Illinois workers in all industries might be concerned about their safety when they learn about the recorded number of occupational injuries and deaths. According to the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, more than 6,000 on-the-job accidents occurred nationwide in 2017, and the annual death toll apparently exceeds one million. However, every single work-related accident can likely be avoided by taking only a few safety precautions.
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.
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.
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.
Tragedy recently struck Illinois when a natural gas pipeline exploded at a farm. Two workers were tragically killed in the work\-related accident, and two others suffered serious injuries. The explosion also caused a serious fire that took several hours to get under control.
Roadwork can be frustrating for drivers, and understandably so, as traffic is often reduced to fewer lanes and speed limits are lowered. However, these measures are put in place to protect not only drivers and their passengers, but the men and women tasked with carrying out the construction work. An Illinois construction worker recently suffered a serious injury when he was hit by an SUV while on the job.
Many people envision the workplace as a building filled with desks and computers, but this is only one, narrow view of what some places of employment look like. Some are large factories while others might be the dining room of a restaurant. Some are at the bottom of a trench, like the site of a recent work\-related accident in Illinois.
Employees in the health care industry nationwide, including in Illinois, often face life-threatening situations in carrying out their duties. The prevalence of violent attacks by patients in hospitals and other health care settings is a matter of grave concern. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says almost three-quarters of reported workplace assaults causing serious injury from 2011 through 2013 occurred in health care facilities.
The chief executive of the National Safety Council says impairment threatens the safety of workers nationwide, including in Illinois. Not alcohol or drug impairment, but the type brought about by a lack of rest or enough sleep to restore the proper functioning of the body. The executive says sufficient rest is the one thing that can prevent workplace accidents. In a recent survey of 2,000 workers, organized by the Council, more than one in four workers admitted to being at risk of suffering a work injury due to lack of sleep.
Hospitals across Illinois took note of the increased presence of workplace violence after a recent shooting incident in a hospital in another state. One doctor lost his life in that incident, and five other individuals were injured. The threat of suffering a work injury is part of the everyday life of every nurse, and authorities are working on establishing protocols to prevent violent incidents in health care facilities.