holes have been drilled into the deposits, large volumes of chemically treated water and sand are injected under high pressure, breaking the shale and other tight formation substrates that prevent the oil or gas from flowing into wells. Recently, however, field tests have revealed that workers who perform the fracking are at risk of toxic exposure to various substances that are known to threaten human health.

Workers' compensation less important than workplace safety

The widespread use of temporary workers has become a concern for many advocates of workplace safety in the United States, including those in Minnesota. The increasing numbers of workplace accidents and injuries involving temporary workers suggests that these employees are more vulnerable than permanent workers.

Consider a fatal workplace accident in Pennsylvania that prompted that state's U.S. Senator to question the efforts of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to protect temps. In February 2013, a 50-year-old temporary worker died at the CSC Sugar Plant near Philadelphia after being buried in a sugar hopper. OSHA later found out that a safety device that could have prevented the temp worker's death was removed from the equipment 13 days before the accident because it was slowing down production capacity. Senator Bob Casey has requested that OSHA boost its efforts to regulate workplace safety for temporary workers.

Forklift accident crushes Minnesota worker to death

Employees are the primary core of any company. And although employers are responsible for the day-to-day operations of the business, the company's performance and stability relies on employees. These day-to-day operations are not always perfect, however. There are times when workplace accidents occur resulting in workplace injuries, lost working hours and productivity. In the worst case scenario, a work-related accident is deadly.

One such incident in Hennepin County, Minnesota, made headlines recently. This accident can serve as an important reminder to employers about the significance of worker's compensation insurance and workplace safety. There, a 36-year-old Minnesota worker died in a deadly forklift accident. Authorities stated that the employee was working his shift at AA Container and Reload at the time. Police say that the accident victim was stacking bundles of wooded products with a forklift, but when he got off of the forklift, a stack of wood fell and crushed him to death. Multiple blunt-force injuries were listed as the cause of death. Minnesota authorities, together with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, are conducting an investigation into the tragedy.

Minnesota public workers hospitalized after serious collision

Blue collar workers are typically at a greater risk of experiencing a workplace accident than white collar workers and individuals engaged in non-manual labor. Industrial workmen and ground workers with the Minnesota Department of Transportation, for example, have to face certain occupational hazards as a part of their work. Although an employer can take reasonable measures to ensure worker safety, there is always a limited margin of error for unforeseeable accidents, often resulting in injury.

Last week on Sunday afternoon, two workers with the Minnesota State Department of Transportation were injured in an accident while on duty. The workers were engaged in laying down traffic cones to demarcate a lane closure when the incident took place. Their truck was hit by a car failing to move over. One of the victims, a 43-year-old man from Champlin, was hospitalized at a local medical center and listed in critical condition. The other worker, a 57-year-old from Rockford, received non-life-threatening injuries.

Zero Excuse campaign seeks to eradicate on-the-job hand injuries

Everyone knows that hands are one of the primary ways we interact with the world. They are important whether one is a typist, an artist, a chef or a construction worker. Unfortunately, hands are also vulnerable to injuries. These hand injuries lead to hundreds of thousands of job absences and emergency-room visits every year in the United States, including in Minnesota.

For these reasons, the online magazine EHS Today in cooperation with materials manufacturer DSM Dyneema launched a "Zero Excuses" campaign in October 2012 with the goal of eradicating on-the-job hand injuries. At a recent event in Florida held by the partnership at a conference run by the American Society of Safety Engineers, a spokesperson said the term "zero excuses" was not just a clever phrase but a reminder that employers are accountable for workers' safety. The event was intended to help create a workplace hand-safety program.

Hair treatments may result in deadly workplace illness

Cancer is one of the diseases that kills thousands of Americans every year. Some of these fatalities include workers who did their jobs despite the risk of workplace exposure. Workplace illness, such as liver cancer and lung disease, can result from exposure to hazards including silica dust and toxic chemicals. Many residents of Ramsey, Minnesota may think that only those that work in industrial plants and construction sites are exposed to such risks. However, a recent study in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine included another surprising group of workers.

According to the report, salon workers are no different from industrial and construction workers regarding the possibility of developing work-related illnesses due to chemical exposure. The report found that hairdressers and salon staff are usually exposed to carcinogens, including formaldehyde. The study analyzed 32 people who regularly used hair dying products, 60 people who frequently got hair treatment and 295 female hairdressers. The researchers discovered that blood carcinogen levels are high among hairdressers who regularly provide hair coloring treatments.

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