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Chicago Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Workplace injury: The hazards female construction workers face

Although women hold an insignificant percentage of jobs in construction nationwide, including in Illinois, they face unique hazards. In 2013, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recognized that disparity, and an alliance was formed with the National Association of Women in Construction. The two groups recently renewed this alliance and secured another five-year agreement. Their goal is to limit workplace injury incidents that happen because of the limited protection available for women.

The primary areas that will be addressed by this pact include workplace intimidation, violence, harassment, sanitation and personal protective equipment. The culture of construction workplaces are male dominated, and women often find themselves the subjects of humiliation and belittling. In some cases, they are even vulnerable to physical assaults.

Work-related back injury can have long-term health consequences

Illinois workers in various industries are exposed to occupational hazards that could cause life-changing injuries. Some of the most common occupational injuries are back injuries, the severity of which can vary considerably -- often causing long-term medical problems. A back injury can result from a sudden traumatic event, or it can develop over time due to micro-trauma caused by repetitive activity.

The latter is often not considered serious and is ignored until it develops into an acute, disabling condition. A severe back injury can be mistaken as a single traumatic event while it might have been the final straw after years of repetitive micro-trauma. Muscles, ligaments, discs and vertebrae -- individually or combined -- can weaken over time and eventually fail to provide the necessary musculoskeletal support of the spine.

Falls on construction sites can be prevented

Construction workers in Illinois face life-threatening risks on every shift they work. Safety authorities maintain that falls cause a significant number of serious and even fatal injuries in the construction industry. Employers must follow safety regulations that can protect the health and safety of employees.

The reason for the high number of fall injuries is the fact that so many hazards that can cause falls exist. It is not only falls from heights that cause injuries but also those that result from slippery or uneven walking surfaces that can cause slips and trips. Insufficient lighting can compromise vision, and loose cables can add to the dangers.

Industrial accidents could cause life-changing injuries

Illinois employees of manufacturers typically rely on their employers to provide safe work environments that are free of known hazards. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration expects employers to ensure that all machines are fitted with safeguards to prevent contact with dangerous, moving parts. Furthermore, energy control devices and procedures must be in place to protect workers from unexpected activation that could cause industrial accidents that may lead to amputations or deaths.

Failure to comply with these safety regulations led to proposed fines of almost $92,000 for a pallet manufacturer in New Lenox. Compliance inspectors determined that the lack of safeguards caused injuries to a worker who was performing maintenance on a pallet stripper and came into contact with the blade. This incident occurred in Oct. 2017.

Workers' compensation pays benefits regardless of who is at fault

Workers across all industries in Illinois are entitled to claim insurance benefits to help them cope with the financial consequences of a work-related injury. Workers' compensation is a no-fault system that does not typically focus on who was to blame for an injury. Employees are generally barred from suing their employers for a workplace injury, though exceptions are made when evidence suggests an employer's gross negligence caused on-the-job injuries.

This does not mean that all claims for workers' compensation benefits will be successful. It is not uncommon for business owners or insurers to attempt to avoid paying by rejecting benefits claims. Even if a worker's own negligence or error caused the circumstances that led to an injury, he or she would typically be entitled to compensation. This also applies to an occupational injury that is work-related.

Company time and car accidents

For many people, driving is part of their job, in some form or another. Whether a worker experiences a car accident in a company vehicle or in their own vehicle or some other vehicle, the employer often bears liability for the accident, as long as the victim meets the appropriate standards.

If you recently suffered an injury in a car accident and believe that it happened while you were on the job, your employer may have to cover your damages and make up for any losses associated with it. It is often difficult to pursue a fair outcome to this type of injury claim while also focusing on your physical recovery, but you may have more options than you realize. An experienced attorney can help you build a strong claim and ensure that you receive the treatment and compensation you deserve.

Don't let insurance companies lowball your workers' compensation

Injuries from a work\-related accident can cause far more than just physical pain. Many Illinois victims lose out on necessary wages, suffer ongoing mental anguish or are forced to switch careers after a severe injury. Workers' compensation benefits are intended to support injured workers, but that does not stop employers and insurance companies from trying to pay as little as possible.

Time off work adds up quickly, and those missed paychecks can mean the difference between paying rent and facing a huge late fee. After a workplace injury, you will need workers' comp to make up for those lost wages. An insurance adjustor from your employer's insurance company will likely make you an offer, but it may not be in your best interest to take it.

Construction accidents a fatality risk for some workers

No one imagines sending a loved one off to work and them never coming home, but for one out-of-state family, this was a sad reality. Fatal construction accidents are often the result of lapses in safety that put Illinois workers, not employers, at the most risk. Death benefits through workers' compensation often essential for surviving family members who rely on lost wages compensation.

Two construction workers were involved in the deadly accident, although one survived with injuries. The two men were part of a crew building a new civic center for the local area, and were on-site when the structure's second floor gave way and collapsed. One of the men was safely removed from the rubble and was treated for serious injuries at an area hospital. Unfortunately, the other man did not survive the collapse.

Suffering shoulder pain from a work injury? We can help

Physical labor can take a serious toll on the body. Whether an Illinois worker is employed on a construction site or in an office, virtually any level of physical activity can lead to a work injury. Shoulder injuries in particular are exceedingly common and, for many, can cause severe and ongoing pain that requires them to take time away from work. If you are suffering from an on-the-job shoulder injury, workers' compensation benefits are likely essential to your recovery.

Workplace injuries are not always the result of major accidents. You might have hurt your shoulder after months or years of repetitive movements or from a seemingly minor incident. This is not uncommon for workers who engage in the same work duties day in and day out. Serious work-related accidents can also injure your otherwise healthy shoulder. Unfortunately, all it takes is one major event to cause significant harm and put you out of work.

Manufacturing accidents: Ford Motor Co. employee dies on the job

Industrial workers in auto manufacturing plants in Illinois and other states face numerous safety hazards whenever they are on duty. Employers are responsible for the safety and health of employees, and they must comply with safety guidelines. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration prescribes safety regulations, and compliance can prevent manufacturing accidents.

OSHA recently launched an investigation into a fatal workplace accident that occurred at a manufacturing plant of Ford Motor Co. in a neighboring state. A 41-year-old electrician died in what was initially reported to be an electrocution. However, a preliminary coroner's report indicated that the man died from blunt force trauma -- the final cause of death is pending. A spokesperson for the police department reported that officers responded to the scene shortly before 1 p.m. on a recent Saturday.

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