Most people picture construction workers laboring outside, enjoying the sunlight and fresh air. However, simply being outside does not protect individuals from dangerous particles in the air, and many workers in the construction industry must also work in small, enclosed places where there is inadequate ventilation. Workers' compensation can help Illinois workers who have been harmed by poor air quality at work get the care and compensation they need.
Construction workers face a potentially untold number of hazards when on the job, and yet Illinois employers continue to put these individuals in harm's way. While unsettling, it might come as no surprise that an area man was seriously injured after a fall at a construction site. He suffered multiple injuries -- including a back injury -- that required hospitalization.
Construction company owners must take responsibility for the health and safety of their employees. Part of that responsibility is to provide the necessary personal protective equipment to prevent falls, which are some of the most frequently cited causes of fatalities on construction sites. Disregard of this rule may be found to have been the cause of the death of an Illinois roofer in a recent workplace accident.
Construction workers in Illinois often face life-threatening hazards on the job. It is the responsibility of all business owners to comply with federal safety regulations designed to prevent workplace injuries. It is also the employers' responsibility to monitor employee compliance with prescribed safety precautions. A recent fatal construction worker injury is currently under investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to determine the cause of an employee's death.
While safety harnesses could be life-saving devices, they could be dangerous under certain circumstances. Falls from heights are high on the list of frequently reported workplace accidents in Illinois and other states. When a safety harness arrests a fall, leaving the victim suspended for too long can have devastating consequences.
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.
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.
Whenever workers on foot share their work areas with forklifts, the chances of tragedies exist. The dangers of such circumstances were underscored by the recent death of a worker at the construction site of a suburban reservoir in Illinois. A 55-year-old carpenter died when a forklift struck him, causing a fatal workplace injury.
When two similar on-the-job accidents occur on the same Illinois job site within days, it seems clear that the employer has disregarded the safety of employees. By addressing the safety hazard after one employee suffered a workplace injury on Nov. 3, the death of another worker might have been prevented. Sadly, this was not the case, and one family now has to cope with the sudden death of a loved one.
Last month, the Illinois Supreme Court issued a ruling that highlights the types of legal challenges an injured worker can face in seeking to hold a third-party liable for workplace injuries.