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Chicago Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Fatal workplace accidents: Laundry worker crushed to death

For any Illinois family, the unanticipated loss of a loved one is a shock. Learning that a spouse and parent will not return home as usual after work is understandably devastating. Fatal workplace accidents occur in all industries, often as the result of unsafe work environments.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has launched an investigation into an employee's death at an Illinois laundry business. A police report indicates that this industrial accident occurred on a recent Tuesday evening. The worker was a 42-year-old man from Chicago who reportedly became trapped between a dryer and a conveyor belt in the laundry.

Will the national stand-down limit construction accidents?

The Construction Safety Week 2018 that runs between May 7 and May 11 nationally will aim to elevate awareness of the importance of creating safe work environments in Illinois and elsewhere. Workers must receive adequate training and personal protective equipment to keep them safe and healthy. An insurance company that is one of the sponsors of the stand-down urges companies to pay particular attention to training and onboarding. The insurer says claim data indicates that more than half of the injuries are suffered in construction accidents within worker's first year on the job.

The likelihood of construction accidents will naturally be higher when there are workers with little or no experience on site. For this reason, officials suggest a hiring program that includes orientation that is site-specific along with an analysis of potential hazards and training in the proper use of safety equipment. Past incidents and near misses can be used as demonstrations during the training process. A thorough analysis of these incidents can also help to keep safety protocols current.

Employer-employee collaboration can avoid manufacturing accidents

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration prescribes rules that intend to keep employees in factories and manufacturing plants safe and healthy. The agency also provides guidelines for Illinois business owners to establish cultures in which employers and workers collaborate to avoid manufacturing accidents. Some employers offer incentives to encourage employees to be involved in reporting potential risks and near misses.

Although the bottom line is likely the primary concern of every manufacturer, they must recognize the critical role employees play in this aspect of business. To improve profits, providing safety training is crucial. Workers must be aware of the hazards inherent to the particular facility, and they must also know how to identify them and what to do if they encounter them. Providing all workers with first-aid training can also go a long way in keeping workers safe.

Maintenance worker suffers fatal work injury in TV tower collapse

Employees who work on TV towers in Illinois and elsewhere frequently risk their lives while working at dangerous heights. The inexplicable collapse of such a tower in a neighboring state on a recent Thursday underscores the risks these workers take to earn an income. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the accident in which one worker suffered a fatal work injury.

According to a sheriff's report, workers were doing maintenance on a tower for planned channel changes. Reportedly, they were at the height of approximately 105 feet when the collapse occurred. Between 50 and 60 rescue workers rushed to the scene, where they discovered that one worker had succumbed to the injuries he suffered when he became trapped under steel beams.

Workplace injuries and choice of doctors in Chicago

Suffering an on-the-job injury may be a serious blow, depending on the specifics of the injury itself and the treatment necessary to address it. While the victim may feel some relief that the injury occurred at work — and thus qualifies for workers' compensation — the approved doctor and treatment protocol may fall far from the provider and treatment plan preferred by the victim.

After a workplace injury, you may have many questions about your recovery and how to get the most out of your workers' compensation claim. This is a normal response, because most people do not have much experience with workers' compensation or the process of negotiating terms with their employers' insurance providers. Pursuing fair resolutions to your workers' compensation conflicts may prove very difficult if you are not already familiar with the system and the boundaries of what you should or should not expect out of your settlement.

IDOT aims to lessen workplace accidents in construction zones

During the recent National Work Zone Awareness Week, the Illinois Department of Transportation worked hard to create awareness of the hazards faced by those who risk their lives to make the roads safer for motorists throughout the state. A spokesperson said many drivers do not realize how exposed these workers are to the dangers of traffic. They can often feel the wind from the big rigs and cars that speed through construction zones with the drivers having little or no regard for the safety of construction workers. It is no wonder that so many workplace accidents occur in construction zones.

Road construction is one of the most hazardous occupations, and authorities urge motorists to slow down and take extra care as they pass through work zones. One fire chief said the many distractions of devices like cell phones and Bluetooth that most drivers have in their vehicles can be blamed for a significant percentage of accidents in construction zones. According to IDOT, the average annual number of crashes in these work zones is as high as 5,200 -- statewide.

Work injury: Better ergonomics might improve productivity

Workers in some industries in Illinois are at risk of suffering musculoskeletal disorders. This type of work injury typically develops over time, and it may cause chronic pain before the victim realizes the severity of the condition. Employers are encouraged by safety authorities to assess the functional design of their facilities and the different workstations. An area that is ergonomically enhanced can increase productivity and lower the risk of developing musculoskeletal injuries or disorders.

Different aspects will have to be considered to assess an area for the purpose of identifying ergonomic risk factors. These include, among others, the need to work in awkward body postures, apply high force and also the frequency or repetition of such tasks and the type of exposure workers must endure. A clear picture of each job and the body parts used to perform it is necessary for an ergonomics assessment.

Industrial accidents: What causes combustible dust explosions?

Allowing the accumulation of combustible dust in manufacturing facilities can lead to deadly explosions. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration proposed over $90,000 in penalties for an Illinois pallet maker some months ago for exposing employees to the dangers of potential industrial accidents. Advisers at the safety agency say there are five elements required for the dust to become combustible.

Fires typically need fuel, heat and an oxidizer, and for a dust explosion, these are made up of dust, heat and oxygen. If the dust particles are dispersed in sufficient concentration and quantity and it forms a confined dust cloud, a deadly explosion can follow. Other influential factors include the dust particle size, ambient humidity, the moisture content of the dust, and the oxygen level in the air.

Work injury: Take safety precautions while working in a mine

Illinois workers in the mining industry face multiple safety hazards. It will always be a risky business, and anyone who considers a career as a mine worker can limit the chances of suffering a work injury by learning about the potential hazards and taking preventative steps. The primary precaution is to remain alert and never ignore the danger. A moment of complacency can cause a fatal workplace accident.

Professional training is not only for new employees, and even seasoned mine workers can benefit from refresher training sessions. Safety training must include both practical and theory components, and tests to determine the fitness and health of workers can play a significant role in workplace safety. The importance of personal protective equipment must never be underestimated because helmets or hard hats have saved countless lives, and protective gloves and safety glasses can prevent life-changing injuries.

OSHA investigates fatal workplace injury at Illinois sawmill

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will be conducting an investigation at an Illinois sawmill after a worker lost his life. The agency says the fatal workplace injury occurred on a recent Monday afternoon. The company manufactures lumber and specialty wood products, and it has multiple types of dangerous equipment on-site.

Although very little information about the circumstances that led to the worker's death was reported, authorities noted that it involved contact with moving parts of equipment. The deceased worker was a 34-year-old employee of the sawmill. It is not clear what type of machine the man was operating when he was hurt.

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