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Southern Minnesota Workers' Compensation Law Blog

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.

How to handle an injury at work

There are few things in life more frustrating than getting injured. Losing the ability to perform simple tasks for an extended period of time makes everything more challenging than it needs to be. This becomes an even greater burden when the injury happens while you are at work.

Not only are you struggling to go through your daily routine, but you may also lack a source of income as a result of your injury. Your bills may begin to pile up and you may not know when your next paycheck is going to come due to the severity of your condition.

Distracted trucker allegedly caused death in construction zone

Following an investigation into a fatal 2018 accident on Interstate 94 in Minnesota, a big rig driver is facing criminal vehicular homicide charges. A criminal complaint alleges that the trucker was distracted when he traveled through a construction zone. An accident resulted that claimed the life of one worker and caused injuries to another.

The accused man is a 47-year-old semi-truck driver who also allegedly exceeded the posted speed limit in the construction zone. Authorities say he was driving at approximately 72 mph when he smashed into the rear of a trailer that was attached to a pickup truck. The impact caused the trailer to separate from the pickup, slamming into a 59-year-old construction worker on site. This worker died at the crash scene, and a second worker needed medical care for injuries caused by debris from the crash.

Concern exists over workplace injuries that lead to amputations

In 2015, it became compulsory for business owners in Minnesota to report occupational amputations to the Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration within 24 hours. Since then, the agency reportedly investigates an average of 13 such workplace injuries per year. MNOSHA recently expressed concern over the sudden increase in these numbers.

The agency reports that 15 amputations have occurred between Oct. 1, 2018, and June 19 this year. Reportedly, the majority of these incidents involved the fingers and hands of workers. Employers are urged to reassess workplace safety and take the necessary corrective action. By law, employers are responsible for the health and safety of their employees.

Fatal construction site injury claims life of 38-year-old worker

According to the Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the recent incident that claimed the life of a worker in St. Paul is the fourth fatal workplace accident so far this year. A spokesperson for the agency says an investigation was launched on the day following the accident. Reportedly, struck-by accidents are the most common cause of occupational fatalities in Minnesota.

An incident report indicates that the 38-year-old worker was a marble mason who was a member of a crew working at the new China Garden at Phalen Regional Park. The St. Paul Fire Department responded after receiving an emergency call at approximately 3 p.m. on a recent Tuesday. Paramedics treated the injured worker at the scene and then rushed him to the hospital. Sadly, he succumbed to his injuries later that day.

Trench safety can limit construction site injuries

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reminds all the role players in the construction industry of the importance of trench and excavation safety by organizing a stand down during June each year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says, despite these efforts, a significant number of fatalities and construction site injuries are caused by cave-ins in Minnesota and across the country each year. The week of June 17 to 21 will be dedicated to trench safety this year.

Although collapsed trench walls pose dangerous hazards, other threats include drownings in accumulated water at the bottom of a trench, electricity, gas or other utility strikes, poisonous air quality, and falls into unbarricaded trenches. Compliance with OSHA's safety standards can prevent such accidents. A competent person must analyze the soil to determine whether shoring, sloping, benching or the use of a trench box would be a suitable method to secure the trench walls.


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