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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. 

Encouraging responsibility from employees with company vehicles

Minnesota companies that manage a fleet of employee-operated vehicles face a unique set of risks as they rely on their workers to be trustworthy in driving work vehicles safely and responsibly. While it would be ideal for management to rely completely on their workers understanding of traffic laws, they cannot control what their workers choose to do while behind the wheel. If companies are to effectively get their product or service to waiting consumers, they have to actively encourage driver safety and efficiency among fleet members. 

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, fatalities from car accidents are the leading cause of death among workers in the United States. While considerable focus is placed on truckers and high-risk workers, the urge to drive safely and responsibly should be driven home to all employees that operate a work vehicle at any time. 

Why are construction sites so dangerous?

Construction jobs in Minnesota are well-known for being dangerous. Injuries and even deaths occur almost daily on site throughout the state. There are many government and private agencies working to keep you safe when you work in this industry, but despite that accidents still happen. So, what makes construction sites so dangerous even though the dangers are clearly known?

According to Safe Start, a lot of the danger the leads to construction accidents is because of the mindset of workers and those in charge. For example, when working with hazardous equipment, you probably are very focused and aware of the dangers. However, when you are just walking across the site, your guard is likely down. This is when accidents happen. You are not focused on safety. Your mind is not where it should be.

Protecting your workers from common occupational diseases

If you own a company in Minnesota, chances are you prioritize the safety and well-being of your workers. After all, they are the life and blood of your organization. Without them, it would be impossible to efficiently market and distribute your product to anxious customers over a length of time. At Fellman Law Office, we understand the risks that employers face that require them to put protocols in place to protect their workers and ultimately protect their organization. 

Occupational diseases may not be recognized right away. Often, if one of your employees has been diagnosed with an occupational disease resulting from his or her work, it has probably taken time and consistent exposure to certain elements to get to the point of being irritating. If left unattended, it could worsen significantly and in serious cases, it could be life threatening. According to EKU Online, the most common occupational diseases include the following:

  • Dermatitis
  • Asthma
  • Heat-related illnesses
  • Hearing loss

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400 Robert Street North Suite 1740
Saint Paul, MN 55101

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Phone: 651-222-9515
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