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How long does temporary total disability last?

After your on-the-job injury in Minnesota, you may wonder how long your temporary total disability benefits will last. This may be a cause for concern, as your ability to recover depends on the payments that provide some of your lost wages while you must stay off your feet at home. According to the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, your TTD benefits may stop for a number of reasons, and in some cases, they may be reinstated.

Once you are cleared to go back to work, either in your former position or in a new one that you have received vocational rehabilitation for, you no longer qualify for TTD. If you have the opportunity to take a job that is appropriate to your level of recovery, but you refuse it, your benefits will still be terminated. Likewise, if you decide not to go back to work for an unrelated reason, such as a decision to become a stay-at-home parent, your benefits would stop.

The link between construction accidents and worker fatigue

Many employers and construction workers often assume that fatigue is not a major factor in construction accidents in Saint Paul and across the country. When workers feel tired and are not alert, their ability to detect safety hazards and risks in their work environments diminishes significantly. In addition to workers not being able to perform their jobs as safely and efficiently as possible, occupational fatigue often leads to other complications. These issues may interfere with social interactions between co-workers, lead to higher levels of stress and contribute to health issues. 

As a construction worker, it is extremely important for you to recognize how fatigue can make it harder to recognize hazards around you. To decrease the chances of receiving an injury or dying from a site accident, take some time to consider the following information about construction workers and fatigue-related injuries

A closer look at occupational skin disorders and prevention

Each day, hundreds of members of the Minnesota workforce are exposed to harsh environmental conditions while performing routine job responsibilities. Extended exposure to severe conditions can have many lasting side effects that can affect a person's health, quality of life and ability to continue working.

According to the Safety and Health Magazine, occupational skin disorders are one of the most common illnesses that workers experience. In fact, working with chemicals that can be easily absorbed into a person's skin is a risk that nearly 13 million American workers face each day. People who work in construction, food service, health care and cosmetology are at higher risk because of the constant contact with various chemicals required by their job responsibilities. Exposure that causes skin disorders can happen through inhalation, immersion or even contact with an unexpected splash of chemical. 

Deadly vehicle collision at mine kills 2 workers

Workplace safety in Minnesota is often highly encouraged and taught through informative trainings, hands-on experience and observation. However, even the most rigorous protocols are sometimes incapable of preventing accidents and injuries from occurring on a job. 

This was the case in a recent incident at a gold mine in Northern Nevada where two workers were fatally injured in a collision. The accident occurred when a large haul truck ran over a van with nine workers inside. A mine trainee and a safety coordinator received fatal injuries and were pronounced dead. The other seven occupants suffered various injuries that required medical attention. All of them were later released. The worker operating the truck also received treatment for shock, which required hospitalization. 

Encouraging worker safety on construction sites

Construction sites are dotted with all kinds of risks and dangers. Heavy equipment and machinery, precarious circumstances and constant noise can contribute to an environment that must be carefully navigated to avoid unnecessary and serious accidents. Fortunately, there are many preventative steps that proactive Minnesota construction companies can take in encouraging their workers to be safe and follow the rules. 

Safety and Health Magazine shared several ideas for companies looking to prioritize safety on construction sites. These include the following:

  • Make training materials accessible: Training employees is an effective way to educate and encourage employees to follow safety protocols and procedures. However, following formal trainings, all materials should be readily accessible to workers for their constant reference and continued learning. 
  • Highlight leadership and communication: Workers should always know who their foreman and superintendent are so they can immediately report any concerns. Additionally, communication is crucial to guaranteeing that potential problems are addressed immediately before they cause dangerous problems. With responsible leadership and consistent communication in place, a construction site will be significantly safer for its workers.
  • Implement a "buddy system:" Construction companies can benefit greatly from implementing a "buddy system" and encouraging their workers to always work alongside someone else. This is especially important for higher risk jobs and for workers who are new to the site and industry. 

Can you avoid repetitive stress injuries at work?

Think of all of the workplace accidents you have ever heard of. Chances are, most of them occurred in environments where risks were higher. Dangers including equipment, machinery and environmental exposure may have been contributing factors. However, have you ever considered that some workplace injuries in Minnesota may occur in an office setting? If you sit at a desk each day and manipulate the same tools in the same way, you may be subject to the risks of developing a repetitive stress injury. Fortunately, you can reduce your chances of falling victim to this injury by taking some proactive steps. 

According to Web MD, ergonomics play a critical role in reducing the tension and strain you experience while sitting at your desk. By turning your focus to the arrangement of your desk and the quality of your chair, keyboard and mouse, your body can comfortably and safely complete everyday tasks. Here are some other things you can do:

  • Take short breaks: Every so often, take a break from whatever you are doing and stand up to stretch for a minute or two. Even if you are on a phone call, taking a minute to move around can enhance your productivity and keep you comfortable.
  • Prioritize functionality: If you use a variety of office equipment at your desk, try and arrange it so you can conveniently grab when needed. Reducing the amont of turning, leaning and bending in awkward positions can reduce the chances of injury or strain.
  • Change your posture: If you have been sitting one way for a while, change your position to give your body a chance to relax before it becomes rigid and sore. 

On-the-job traffic accidents and PTSD

People often recognize the hazards that construction workers face or the risks associated with repetitive strain. However, it is important to remember that work accidents take all sorts of forms, such as those which occur in traffic. From taxi drivers to truckers and employees running errands, there are many ways that workers are hurt on the road. Moreover, these crashes can cause all sorts of hardships, from injuries to the loss of life. Furthermore, these accidents can result in post-traumatic stress disorder.

When an injured worker has PTSD, the symptoms may affect their ability to keep working. Extreme stress may leave them unable to drive or even ride in a vehicle, which may necessitate finding work in a new field. Moreover, the mental trauma that people in this position go through can make daily life incredibly tough. There are all sorts of problems that victims of workplace accidents may face, such as missing out on wages they depend on or having trouble paying their hospital expenses. Because of these hardships, it is pivotal for those who have been hurt at work to look over their various options.

Recognizing signs of asbestosis

If you spent much of your professional career working in a trade or industrial environment, you may be among the many Americans exposed to asbestos, which is a group of fibers that together can cause serious health issues. While laws introduced during the 1970s sought to regulate asbestos, many who suffered exposure to the substance did not develop signs or symptoms until somewhere between 10 and 40 years later.

Among the health issues linked to asbestos exposure is asbestosis, a lung disease that develops when asbestos fibers embed themselves in your lungs, leading to scarring and related respiratory issues.

How you can operate an employee vehicle safely

If you are one of the many members of the Minnesota workforce who operate an employee vehicle as part of your job, you may be well aware of the importance of abiding by a superior standard of conduct. More importantly than maintaining your reputation as a respectful employee of your employer, your efforts to follow the rules of the road and drive safely can better protect yourself and other drivers on the road. At Fellman Law Office, we are familiar with the unique risks faced by workers who are trusted with company vehicles.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, there are several precautions you can take in an effort to protect your safety, your reputation and your job while operating a company vehicle. These include the following:

  • Make sure you have had an appropriate amount of sleep.
  • Utilize route planning software, and prepare a realistic and efficient route each day to reduce stress, confusion and distraction while on the road.
  • Remain fully focused and alert, and constantly scan your surroundings to identify potential risks and dangers.
  • Be sure to take breaks and allow yourself time to take care of personal needs and stretch.
  • Always buckle your seatbelt.
  • Treat other drivers with courtesy and patience. Being quick to anger can affect your reputation, pose a threat to you and other drivers and even compromise your job.

Repetitive stress injuries on construction sites

Workers on construction sites in Minnesota face many possible injuries. While some are quite obvious, such as falls or electrocution risks, others may not be so clear, yet these injuries can be just as serious. Repetitive stress injuries, according to the National Safety Council, are injuries caused by doing a motion over and over. These injuries are often associated with office workers or even athletes, but construction workers are at just as much risk when they are performing the same tasks for long periods of time over many days.

One of the characteristics of this type of injury is they take time to manifest and gradual get worse. Workers should be informed on what a repetitive stress injury may feel like so they can recognize the symptoms. Catching this type of injury early is essential to preventing it from getting worse and leading to a more serious, long-term condition.

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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AV Preeminent | Mark J. Fellman