If an employee slips or trips on a workplace floor, it could result in significant injuries. That may cost Minnesota employers and others a significant amount of money. Specifically, American employers lost $62 billion from injuries that caused workers to miss six or more days of work. However, the use of floor mats may make it safer for workers to walk or do their jobs in general without getting hurt.
Dust is a fact of life at construction sites in Minnesota, but breathable dust from crystalline silica presents a significant hazard to workers' health. New rules from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration place strong requirements upon employers to reduce exposure and educate workers about the dangers of breathing silica dust.
Minnesota electricians may be some of the estimated 2,000 individuals who annually suffer serious arc flash injuries, which occur when people work on energized electrical units without proper protective clothing. Of the injured individuals, it is estimated that 400 become burned so severely that they do not survive.
In some Minnesota workplace environments, the risk of injury or death lies around every corner. Many industrial facilities and large fulfillment warehouses are inherently busy and noisy places comprising numerous intersections, docks and blind spots. When forklift operators and runners on foot are also part of the mix, collisions involving employees, equipment or both may occur due to the compromised visibility and lack of reliable safety enhancements at the site.
Minnesota construction workers face many dangers. Among all of the other potential causes of serious injuries and fatalities, falls are the leading factor. Because of the dangers posed by falling accidents to construction workers, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has focused on strict enforcement of its fall prevention safety regulations.
Minnesota workers may need certain types of tools, equipment and training in order to do their jobs safely. In one warehouse accident that resulted in a fatality investigated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a man was standing on a pallet raised by a forklift. This was common practice in this workplace in order to reach high shelves. The man fell 7 feet to the concrete floor and subsequently died.
Warehouses and distribution centers are important components of business supply chains. However, they may also pose a variety of risks to those who work in such settings. Minnesota loading dock workers could be vulnerable to falling or being victims of forklift accidents. Those who work from heights may also be vulnerable to falls, and some warehouses and other similar facilities use pit areas to minimize the impact of a fall.
While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has a system for recording events in the workplace that could result in a serious injury or fatality, there are potentially dangerous events that occur that are never reported. These often include near-misses that could have resulted in serious harm. However, because the event went unreported, employers miss the opportunity to fix the situation and potentially prevent future accidents.
When Minnesota workers are required to spend long work days staring at a computer, they can suffer from what is known as computer vision syndrome or digital eyestrain. There are a number of symptoms associated with CVS, including blurry vision, headaches and eyestrain. While these symptoms are usually temporary, they can become recurring problems that could continue to worsen over time.
Minnesota workers may be employed at companies that lack consistent standards for safety and health data collecting and reporting. The Center for Safety and Health Sustainability is an international organization made up of the American Industrial Hygiene Association, the American Society of Safety Engineers, the United Kingdom's Institution of Occupational Safety and Health and the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering. It released a report in 2013 that examined the companies in the Corporate Knights' Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations that found that the companies lacked consistency in tracking and reporting on safety and health. Its followup report released in 2017 said that there had been little change since then.