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Workers' Compensation Archives

Workplace safety a focus in entertainment industry

While many people may associate the entertainment industry with exciting and glamorous tasks, the reality can involve serious physical labor as well as the potential for major workplace injuries and damaging accidents. Many workers in the entertainment industry are injured on the job due to electrical issues, falls and other hazards that are commonly found in theaters, concert venues and on movie sets. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is renewing an alliance with several major organizations in the industry in order to help address the potential for workplace accidents and improve safety for wokers in the industry.

Balancing worker safety on anchor points

Minnesota workers in construction industries are often at risk of workplace accidents and injuries associated with falls. Due to the danger of elevated work spaces, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has created standards for anchor points that serve as fall arrest systems for workers on the job. Many believe that these rules require each anchor point to support 5,000 pounds per employee attached to the point. However, the actual regulation requires something slightly different.

Black lung still a serious problem for coal workers

Although Minnesota has no real history of coal mining, some people might be interested in an alarming report from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Cases of black lung disease, which dropped to all-time low numbers in the late 20th century, have increased sharply in the past few years.

Sulfur dioxide can pose a danger on the job

Sulfur dioxide is generated in a number of industrial environments where Minnesota employees work on a daily basis. Combustion of fossil fuels produces around 75 to 85 percent of all sulfur dioxide emissions. However, the substance is also produced through chemical manufacturing during the bleaching of wood pulp and paper, through the bleaching and disinfecting of food products, during wastewater treatment in metal and ore refining industries, and in oil refining. Sulfur dioxide is a major contributor to air pollution and can pose a danger when workers are exposed to the substance while on the job.

Silica dust safety violations face increased fines

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor, or OSHA, has increased the penalties for construction contractors who fail to uphold safety standards for dealing with silica in Minnesota and across the country. In January, OSHA changed the fine structure that companies will deal with if they do not abide by the safety standards drafted in 2013 for handling crystalline silica.

Accidents away from a job site might still be work related

Although Minnesota residents might feel that their daily commute to and from work counts as part of their job, workers' compensation policies consider it personal time. This is often referred to as the "going and coming rule", and accidents during a commute will not qualify as work-related. Exceptions to this rule exist, and they could allow a worker to access benefits even if the injury happens away from the normal job location.

Reducing accidents and injuries in the workplace

Each year, many Minnesotans are seriously injured or killed while they are working at their jobs. A Safety Leadership Conference that was held in Atlanta looked at how the safety culture of companies might be improved so that the risk of injuries might be minimized.

How the gig economy puts workers at risk

Gig workers earn income by contracting with employers, employment agencies or digital platforms for short-term projects. Sometimes, gig work refers specifically to jobs acquired by logging onto an app. However, the difference between working for a rideshare service and setting up an e-commerce site can make the term "gig economy" broad and vague. Nevertheless, all Minnesota gig workers should understand that the economy often comes with unique safety risks.

OSHA settlement suggests change in sharps handling rules

According to a recent legal settlement between a recycling company and the Occupational Safety Health Administration, workers who work in Minnesota and national recycling centers or whose jobs involve handling sharp objects may receive better protection in the near future. The settlement between TOMRA, a Norwegian company that operates a recycling center in New York, and OSHA includes an acknowledgment that employees who sort bottles and cans are effectively exposed to blood-borne pathogens.

Dealing with a natural disaster as a business

Although Minnesota businesses were not at risk, Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma were major reminders that employers have certain legal obligations to employees when natural disasters occur. As such, employers are responsible for having a plan in place when natural disasters could occur.

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Law Office of David M. Bialke
7260 University Avenue NE
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Fridley, MN 55432

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