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St. Paul Minnesota Workers' Compensation And Social Security Disability Law Blog

First aid tips for chemical exposure in the workplace

Workplace chemicals are a constant hazard in some occupations -- and even if you're following all the safety regulations, it's still possible you or a co-worker could end up accidentally exposed.

Here are some important first-aid reminders to keep in mind:

Social Security Disability fraud becomes hot new focus for agency

Social Security has a fraud problem.

As a result, the Office of the Inspector General, or OIG, has plans to develop three new fraud units that are designed to root out corruption among disability recipients. The idea will be to detect people who are collecting benefits even though they aren't really disabled -- defrauding the government in the process and making it harder for those who are legitimately disabled to receive benefits.

Do you have the right medical evidence for your disability claim?

Millions of people apply for Social Security Disability each year. Unfortunately, 60 to 70 percent of those initial disability claims are denied. Because of this denial, many applicants need to go through an appeal process to pursue benefits, which can take two years or more. This is far too long for individuals who are suffering.

For this reason, how you file your initial claim is extremely important. One mistake will have the Social Security Administration (SSA) tossing out your application.

Medical workers: Report every accidental needle stick

If you're a medical worker who handles needles, you know that one slip of a glove or wrong move with your hand can expose you to incredible amounts of danger from an accidental needle stick.

Medical workers take blood from patients about 400 million times every year -- in hospitals, clinics, outpatient labs and doctors' offices. Blood also gets taken in ambulances and emergency rooms all the time -- which are often chaotic atmospheres that make it hard for a medical worker to completely concentrate.

Your third-party reference and Social Security Disability

When you file for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, you'll be asked to complete a questionnaire regarding your daily activities.

This questionnaire helps the SSD examiner understand more about how your condition affects your ability to function. Essentially, it's your chance to convince the examiner of the severity of your limitations.

Study associates work injuries with overdose deaths

It probably doesn't surprise the average American worker to find out that there's a lot of people working despite their pain. What might be surprising, however, is how often injured workers end up dying of overdoses while trying to do it.

The typical image associated with an opiate overdose isn't usually someone just trying to get through a day at work despite unrelenting pain -- but workers in high-risk, high-injury industries are actually likely to overdose as much as six times more than people in other industries. According to a Massachusetts Department of Public Health study, the riskier the occupation, the more likely that someone is working while drugged. Many high-risk industries offer workers few benefits when it comes to sick leave. Nor do many workers feel like they have much in the way of job security if they are forced to take leave.

Social Security Disability after a sudden accident or illness

When a sudden injury or recent illness leaves you unable to work, will Social Security Disability (SSD) step in and provide you with an income?

Maybe. The agency's rules about what constitutes a disability often come as an unpleasant shock to many people -- especially those suffering from recent injuries or illnesses instead of long-term medical conditions.

Approach social media with caution after filing a claim

We live in a constantly connected world, and engagement is only growing. The Pew Research Center reports that over 70 percent of U.S. adults utilize social media platforms, including Facebook and YouTube. Many adults use these platforms to share their personal life, feelings and opinions. For this very reason, social media poses a threat to personal injury cases.

Hospital workers have good reason to be afraid at work

As the nation's drug crisis heats up, another segment of the population is facing a different sort of emergency. Nurses, doctors and other medical workers are being assaulted and injured by drug-seeking, out-of-control patients on a daily basis.

Many feel that there isn't enough attention given to the issue and that more could be done to protect medical workers in hospital settings. Drugged patients aren't the only dangerous patients workers face. Hospitals arguably receive patients under the worst of circumstances — victims (and perpetrators) of violence come through the emergency room all the time. Patients with serious mental health problems are also common. When medical workers aren't confronted with an angry or abusive patient, they may have to deal with angry or abusive family members.

Why are 'Waddell's signs' important to back injury victims?

Something called "Waddell's signs" may be the most important thing you've never heard of -- if you happen to be the victim of a low back injury and seeking workers' compensation benefits.

Back injuries tend to confound a lot of doctors. One patient may have X-rays that reveal major damage in the spine, including slipped and bulging discs, but very little pain and no limitations. Another patient may have almost nothing visible on his or her X-rays -- but still feel agonizing pain and suffer from tremendous limitations.

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