There are various statistics to consider in evaluating workplace injury issues in Minnesota and throughout the nation. The number of injuries of a certain type can be an indicator of success or failure in managing safety. Additionally, the cost burdens of certain types of injuries are important. Some statistics were released on Jan. 14, 2016, and musculoskeletal disorders topped the list of disabling job-related injuries during 2013.
Mining employees in Minnesota may face serious dangers in their line of work, but they may appreciate the fact that 2015 was a historically low year for mining deaths in the United States. Statistics are compiled by the Mine Safety and Health Administration, which reported only 28 industry fatalities for the year. This was a decrease of nearly 40 percent from the previous year. Statistics for the mining industry exclude those related to oil and gas.
In December 2015, workplace safety advocates zeroed in on the welding industry in an analysis of different kinds of protection employers ought to provide. In addition to recommending that employers create EHS management systems and accompanying procedures specifically geared towards assessing and controlling the risks associated with welding, industry observers pointed to a number of hazards that welders and those around them might face in the workplace.
Employers in Minnesota will soon have to pay higher fines if they violate workplace safety regulations. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will be increasing fines in 2016. OSHA fines have not changed in 25 years, so the fines are being raised to catch up with inflation. The Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Improvements Act of 2015 will increase fines by 80 percent for 2016 and then raise fines higher each year after that.
Many Minnesota residents who work in the field of construction are no doubt aware of the potential dangers from a constant exposure to high levels of noise. Besides possibly causing permanent hearing loss that cannot be corrected by surgery or hearing aids, noisy working conditions can also lead to on-the-job accidents and reduced productivity. Additionally, overexposure to constant loud noises increases the chances for workers to develop severe heart disease, according to the latest reports.
While carpal tunnel syndrome may be familiar to Minnesota construction workers, hand-arm vibration syndrome may be unknown. Numbness, tingling and pain might cause a worker to seek treatment for carpal tunnel issues. However, this might be an indication of HAVS, one of the most common neuromuscular issues for construction and manufacturing workers. The deciding factor could be the discoloration of one's fingers, as blanching is a symptom of HAVS.
Warehouses in Minnesota tend to be out of sight and out of mind. Significant numbers of people work in them, however, and they face numerous workplace hazards. According to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, warehouses produce an above-average number of worker injuries when compared to other industries. Citations against employers for safety violations begin at $7,000 each, and costs run high for medical care and legal battles related to injured workers.
While many different jobs present hazards to Minnesota workers, there are certain occupations that are much more dangerous than others. In the most dangerous jobs, it is important not only for employers to take steps to minimize the risks, it is also important for workers to be especially vigilant.
Minnesota workers may want to learn more about medical innovations that enable physicians to detect if the brain is bleeding following a traumatic brain injury. A recent study found that military personnel receiving imaging shortly after sustaining a TBI may be getting better treatment in a shorter amount of time. According to researchers, the microbleeding that causes stroke, brain swelling and other serious conditions can be detected early by physicians with the help of an MRI.
As many Minnesota workers may know, an eye injury is common in the workplace and one that could be lessened if safety measures were followed. About 2,000 eye injuries happen every day at work. While some companies lack eye safety policies, other issues are involved. According to one volunteer safety and health group, up to 90 percent of eye workplace injuries are preventable with safety goggles. Not all workers use them, however. One study found that 66 percent of workers complained of fogginess as a reason not to use protective eyewear.