Most workers think of themselves sustaining injury at their employers' facility; perhaps an employee is injured by a machine at a factory or an errant needle at a hospital. Workers who travel to external job sites are just as vulnerable to workplace accidents, however. This could include workers for the cable company, postal service or even maid services. A tragic incident in a Chicago high-rise shows the danger that can accompany off-site work, which still falls under the purview of occupational safety and health regulations.
Concerns over workplace safety are prevalent these days. Some believe that because of the technologies that many companies use, workplace accidents should happen less frequently. This is not the case. According to an expert in occupational safety and health from the International Organisation of Employers, about 2 million people die each year due to workplace accidents. This is a global statistic.
A study funded by the Center to Protect Workers' Rights recently found that white, non-Hispanic, workers in Illinois are regularly awarded more in workers' compensation claims than black and Hispanic workers. Researchers examined medical records from the Illinois Department of Public Health and workers' compensation data from the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission.
Injuries that occur while on the job often allow for employees to file workers' compensation claims. But when the injury is catastrophic or fatal, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration may come in to investigate the incident. That is what happened recently after a worker was involved in an accident that took his life.
When an employee is injured on the job, she or he should not feel obligated to keep the incident quiet. Any employer that projects such an environment may be held accountable if and when a workplace accident occurs, especially if the personal injury is seriously debilitating to the employee.
Employers and business owners are always trying to cut costs. Especially in this economy, trimming the budget can make the difference between keeping the doors open or closing down for good. But one thing that employers should never skimp on is employee safety. And a new study should be a wake-up call to Illinois employers and employees about how to reduce workplace accidents.
The U.S. Department of Labor recently announced that an investigation had determined that two employees of the Illinois Central Railroad who blew the whistle on injuries taking place in a rail yard were subjected to unlawful retaliation. Because employees have a right to report a workplace injury, the employer was ordered to pay each of them damages and lost wages.
An injury may not be obvious when a workplace accident occurs. The psychological effects of a traumatic on-the-job experience can take time to manifest and diagnose. That delay can conflict with Illinois workers' compensation and insurance rules that impose deadlines on applications for workers' compensation benefits' claims.
The director of the Illinois Department of Corrections recently accused guards at the Menard prison of filing fraudulent workers' compensation claims. Such claims are filed when an employee seeks compensation for a workplace accident.
Residents in Illinois likely know the dangerous nature of working on a bridge. A workplace accident can be compounded as workers labor near water and at great heights. This increases the likelihood of a workplace fatality.