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OSHA warns about laser injuries in the workplace

Some Minnesota workers may be affected by efforts by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to increase safety around lasers in the workplace. On Jan. 5, the agency stated that lasers were dangerous to workers in the medical and construction industries. Workers in the industrial and research industries may also be at risk.

Some of the potential injuries OSHA described include skin or eye injuries that could be both serious and permanent and lead to tissue damage or blindness. Due to its assessment of the risk, OSHA has paired with the Laser Institute of America to work on preventing workplace injuries from lasers. Their plans include more training and guidance for workers who use lasers. This material will be presented at conferences and exhibits focused on safety. This is not the first time OSHA has focused on laser safety. It has been an ongoing concern of the agency, which has worked with the medical industry to put together safety plans as well as circulating fact sheets.

An individual who is injured on the job by a laser may wish to consult an attorney. There may be a number of options for compensation. Workers' compensation is available regardless of who is responsible for the accident. However, if the victim feels that the accident occurred due to the negligence of a non-employer third party, a separate personal injury action can in some cases be maintained in addition to the claim.

This compensation can be important because workplace accidents may result in costly medical bills, expensive physical therapy and rehabilitation and lost wages from time off work. An attorney can advise an injured client as to how to file for workers' compensation and can also provide representation in the event that the claim is denied.

Source: The Hill, "Laser injuries a threat to workers, OSHA says", Tim Devaney , Jan. 5, 2015

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