What You Need to Know About Ladder Safety

Every day, workers around the country get injured performing the very basic task of climbing up a ladder. It is an activity that may seem simple and safe, but people often do not use ladders as safely as they should, and it becomes a recipe for disaster. Estimates show that around 300 people die annually due to falling from ladders. A large percentage of those are people who are working when it happens. There may be any number of reasons to be up on a ladder while on the job, but there is no reason you shouldn’t be as safe as possible while you are. Here are some tips to keep safe while on a ladder on the job.

First off, make sure to follow any instructions and labels that come with the ladder. The manufacturer will obviously know best how to use the ladder safely, so it is best to follow their guidelines.

Next you should keep any materials that may cause you to slip away from a ladder. This  includes liquids, tools, or anything that might be lying around the site.

You should always have three points touching the ladder. That may been two hands and a foot, or one hand and two feet. This will help make sure that you are secure on the ladder and able to react if you were to lose your balance.

Sometimes it is not the climber or even a malfunctioning of the ladder that causes the fall. It may be another worker coming by and causing the accident. They may be carrying something that knocks someone off the ladder, or they might simply run into the ladder if they are not paying attention. Make sure to put up a barrier or some sort of notification to warn others.

Make sure the ladder is solid and secure on level ground. It may look straight, but if all the legs are not completely on the ground, you can cause it to tip when you put weight on it. If you feel a ladder wobbling, then get off of it immediately.

The OSHA also has regulations for ladder use, so make sure that you are familiar with them. Plan your work and use the right ladders and safety techniques, and you should be safe when using ladders at work.

If you are a Minnesota worker who has been injured on the job, do not hesitate to contact Minnesota Occupational Health online, by phone or by visiting one of our Twin Cities locations. Our staff of physicians, many of whom are board certified in occupational medicine, offer years of experience and understanding in addressing work injuries.


Safety Tips for Welding

Each Minnesota Occupational Health (MOH) clinic is staffed and equipped to function as a full-service urgent care center just for work injuries. If you are a Minnesota worker who has been injured on the job, do not hesitate to contact Minnesota Occupational Health online, by phone or by visiting one of our Twin Cities locations. Our staff of physicians, many of whom are board certified in occupational medicine, offer years of experience and understanding in addressing work injuries.

Welding can be a rewarding and well-paying career, but you do not want to take your safety for granted. Welding itself can be a dangerous activity if not done correctly, and can sometimes take place in areas that are unsafe, such as construction sites. Here are some tips to make sure that you are as safe as possible while welding.

You Are Grounded

Keep an eye on your connections and make sure they are properly grounded. If metal connections are covered with paint, they can be a safety hazard. Never use ropes or chains made of wire for grounding.

Flat Surfaces Are Vital

Your welding equipment should always be positioned on a flat surface. It should not be anywhere near materials that are combustible, such as paper and gasoline. Welding should never be done in the rain, since electricity and water do not mix well, and you could get seriously injured.

Be Careful of Gas

Any gas cylinders that you have must be attached with metal chains to supports. A protective cap must be in place as well before you transport them. If you want to use a hose, make sure that it is one specifically made for welding.


Inspect your hoses as often as possible using soapy water and checking for bubbles. If a hose looks worn, then replace it as soon as possible. Patching is not acceptable. You can inspect your workspace to make sure there are no loose papers or tools and that everything is put away. You do not want to trip while welding, since it could be extra dangerous.

Use The Right Tools

If you need a specific tool for task, then use that tool. Do not try to make do with another tool. For instance, do not use pliers to pick up hot metal. Use the correct tool to do so.


High impact glasses are absolutely mandatory when cutting or grinding. Do not even take them off in the shop, since flying debris could hit you in the face. Also, you may forget to put them back on. You must wear a face shield while welding to protect your face and eyes from damage. Not just from debris, but from the high intensity light as well.


Good ventilation is crucial to protect from any harmful fumes. A fan is a good thing to clear those fumes away.

Prevention of and Care for Common Work Injuries

The risk of work injury is present in all jobs, but in particular in construction, manufacturing and assembly type jobs. Each Minnesota Occupational Health (MOH) clinic is staffed and equipped to function as a full-service urgent care center just for work injuries.

MOH considers workers to be industrial athletes so particularly for muscle and joint injuries, the goal is always to maintain and improve mobility. Just as professional athletes are cared for, treatment often involves remaining as mobile and active as is safely possible, gradually increasing the workload until maximum medical improvement is reached. Reducing couch-time is critical to improving strength, flexibility and range of motion.

Repetitive Motion Injuries

Many jobs involve repeating the same movements which can contribute to soft tissue and muscle fatigue, aches and pain. Genetically, some people are more susceptible to repetitive motion injuries after performing the same motion in the same way over a long period of time. Whenever possible, change the side of the body that is being used, periodically stretch in the opposite direction and workplace accommodations such as job sharing and workstation rotations can all help to alleviate these types of conditions.

Hydration and Nutrition

Physically demanding jobs and jobs that are performed in environmental extremes such as heat, cold or humidity require special attention. Avoiding sugars and other simple carbohydrates can be helpful in maintaining both stamina and a high level of mental alertness. Drinking water before you are thirsty is essential in staying ahead of dehydration, while keeping your muscles and brain functioning at an optimal state.

Flexibility and Balance

As we age, workers can become more prone to injury because of our loss in flexibility and balance. Even sitting or standing for long periods causes muscles to tighten. Carrying, pushing or pushing objects require proper technique and balance. Even a small amount of weight can result in an injury if balance is even slightly out of whack. Exercise not only for strength and stamina but also for balance.

If you are a Minnesota worker who has been injured on the job, do not hesitate to contact Minnesota Occupational Health online, by phone or by visiting one of our Twin Cities locations. Our staff of physicians, many of whom are board certified in occupational medicine, offer years of experience and understanding in addressing work injuries.

What Are the Most Common Safety Hazards at a Construction Site?

Construction sites can be very dangerous. That is why they are often surrounded by signs saying “keep out” or other warning signs. However, they are not just dangerous for curious kids up to no good, they are dangerous for the people who work on those construction sites as well. Here are some of the top construction site hazards you should be concerned with.


Perhaps the most common hazard is falling. Working from ladders and scaffolding can be extremely dangerous, and slips and trips are always a concern. Employers have to have a safety program to prevent falls, and special training should be provided to workers who work from heights. Identifying potential hazards and controlling them should be major safety priorities.


There are many electrical hazards on a construction site. All workers should be aware of where electrical hazards might be, and to stay a safe distance from those who are working on power lines. All vehicles should be properly insulated as well.


We have already mentioned that falls from scaffolding and other high spots are dangerous. When it comes to scaffolding, it is important to remember several safety tips to prevent those falls. First off, the scaffolding should be set up properly by trained workers. There is a load limit for all scaffolding, so do not exceed that limit under any circumstances. Also, often times the work being done on the scaffolding involves dangerous elements like electricity, so all necessary precautions for those hazards should be taken as well.

Trenches and Excavation

Falling off of something is dangerous, but so is falling into something. Trenches and excavated areas can lead to trips and falls. As well, the equipment and machinery used to dig present unique safety issues. Only trained and certified workers should operate the equipment, and every effort should be made to have the area clearly marked so someone doesn’t fall in by accident.

Construction sites are dangerous. Safety should be a priority to keep both your workers and the public as safe as possible. Not only will an accident affect the health of your employees, but it can affect productivity. Make sure to take all safety precautions so that no one gets hurt on the job site.

Minnesota Occupational Health is the leading provider of occupational health services in the Upper Midwest. To learn more, please contact us.

Common Workplace Eye Injuries and How to Prevent and Address Them

The eye is one of the most delicate parts of the human body, and eye injuries can be very serious. They can also cause a lot of missed work time and lost productivity. It is vital to make sure that employees are protected from eye injuries, and that they have the proper training to protect the eye.

Common Eye Injuries

Eye Scraping

There are a few common eye injuries that tend to happen at work. The most common is probably eye scraping. This is when something hits or scratches the eye. These can be small objects or particles. Dust, wood or cement chips, or metal slivers can all easily scrape the eye. As well, larger objects can come into contact with the face, causing trauma to the eye or the socket.


Penetration is when an object pierces the eye. This can cause blindness or loss of vision. Nails and staples are often the culprits, but slivers and other metal objects can also be to blame.

Thermal and Chemical Burns

Cleaning products and industrial chemicals can cause major damage to the eye. Burns can cause permanent loss of vision and even damage the tissue surrounding the eye. Welders are often at the most risk for thermal burns because of the nature of their work.


Because the area is so sensitive, all precautions must be made to ensure proper eye safety and prevent eye injury. For starters, all employees must be made aware and reminded of the eye safety hazards that are present on the job site or in the workplace. Plus, these hazards should be neutralized if possible. That means using work screens, machine guards, or any other method to prevent objects and materials from getting to the eyes. Perhaps the most important step to take is for all employees to wear the right eye protection at all times. This means wearing certified safety goggles that are appropriate for the job being done.

Injuries to the eye and the surrounding tissue are not to be taken lightly. Not only can the result be a loss of productivity and work hours, but permanent loss of vision or complete blindness are real risks. Make sure your employees work safely to prevent eye injuries.

Avoiding Eye Injuries in the Workplace

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics has stated that more than 20 thousand workplace eye injuries occur each year. In additional, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has stated that workplace eye injuries cost approximately $300 million a year in regards to lost productivity, workers’ compensation, and medical treatment. Such injuries can range from an insignificant eye strain to intense trauma that can cause permanent damage or blindness.

One of the primary ways of preventing loss of vision is to always use the appropriate eyewear when performing your tasks. This is especially true for those who are involved in welding, due to its high-risk factor when it comes to eye injuries.

Some of the most common causes of eye injuries include:

  • Tools
  • Particles
  • Chemicals
  • Flying objects (like bits of glass or metal)

Effective ways to protect your eyes

Understand and appreciate the safety dangers of your profession. This involves clearing potential hazards before beginning a task. You can use work screens or different types of engineering controls when doing so.

If your profession involves the handling of hazardous materials, it is important that you wear special safety goggles, face shields, safety glasses, or helmets designed for that task.

Remember to wear eye safety items that are OSHA-compliant and have been approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

If you sustain an eye injury in the workplace, visit an ophthalmologist or take a trip to the emergency room immediately, regardless of whether the incident seems minute. Delayed medical attention can lead to blindness, long-term damage or a temporary loss of vision.

Lifting Heavy Objects

Lifting at home and at work

Know the risk points and your limits. Awkward shapes and sizes, lifting overhead, and heavy weights all come with higher incidence of injury. Not sure on the weight? Try pushing it on the ground first to gauge its weight. It’s better to ask for help, or use a dolly, when it’s beyond something you can safely lift.

Is it packed right?

A balanced load makes for safer lifting. When things shift, it’s easier to lose your grip and the box fall.

Take your time

Rushing doesn’t allow enough time to evaluate the lift and use good form. Slow, smooth lifting protects muscles from strain.

Get close

Reaching and lifting are not a good combination. Keep your center of gravity close to the object you are lifting. As you carry the object, keep it as close to the center of your body as possible.

Posture is everything

Feet shoulder width apart, bend at the knees to straddle the load, flex your midsection, and lift with your legs.

Where to cheat with posture

If you are lifting a light object, you don’t need the same lifting technique as with mid-weight and heavy objects. Hold on to something sturdy for support, slightly bend one knee, lean over and allow your other leg to rise slightly.

Save the twist for the dance floor

Lifting and twisting often result in injury and increased strain on the back. Your solution: point your toes and pivot your body as a unit, rather than turning at the waist.

A back belt won’t save you

It hasn’t been proven that back belts can protect you from injury.

When you have to lift overhead

Get close to where the box is going, take a wide stance, and flex your midsection as you lift upwards. Avoid straightening your arms. If you can’t get the box to where it needs to go while keeping your arms bent, then it’s time to get a sturdy step ladder.

6 Ergonomics Tips

Don’t let your mouse become a trap for injury

Hold the mouse loosely with your fingers. Pivot at the elbow rather than the wrist, and use your arm and shoulder to move the mouse. Avoid lifting your fingers off the mouse as this can create strain on your forearm muscles. If you use your mouse more than 50% of the time at work, you may want to consider an ergonomic mouse.

Set up your work surface ergonomically

Your monitor should be about an arm’s length away with the top of the monitor at eye level. Your keyboard and mouse should be on the same surface, and keep commonly used items within reach. Wrist rests are recommended for keyboards, but not for the mouse. The biggest surprise for many: Put your phone on the opposite side of the mouse.

Body posture matters

Starting from the top, your shoulders should be down and relaxed. Keep forearms parallel to the ground, with wrists straight and elbows close to your trunk. The goal is to avoid reaching for the mouse. Moving to the lower body, your knees should be at 90 degrees with your thighs parallel to the ground. Place your feet flat on the floor or use a footrest to get to that magic 90 degree angle for knees and hips.

Check that chair

Adjust the lumbar support, if your chair has that feature, to match the natural curve of your lower back. When sitting in your chair, you should be able to fit 2-3 fingers between the back of your kneecaps and the seat edge. Armrests should be adjusted so your shoulders can be down and relaxed, rather than pushed upwards.

Type like a pianist

Float your wrists like you are playing the piano. If you are more comfortable planting your wrists against a surface, we recommend getting a gel-like keyboard pad. When you are going to be typing for a period of time, center your body on the space bar and avoid contact with a sharp desk edge.

Stretch it out

Take frequent breaks to stretch – a good guideline would be stretching every 20-30 minutes. Pump your shoulders, wrists and hands to bring relief to muscles that have been statically holding you in position while you are at your desk.

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