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What does OSHA say about forklift safety?

If you operate a forklift at your Minnesota workplace, you should have already received training specific to this type of motor vehicle. In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration acknowledges a number of risks that frequently lead to on-the-job injuries. One major hazard is the tipover.

OSHA provides information about the following risks and safety measures to prevent tipovers.

Minnesota taconite miners at risk for mesothelioma

When people think of Minnesota, taconite mines probably are not the first things that come to their minds. Nevertheless, taconite mining is big business in Minnesota, employing thousands of miners and ancillary workers. The dark side of this is that our taconite miners have a high risk of developing mesothelioma, an incurable form of cancer. So said a 2014 study that the University of Minnesota School of Public Health conducted. At the time, they assumed the asbestos in taconite was what was causing the cancer.

A subsequent study, however, found that taconite’s non-asbestiform elongate mineral particles are not the culprits after all. This leaves researchers at a loss as to what is causing taconite miners to develop mesothelioma at an increasingly higher rate.

The top OSHA violations in 2017

The prevalence of workplace accidents is no secret, especially in high-risk industries such as construction, manufacturing and health care. The sad part is that although these occupations are dangerous, most accidents are completely avoidable.

OSHA is responsible for making and enforcing regulations to ensure employee safety, yet every year employers fail to keep them, resulting in harm to workers. The following are the top 10 violations cited in 2017.

Recognizing the importance of OSHA investigations

For many companies in Minnesota, the thought of an OSHA investigator walking through the door is both terrifying and stressful. Many businesses are unable to see the value of such investigations because their vision is clouded with concerns about the way they conduct their organizational processes. However, encounters with OSHA do not have to be negative and can actually provide many advantages to businesses everywhere. 

According to Chron, there are several reasons why OSHA is important in any company. These include the following:

  • Inspections can encourage employee responsibility and may help to reduce the number of unnecessary injuries and worker's compensation claims.
  • Inspections can help reveal areas that require immediate attention to provide optimal security and safety for employees.
  • Inspections can provide incentive for businesses to maintain their safety practices to avoid facing fines, penalties and legal consequences.
  • Inspections can encourage compliance within an organization and provide a reminder of important standards to be observed. 

Settlement reached over woman's work-related hip injury

Often, when people in Saint Paul are injured at work, the actual pain stemming from their injuries may not be the worst thing they are forced to deal with. Rather, it could be learning to cope with the limitations that their injuries now place on them. People typically derive a great deal of satisfaction from their careers. When those careers are taken away from them, it may be akin to one losing his or her sense of identity. On top of that, there is the financial uncertainty that those whose work-related injuries keep them from returning to their careers must also face. 

A Connecticut woman has been experiencing the same sort of concerns as she has worked her way through a lawsuit seeking workers' compensation benefits from her former employer. The woman broke her hip while at work, which forced her to seek pain management treatment. She then moved on to needing psychiatric care after she was told by her employer that her injury had hindered her capacity to do her job. She was forced to sue after the company after it questioned how extensive her injury truly was. Ultimately, both sides were able to negotiate a settlement agreement. 

Understanding how a repetitive stress injury can affect your work

If your job requires you to perform similar tasks, with similar tools, in a regimented order and for an extended period of time each day, you may be prone to a repetitive stress injury. While you may experience a seemingly simple, nagging pain at the onset, failure to address your concerns in a timely manner can create a lifetime of pain. Additionally, the pressing discomfort can reduce your effectiveness in your job and greatly limit your mobility at the same time. At Fellman Law Office, we understand the risks that different workers in Minnesota face and are equipped to provide education about worker's compensation claims. 

According to Healthline, you are at a significantly higher risk of experiencing a repetitive stress injury if the following applies to you:

  • Your job requires you to lift heavy items repeatedly.
  • You are required to work in an abnormal position.
  • You put stress and strain on the same muscles each day while performing job duties. 
  • Your physical fitness level is not up-to-par with what is required of your job.

What does OSHA say about backover incidents on job sites?

The manufacturers of passenger vehicles recognize the dangers of driving in reverse, and many vehicles now include cameras. However, on the construction site in Minnesota, you may be working around heavy equipment that not only does not have cameras, but also has large blind spots and many obstacles to avoid. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration points out the risks of backover accidents and provides safety tips to prevent workers from becoming statistics.

In addition to blind spots, you are in danger if your work site is noisy, as that may prevent you from hearing backup warning alerts from large vehicles. The backup alerts could malfunction and fail to provide the warnings. You are also at risk if you often ride on the outside of a vehicle, as many fatalities happen because workers fall off and are run over. A spotter should be directing any vehicle that is backing up, but this is no help if the spotter does not see you.

3 ailments that can result from metal refinery exposure

Every workplace has the potential to be risky, but some environments contain more inherent dangers than others. This is certainly true of such job sites as heavy metal refineries. Though precautions have greatly improved in the last few decades, positions in this environment may still be vulnerable to ailments and injuries that are unique to the job.

It is vital that all employees who have worked in a heavy metal refinery tend to their health and consider whether their work exposed them to toxins. If you suspect you are ill as a result of such exposure, you should seek medical care and consider consulting with a legal representative, too.

Always take on-the-job eye injuries seriously

You need your vision to perform your job duties in Minnesota, but ironically, the nature of those job duties could cost you your vision. At Fellman Law Office, we understand the role employers have in making sure workers are not needlessly put at risk for devastating injuries that could cause blindness.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, there are over 20,000 people who suffer eye injuries on the job every year in the U.S. Maybe you are at risk for eye strain from the glare on your computer screen. Perhaps there are flying objects or tools that may strike you in the eye. Chemicals or particles in the air could also cause eye damage. 

In Minnesota, scaffold safety is a must

Construction workers in Minnesota often use scaffolds to access their work on the job site. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has recognized the dangers of these types of workstations, and has developed rules, guidelines and standards for scaffolds. 

Minnesota OSHA compliance enforces the federal scaffold rules, noting that these structures are in use by 65 percent of those who work in the construction industry. Nationwide, there are roughly 4,500 scaffold-related injuries each year, and 50 fatalities. What causes these accidents? According to the injured workers, the causes were primarily the collapse of the planking or support, a slip-and-fall accident or a falling object striking the worker. Electrocution is another major hazard that may injure or kill those working on scaffolds.

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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