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Chicago Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Asbestos exposure can cause high medical bills and lost wages

Asbestos consists of strong heat-resistant fibers, and it was widely used in the manufacture of building materials before the potential dangers were identified. Along with its use as fire retardant and insulation, asbestos was also present in roofing shingles, floor tiles, ceiling tiles and more. Illinois workers who are involved in renovation projects often face asbestos hazards that could lead to high medical bills and lost wages. Inhalation of asbestos fibers can lead to lung disease, asbestosis, mesothelioma, lung cancer and other life-altering conditions.

Employers must inform workers when asbestos hazards exist on a job site and provide the necessary safety training and protective equipment to protect the employees from exposure. Full-body protection is required, including coveralls, foot and hand coverings, head coverings and respiratory equipment. Dangerous areas must be clearly marked, and no eating, drinking or smoking must be allowed in those areas. Furthermore, to avoid carrying the asbestos fibers home, workers must shower before going home and leave contaminated clothing behind.

Fatal work injury claims life of Illinois sign installer

An Illinois family has to cope without a beloved husband and father after a tragic accident on a recent Friday. The 47-year-old employee of a company that provides electrical and lighting solutions died when he suffered a fatal work injury. Reportedly, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has launched an investigation to determine the cause of the accident.

Preliminary reports indicate that the employee was busy with a sign installation at a shopping center when he became trapped between a crane and the bell tower where he was working. Emergency workers responded to a call around noon and found the pinned man unresponsive and unconscious. They pronounced his death even before they removed his body -- a process that took about three hours. Authorities revealed that his death was caused by asphyxiation due to compression of his neck.

Medical expenses for occupational skin diseases can be high

Many workers in Illinois face workplace hazards that cause occupational diseases rather than physical injuries. The medical expenses that follow can be as high as those incurred when workplace accidents cause fractured bones and/or other serious injuries. According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), skin diseases are second on the list of most common occupational diseases -- mostly caused by exposure to chemicals.

NIOSH says the number of workers nationwide who could face exposure to toxic chemicals in their workplaces exceeds 13 million. These are specifically those employees who work with chemicals that can enter their systems through skin absorption. Occupations posing such hazards include agriculture, construction, auto repair, cosmetology, health care and food service.

Workers' compensation: Cold stress injuries can be costly

Employers in Illinois must ensure that all workers in positions that expose them to the cold winter conditions are aware of the risks of cold stress. Recognizing the symptoms and knowing how to prevent cold stress can save lives, and working in pairs is important. When the internal temperature of a worker's body drops too low, his or her body will not be able to produce enough heat to warm the body. Workers' compensation claims for this condition is prevalent at this time of the year, and if not treated in a timely manner, permanent tissue damage and even death can follow.

Frostbite is a common condition caused by exposure to extreme cold. It occurs when skin and tissues are frozen, and it could result in amputation. Most frequently affected are toes, fingers, earlobes and noses of workers. Another complication of exposure is trench foot, which occurs when workers stand in water or wet conditions for prolonged periods. Body heat escapes through the feet at an alarming rate when the feet are wet, and this can occur even in water of 60 degrees.

Staying safe in a machine shop

As a new machine shop apprentice, you may be unfamiliar with all the dangers that are present in your work environment. There are hazards lurking around every corner that can cause harm to a machinist. From minor cuts to amputations and even blindness, there are very dangerous accidents that could happen to you any time you walk onto the shop floor.

The best way to avoid these hazards is to become aware of them and to follow proper safety guidelines. Unfortunately, no matter how many safety precautions you take, accidents can happen that are completely out of your control. In case you suffer an injury on the job, you should familiarize yourself with Illinois's workers' compensation laws. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you navigate filing a workers' compensation claim.

Construction site falls without safety harnesses are often fatal

Construction company owners in Illinois and other states who fail to provide employees who work at heights with fall protection put the lives of their workers on the line. Employees may not realize that they have the right to refuse to work at heights exceeding the safety limit without safety harnesses, lanyards and anchors that could arrest falls and save lives. Such precaution might have saved the life of a construction worker in a neighboring state earlier this month.

Reportedly, the incident occurred at the construction site of a student center at a university in a neighboring state. The only details provided indicated that several workers were in the process of unloading building materials on the roof of the center. Under circumstances yet to be determined, a 47-year-old employee fell off the side of the roof.

Work-related accident: Explosion at truck factory injures 6

Explosions at factories in Illinois or anywhere else can be devastating. It is the type of work\-related accident that can cause injuries or death to many workers in the blink of an eye. When an explosion at a truck factory in another state recently occurred, the consequences could have been much worse had most of the 1,000 employees not been off-site for training purposes. Only six workers were injured, and there were no reports of fatalities.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration arrived at the facility to investigate the cause of the blast. Reports by authorities indicate that a strong explosion rocked the factory -- which is part of Oshkosh Corp -- on a recent Wednesday morning. They say six employees suffered injuries, five of which remain hospitalized or under medical care.

Workplace accidents risks prevalent at Illinois roofing company

It is hard to see how business owners can have a complete disregard for the safety of those who ensure they make money. A roofing company in Illinois was put on the Severe Violator Enforcement Program of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, but the agency reported that a recent inspection determined that the company had made no effort to address employee safety, and employees remain at risk of being involved in workplace accidents. As many times before, OSHA issued citations for willful violations after the most recent inspection.

Following multiple inspections, citations and penalties since 2006, this business owner has ignored every order to establish a safety program to prevent accidents. Reportedly, with workers exposed to fall hazards on a daily basis, this employer still refuses to provide fall protection. Workers at heights exceeding six feet must wear fall protection.

3 thinks injured construction workers should know

Your wife and young children count on you being able to work to make ends meet. As a construction worker, you go to work each day knowing that you are at an increased risk for being injured because of an accident. Have you ever thought of what would happen to your family if you were injured? Would you be able to keep a roof over your head, your utilities on and food on the table? In many cases, filing a workers' compensation claim can help you to make ends meet. Here are three points that you should know about injuries at construction sites and compensation afterward.

MSHA says fatal work-related accident in coalmine was preventable

The lives of coal mine workers in Illinois and elsewhere who have to share their workspaces with 65-ton machines will always be at risk. The Mine Safety and Health Administration underscored the importance of compliance with safety regulations in a recent report after investigating the death of a mine worker in a neighboring state. Federal investigators determined that the employer was aware of the hazard that caused this fatal work\-related accident, but failed to address it.

According to MSHA, the workers carry remote-control devices that activate warning sounds and lights if they enter the danger zones near the massive machines. However, the company apparently failed to provide ways for the employees to attach the transmitters securely to prevent dropping them. This seems to be what led to the death of the 36-year-old employee last January.

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