Workers in Minnesota see their share of work-related injuries, particularly during the height of harvest season. A number of farmworkers died or were seriously injured this summer due to machine entanglements and vehicle mishaps.
However, every day, employees suffer harm in all types of incidents during their employment, and farm accidents make up only a small fraction of work-related injuries in the state. Fortunately, state laws provide workers' compensation benefits to injured workers or families of those who succumb to their injuries.
Top Causes of Work-Related Injuries
While the causes of many injuries incurred during the course of employment situations appear vastly different, the most common causes of work-related accidents fall into a few categories, such as the following:
- Motor vehicles accidents: Driving vehicles and heavy equipment are necessary for many people in Minnesota. Not only to many people in the Twin Cities drive for work, but farming and trucking also keep hundreds of thousands of additional workers on the roads each day, exposing everyone to dangers associated with driving.
- Entanglements: Getting entangled in machinery - whether in a farming, factory or industrial setting - is one of the top ten causes of workplace injuries. While fixing, adjusting or checking equipment, clothing, hands, feet or other body parts are easily caught and pulled into machinery.
- Repetitive movements: Performing the same movement repeatedly subjects many employees to unexpected injuries. Even deskwork can cause long-term disabilities such as carpal tunnel syndrome or chronic back pain.
- Slips, trips, and near-falls: Falling and nearly falling after slipping or tripping at ground level is the second most common cause of work-related injuries. Workers may hurt backs, legs or necks despite catching themselves without actually falling down.
- Falling from heights: Falls from high heights often cause fatal injuries in Minnesota. Employees often work without safety equipment in an effort to save time, leading to falls from structures such as silos, grain bins, construction projects or wind turbines. Ten or 15-foot falls can cause serious injuries; high heights are not necessary.
- Falling objects: Even small objects can cause grave injuries when they fall on people. While hardhats are standard equipment for many types of workers, a book falling off an office shelf or a heavy object rolling down a flight of stairs can cause serious harm to an individual.
Compensation for Injured Workers
In the event of injury or death from a work-related injury, compensation is available. Although a loved one can never be replaced, death benefits can help family members face difficult days and years ahead.
If you or a loved one sustains an injury during the course of employment, you may be entitled to lost wages, medical expenses, disability payments, and long-term care. An experienced workers' compensation lawyer can help you attain the compensation to which you and your family are entitled. Consult a knowledgeable attorney with any questions you may have about a claim or an appeal of a denied claim.