Federal and state safety authorities require employers to mitigate all known safety hazards to protect the health and safety of employees, regardless of the industry. However, known risks are sometimes overlooked, and the consequences can be devastating. Such was the case earlier this month when an Illinois worker suffered a head injury that led to his death.
Many of the millions of occupational injuries that occur nationwide each year are caused by hazards deemed insignificant. While each workplace in Illinois might have unique hazards, some common work injury risks exist in all facilities, from kitchens to offices, factories, construction sites and more. Safety authorities say a significant percentage of injuries can be avoided if employers and employees familiarize themselves with these dangers and stay alert to identify and mitigate them.
Employers must provide work environments that will protect the health and safety of employees. This is a significant responsibility for business owners in Illinois who offer snow and ice removal services. These activities pose serious injury hazards, particularly if the jobs involve working on roofs, and employers need to plan such projects with care after considering all potential risks.
Grain facilities nationwide, including Illinois, pose many safety hazards. One of the life-threatening dangers at these facilities involve the risks of grain dust fires and explosions. The Illinois based global food processing corporation, ADM, is currently the subject of an Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigation. This inquiry follows a fatal work-related accident that killed one person and injured another at one of the company's grain processing facilities.
In Chicago, January means extreme cold with icy winds and snow. Winter weather in Illinois makes workers in all industries more susceptible to be victims of occupational injuries. A weather-related work injury is not limited to those who work outdoors, and it can even occur indoors.
Employers in Illinois and across the country must protect employees from harm in the workplace. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration prescribes regulations for all industries, and compliance can prevent any work-related accident. However, many workers are exposed to life-threatening hazards every day because their employers fail to provide work environments that are free of known dangers.
The police department of an Illinois village reported its response to an emergency when a landscape worker suffered workplace injuries. Officers from the village's public safety department also rushed to the scene to attend to the worker who suffered a head injury. According to an incident report, it was a construction-related accident that occurred on a recent Wednesday.
With the rapid advancement in robotics, more and more workers in Illinois and elsewhere find themselves sharing their work areas with robots. The existing safety standards to prevent robot-related work injury are being reviewed and updated. Along with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the National Safety and Health Institute and the American National Standards Institute play roles in regulating the safety of industrial equipment and the use of robotics.
More and more business owners in Illinois recognize the benefits of ergonomics in workplaces. It is becoming clear that ergonomic changes can reduce the costs of work injury-related sprains and strains, and bring about direct and indirect savings linked to improved productivity. It was recently reported that ergonomic changes could even benefit forklift operators.
An investigative report on the prevalence of occupational injuries in the chicken processing industry in Illinois and other states recently revealed that under-reporting remains to be a concerning matter. Many workers fear retaliation for reporting a work injury, and those injuries that are reported are often not recorded. Workers in this industry work long shifts with few breaks, performing repetitive motions for hours on end.