The Illinois Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently released a list of the top five safety violations that agency inspectors identified at fire departments across Illinois in the 2019 fiscal year. The agency hopes to reduce the serious injury incidents that happen when safety standards are violated. Number one on the list involves the lack of respiratory protection that exposes firefighters to harmful vapors, fumes, dust, fog, gases, sprays and smoke.
The lack of organizational structures at fire stations includes violations related to the frequency, type and amount of safety training provided. There must also be clear guidelines as to the duties of each fire brigade member. Hazard communication violations involve the lack of data sheets and label warnings on hazardous chemicals and sufficient safety training on working with dangerous chemicals.
Many violations arise when the safety standards related to exposure to bloodborne pathogens are violated. The hazards include exposure to sharps, needles, blood and bodily fluids. Dangerous walking surfaces cause many injuries, despite the safety standards that require floors to be clean, dry, in good repair, and free of debris and randomly placed objects.
Illinois firefighters who suffer a serious injury on duty are likely eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. After receiving the necessary medical treatment and reporting the injury to the employer, it makes sense to consult with a lawyer. An attorney who is experienced in navigating workers’ compensation claims can help the injured worker to get medical bills paid, along with compensation to cover lost wages and any other benefits allowed under applicable state laws.