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The role of occupational therapy in rehabilitation

Despite the ongoing efforts of Minnesota employers to regulate their workers' behavior, implement safety requirements and perform frequent assessments that gauge adherence to corporate policy, accidents can still happen at work. A workers' compensation policy is an excellent tool for both employers and employees. Its purpose is to provide protection for a company and its assets, while providing assistance to employers who may receive injuries on the job. 

When an accident does happen, depending on the severity of the incident, the injured person will be required to undergo rehabilitation before being allowed back onto the job site. In many cases, the injured person may only be able to resume a portion of previously designated duties and gradually add tasks back in as a full recovery is made. In other cases, the injury is so severe that the person may be permanently disabled, receive assistance finding another job or work with his or her employer to assume a modified set of responsibilities. 

Can you prevent repetitive stress injuries at work?

When you hear stories about workplace accidents, your first thought is often probably a scenario in a more hazardous industry. For example, a construction worker falling from scaffolding or a logger getting caught in a piece of heavy machinery. What you may have never considered, is that office workers in Minnesota can also suffer from workplace injuries. Repetitive stress injuries are more common than many people realize and if you do not understand proper prevention, you could be setting the foundation for a future of uncomfortable problems. 

When you get to your office, take a good look around. Are there aspects of your office that are not functional? Are there obstructions that make your work less efficient and more straining? Do you perform a lot of the same functions in a repetitive manner each day? While you may not immediately think of your constant typing as a hazard, having a workstation that is not properly outfitted to meet your needs can actually create quite a few problems in relation to the health of your back, eyes and arms among other things. 

Is it legal to track company vehicles?

If you have company vehicles that employees use on a regular basis in Minnesota, you probably often worry about how well they are driving and how they behave when behind the wheel. You have every right to be concerned since you will ultimately end up at least somewhat liable for what they do when driving your company vehicles. Plus, your insurance will reflect your employees' habits and mistakes. Thanks to technology, you can monitor your employees' habits, but is this legal?

Midwest Medical Edition explains GPS tracking is very popular among employers. It can provide a wealth of information and make sure that you know where your employees are and what they are doing when in a company vehicle. You also have the option of smartphone apps that can help you also monitor employee behavior.

Poor indoor air quality may be responsible for your asthma

Many factors can contribute to poor indoor air quality in the workplace and in turn, this can affect the health and well-being of workers.

Some airborne irritants can prompt respiratory distress. If you have developed asthma, your condition may have been caused by poor indoor air quality.

What are the fatal four?

The construction industry is inherently dangerous. The nature of the work puts workers in harms way often. That is why there is so much focus within the industry on safety. Many accidents and injuries on Minnesota construction sites can easily be avoided by recognizing hazards and practicing proper safety protocols. In fact, there are four specific hazardous situations that are recognized in the industry as the fatal four, according to EHS Today. The fatal four are those accidents that cause the most injuries and deaths of construction workers. Knowing what they are can help keep you safer on the job.

One of the fatal four is electrocutions. This hazard is self-explanatory. It includes any instance where someone is exposed to electricity in a way they receive a shock. Avoiding electrocution accidents means just being more aware of electrical lines and hazards and taking proper precautions to work safely around them.

Is shift work dangerous?

If you work third shift, then you probably understand how it can have a severe effect on your life. However, after some time working these hours, you may feel like your body has adjusted. The reality is that all shift workers in Minnesota are at a disadvantage simply due the hours they work that fall outside the body's normal cycles.

According to Medical Daily, shift workers are at a higher risk for many short and long-term issues. While you may be more likely to develop chronic conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, you also have to worry about short-term problems. You are more likely to suffer from drowsiness and have issues with sleeping because you are trying to function outside of your body's normal sleep cycle. This can lead to issues when you get behind the wheel, operate heavy machinery or even just try to go about your normal day. So, even when you are not on the clock, you are at risk of injury and illness simply because of the hours you work.

Being supportive of colleagues with mental illness

You have recently been moved to a new department within your organization and are looking forward to maximizing the opportunities you have been given. In your recent change you have been introduced to some new colleagues, one of which suffers from a mental illness. Your awareness and support can not only allow you to feel more confident around this individual, but enable him or her to perform their best. At Fellman Law Office, we have helped many Minnesota businesses to create protocols designed to protect their workers, especially those who are vulnerable. 

The Society for Human Resource Management suggests several helpful tips for employers as they work to accommodate the needs of their employees who suffer from mental illness. However, these tips may apply equally to your efforts to befriend and support colleagues who are experiencing mental illness. Some of the things you should remember include the following:

  • Learn about the illness: One of the best things you can do is to become educated. Take the time to learn about the illness your colleague has so you can better understand how to communicate with him or her. 
  • Be aware of accommodations: There may be certain situations where your coworker will require specialized accommodations to perform his or her job. Be supportive and refrain from making comments even if they are meant in good fun. 
  • Do not judge: While it may be easy to gawk or ask questions, be careful in the way you approach your coworker. Approaching the topic of their illness in an appropriate and genuine manner can be much more effective than saying something deliberately and irrationally. 

What can you do to keep worker's comp costs lower?

In order to keep your company in Minnesota running smoothly and in compliance with management-sanctioned protocols, one of your highest priorities is to recruit top talent who are committed to your mission. Another task you will constantly be facing is how you can implement policies that will protect the safety and well-being of your employees, and ultimately your company's brand and success. Worker's compensation is an excellent resource to consider when you are looking to mitigate the costs if an accident or injury were to happen in your workplace. 

Sometimes, it can be easy to allow the costs associated with maintaining a worker's compensation policy to overshadow the benefits of having one in place. However, according to Entrepreneur, there are several things you can do to keep the costs of worker's compensation lower. These include the following:

  • Weigh all of your options carefully before selecting one. Comparing and contrasting different worker's compensation policies can help you select one that will meet the custom needs of your organization and its employees. 
  • Keep an eye on trends involving workplace injuries. Research various best practices to understand how to implement tools and resources in an effective manner to reduce the chance of injury. 
  • Educate your employees on the importance of safety, vigilance and strong communication. Remind your employees regularly of the need to be safe and report any concerns or hazards before they turn dangerous. 

What workers' comp applicants need to know about the IME

When you apply for workers' compensation in Minnesota, you may have a lot of questions about the process. One part many applicants want to know more about is the independent medical examination.

Most Minnesota applicants will receive a notice instructing them to attend an IME. It is important for you to discuss this with your own attorney in the context of your specific situation.

The rights of employees in the workplace

While a majority of Minnesota companies go to great lengths to protect the well-being and safety of their employees, there are organizations that have failed to enforce protocols or simply do not care so much about the conditions of the work environment. When this happens, hazards can create dangerous circumstances that significantly heighten the risks faced by workers. Under federal law, employees are granted specific rights and they have the option of filing a complaint if they feel that their health or safety is endangered at any time. 

According to the United States Department of Labor, it was reported that in Minnesota during the year 2016, there were 92 fatalities from work-related accidents. This was a stunning 74 percent increase from the previous year. 

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

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Phone: 651-222-9515
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