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.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently called on all business owners, including those in Illinois, with employees that are required to enter trenches to review the safety protocols related to excavations. This followed the death of a worker who suffered a fatal work injury when a trench collapsed in a neighboring state. OSHA came down hard on the employer because the agency found similar safety violations at another site of the same company within a month of the fatality.
Groups of opponents to the proposed fracking in Illinois made their concerns known at a recent meeting at the offices of Carbondale Township. Their primary concern is the associated risk of exposure to radioactive material that hydraulic fracturing is said to bring about. Not only will it be a source of potentially serious incidents of work injury for those who will be employed at the proposed sites but may also be a health threat to surrounding communities.
Illinois workers in the construction or manufacturing industries might be surprised to learn that hospital workers face higher risks of suffering workplace injuries than they do. The truth is that hospitals are far more dangerous workplace environments with multiple sources of safety hazards that can cause work injury. Concerned parties say this should be a significant reason for action among leaders in the medical and nursing industries.
Workplace accidents are prevalent in all industries nationwide, including in Illinois. Many workers likely know that anybody can suffer a work injury at any time, and only compliance with safety regulations can protect them. However, sometimes lives are lost without witnesses, and investigators have to piece together evidence to form a picture of the circumstances that caused a fatality.