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Lessening the risk of common workplace injuries

Many Minnesota workers are injured every year while working. Accidents at work can occur in a variety of circumstances, but there are five main categories of injury types that together account for 73.1 percent of all work-related injuries. Both employers and employees can take simple steps to reduce the likelihood of receiving such injuries.

The top five injury categories are repetitive movement injuries caused by such things as repeatedly tossing, throwing, lifting or carrying items, bodily reaction injuries caused by bending, standing, sitting, slipping or tripping without falling, falling to a lower level, falling on the same level and being struck by falling objects. One of the first steps a worker can take is making certain their work area is relatively uncluttered to avoid tripping over objects.

Employers should consider installing slip-resistant floor coatings as well. Falls from one level to another can be reduced by making certain scaffolding is installed properly and that ladders are functioning and set up correctly. By carefully stacking items, the likelihood of being hit by falling objects can be reduced. Asking for help when carrying or lifting items can reduce repetitive motion injuries. Employers should do their part by providing assistive technology to workers to reduce the strain of repetitive movement.

Even when preventative measures are implemented, work accident injuries will still occur. Employers are mandated to provide workers' compensation coverage to provide benefits for those who are injured on the job. Sometimes a worker's employer will dispute a workers' compensation claim. If that occurs, the injured worker may benefit by seeking the help of a workers' compensation attorney.

Source: EHS Today, "Preventing the Top 5 Workplace Injuries", Langdon Dement, November 23, 2014

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