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Minneapolis Workers' Compensation Blog

Meat packing plant workers need proper safety protocol

Individuals who work in meat packing plants do hard work to make honest money. Keeping them safe must be a priority of these employers. There are several hazards that can come with working in this industry. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has guidelines that must be followed, so that is a good place to start when trying to determine what needs to happen.

Some of the safety protocol for this industry is based on common sense, but employees still need to know the information. Proper training and continuing education for safety are two of the most important things that supervisors at meat packing plants can do to help employees avoid injuries.

Registered nursing: A dangerous field with many hazards

Registered nurses are essential in the U.S. health care system. They provide health services and care to many patients, often in place of doctors or other medical providers. These very same nurses are the people who face a significant number of hazards in the workplace, even when they're performing routine duties.

Research on hospitals in the past has shown that hospital workers have a higher rate of injuries and illnesses compared to employees in other careers. RNs, specifically, are among those with the highest rates of illness or injury in the social assistance and health care sectors.

What are repetitive stress injuries?

If you feel constant pain in your hands, fingers or other body parts, you may have a repetitive stress injury. Repetitive stress injuries affect tendons, muscles, ligaments and other soft tissues. These injuries are common and painful.

Repetitive stress injuries may not seem severe, but they can lead to carpal tunnel, tendinitis, trigger finger, bursitis or other injuries. These injuries commonly occur in jobs that require repetitive tasks.

Minnesota nurses fight for workplace injury protections

Many overlook the physical part of a nurse’s job. Usually people connect workplace injuries with the world of construction or factories. But nurses have a physically strenuous job that requires them to lift and support patients. They also are at risk of injuries from violent patients.

Twin Cities nurses recently negotiated with hospitals for more protections against patient assaults. With an increase in violent patients and incidents, they hope to make hospitals safer for the employees.

Meat processing often dangerous in a secretive industry

Working conditions in the meat industry can be dangerous and workers suffer many more injuries and illnesses than workers in many other fields. Also, journalists and even government agencies have found it difficult to gather information they believe the public deserves about the industry’s treatment of its workers.

This situation might surprise some Americans. A 1906 novel about the meat industry may still be the most important investigative journalism in history and is still read in many schools. The Jungle shocked America with details of immigrant workers in dangerous and disgusting working conditions in Chicago’s animal slaughterhouses and meat processing plants.

What injuries can you suffer working in an office?

You might think working in an office is fairly safe. Working at a desk all day may seem low-risk. While you might not be in danger of suffering the same injuries as a construction worker or a factory worker, there are still potential risks in an office.

Office workers and desk-bound workers can get injured too. What injuries might a desk worker have at work?

Ammonia is hazardous when handled improperly

You can find it in your home and you can find it in your office. Ammonia is a common and versatile chemical used in everything from household cleaners to lawn fertilizer to refrigeration systems. If you work in one of Minnesota’s many meat processing facilities, it’s likely you interact with ammonia every day.

Despite ammonia’s multi-purpose capabilities, you must exercise caution when handling to protect yourself and others.

Frostbite can affect workers in minutes

You may consider yourself a thick blooded northerner, but the reality is that the cold affects everyone, regardless of where they’re from. Whether you’re on a jobsite for 8 hours or making the trek across the parking lot to your office, remember that frostbite is a real danger anytime you find yourself in extreme cold.

Fortunately for employees in Minnesota, if you suffer frostbite as a result of your job, you most likely will be able to recover workers’ compensation to help with your medical bills and other expenses.

MN Supreme Court lets disability claim after workers' comp awarded

Some workplace injuries eventually heal completely. But it is common for an injured or sickened worker to never recover fully. Nevertheless, most work accident victims want to go back to work as soon as they are able. As with any disabled worker, survivors of workplace injuries in Minnesota are entitled to reasonable accommodations to allow them to do their jobs under the U.S. Americans With Disabilities Act and the state Human Rights Act.

There is obviously an intersection between workers’ compensation and employment law here. What if a person gets hurt on the job, receives workers’ compensation, and returns to work, only to be refused a reasonable accommodation by their employer? Could that person be entitled to an employment discrimination claim in addition to the workers’ comp relief?

Nurses face injury in rural Minnesota

Injuries among nurses are common. Back injuries from lifting patients, needle sticks, violence from confused patients, slips and falls – these all plague nurses.

The problem in rural areas comes from the lack of nurses. Because there are fewer nurses in rural Minnesota, their health and ability to stay on the job becomes an important factor in the community.

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