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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Minnesota construction workers may be surprised to learn that a method of repairing water pipes that was once considered safe may actually result in toxic materials being thrown into the air. This was the finding of Purdue University researchers who studied seven sites that used the cured-in-place pipe method. It was once thought that plumes released during the CIPP process contained harmless water vapor.
A large majority of companies in Minnesota and across the United States see public disclosure as important to improving safety on the job. The results of a survey carried out by a provider of operational software and information services show that more than three-quarters of respondents see public disclosure as positive for workplace safety initiatives.
Technological improvements in healthcare are expected to yield recovery improvements in even the worst workplace injuries. A presentation on wearable technologies shared both current and future applications expected in the field. A major topic of relevance to Minneapolis employees seeking workers' compensation was how these wearable technologies coincide with the needs of those who have experienced catastrophic and chronic injuries.
Minnesota residents may not be surprised to learn that severe work-related injuries are more common in hazardous workplaces like sawmills, steel manufacturing facilities and automobile assembly plants, but they may not know that workers in the poultry processing industry are even more likely to require hospitalization or lose a limb or an eye than their counterparts in these seemingly more hazardous fields. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration collects severe injury reports from employers around the country, and researchers from the National Employment Law Project have relied on this data to come up with a list of the nation's most dangerous jobs.