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Southern Minnesota Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Hazardous chemical in restaurant causes fatal workplace injury

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has launched an investigation into the death of a restaurant worker in another state. Reportedly, a kitchen worker inhaled the fumes of a sanitizer containing sodium hypochlorite. This type of workplace injury is preventable, and employers nationwide, including Minnesota, must provide safety training and personal protective equipment to mitigate chemical hazards.

In this case, the strong fumes affected several workers and even customers of the restaurant. Reportedly, one worker became nauseous and was rushed to a hospital. Sadly, he did not survive the incident. The restaurant was evacuated when several patrons and workers suffered eye irritation and breathing problems.

Don't give up if your workers' comp claim is denied

Whether your job is inherently dangerous, such as construction, or you have a relatively low-risk occupation, you may find some comfort in knowing your employer carries workers' compensation insurance. This insurance offers a variety of benefits for those who suffer injuries in the course of their duties at work. If you have an accident on the job or develop a work-related illness, you may receive funds to cover a portion of your lost wages, medical expenses and other things you may need to recover and get back to work.

However, if you recently filed a claim for workers' compensation, you may have been shocked and disappointed to receive a letter from the insurer saying that they had denied your claim. While medical bills pile up and your income has dwindled, you may feel some concern and frustration. Fortunately, you may have options.

Freak workplace injury claims life of transportation worker

Road construction crews in Minnesota put their lives on the line each day. A recent freak workplace injury in another state underscores the dangers to which roadside workers are exposed. The incident claimed the life of a 41-year-old worker.

Reportedly, the man, a township supervisor with 10 years of experience, was collecting debris on the side of the interstate when the incident occurred. Under circumstances that are being investigated, a passing semitrailer lost two tires during the early morning rush hour. The tires struck the worker on the side of the road at approximately 7 a.m. on a recent Wednesday.

Nail gun accident causes construction worker injury

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 37,000 nail-gun related incidents occur nationwide each year. Almost one-third of those injuries occur on construction sites in Minnesota and across the country. One such event in another state recently sent a construction worker to the hospital.

A worker accidentally shot a nail into his leg and then attempted to pull it out with pliers. That process turned out to be excruciating, and he opted to wait for paramedics. He was rushed to a medical facility, where the nail was removed from his leg. The CDC says this was not a life-threatening incident, but instances of fatal nail gun accidents have been reported.

Confined spaces pose workplace injury threats in agriculture

Grain bins, silos and manure pits are but some of the confined spaces that pose deadly hazards to farmworkers in Minnesota. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, there are four primary dangers workers face in confined spaces. They include oxygen starvation if gases or chemicals consume or displace oxygen, explosions and fires, nervous and respiratory damage by toxic air, and crushing or suffocation by tools, equipment or moving parts. Safety authorities require strict protocols to mitigate these workplace injury hazards.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's definition of a confined space is any space with limited access or egress, though big enough to accommodate a worker, but only for short periods. The USDA says farmers must identify confined spaces, and only allow adequately trained, permit-holding workers to enter. They must be equipped with the appropriate personal protective gear, including respirators where necessary.

Health care workers risk bloodborne pathogen exposure

Workers in various occupations in Minnesota risk infections caused by bloodborne pathogens. Anyone who administers first aid, or has to clean up blood or bodily fluids could risk exposure. Housekeeping staff, first responders and health care workers must never lose sight of this danger, and anyone who administers first aid to a co-worker must be educated on bloodborne pathogen hazards and how to minimize exposure.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires employers to establish written control plans to protect workers who risk exposure. The viruses to which workers are most commonly exposed are Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV or Human Immunodeficiency Virus. Hazards include needle stick injuries, abrasions, cuts, human bites or contact with mucous membranes of infected people. It can enter the body through broken skin or ingestion.

Construction workers face significant health hazards

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) lists the four most common fatal injuries for construction workers. The agency’s “Fatal Four” includes, falls, electrocution, and accidents involving workers being struck by or caught in between equipment, vehicles or other items.

The most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows 101 Minnesota workers were killed on the job in 2017 while 5,147 fatal work injuries occurred nationwide. Nearly half of the fatalities in Minnesota were the result of transportation incidents.

Construction site accident claims life of Minneapolis father of 2

A spokesperson for the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry says an investigation was launched after the recent tragic death of a 34-year old Minneapolis man. Investigators of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will scrutinize the company's compliance with safety and health standards along with the training records. They will also interview employees to determine the circumstances that led to this construction site accident.

Initial information provided about the incident is limited. A spokesperson for the general contracting company that employed the man only revealed that an earth-moving loader struck the worker, causing fatal injuries. Reportedly, the accident happened on Monday, Aug. 19 at a construction site in Minneapolis.

Fatal workplace injury claims industrial worker's life

Workers in manufacturing plants face multiple safety hazards, many of which involve industrial equipment and machines with moving parts. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has strict regulations in place to prevent workers from making contact with working parts. Safeguards and lockout/tagout devices are crucial parts of the workplace injury prevention requirements.

Minnesota OSHA reported that an investigation was underway to determine the circumstances that led to the death of a factory worker in Lakeville. Her employer was a manufacturer of auto parts such as shock absorbers. No information was made available, except that the worker's death resulted from entrapment.

Construction site accident traps worker in trench for 3 hours

Trenches are known to pose life-threatening safety hazards on construction sites nationwide, including Minnesota. While any construction site accident that involves a collapsed trench could cause fatalities, the skills of rescue teams have saved the lives of many construction workers. One such an incident recently occurred in Minneapolis.

At approximately 8 a.m. on a recent Monday, a construction worker was in an excavated area at the site of a 17-story building project when the trench wall collapsed. Reportedly, one of the man's legs became trapped by the shoring equipment, and there were no other workers present. The rescue team of the fire department arrived at the site to find the worker buried up to his knees.

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