February 9, 2010

A Reminder from Our Chicago, Illinois Workers’ Compensation Lawyers To Take Preventive Steps to Prevent Overuse and Repetitive Strain Injuries

While spending hours on the computer at work may seem like a harmless, danger-free activity, people who sit in front of a monitor while their fingers press they keyboard or click the mouse can lead to cumulative, painful, debilitating injuries if they are not careful. Back pain, neck soreness, tingling up and down the arms, finger cramps, spinal disc injuries, shoulder soreness, tennis elbow, repetitive strain, and carpal tunnel syndrome are just some of the injuries that an office worker or anyone else who uses a computer can sustain.

Our Chicago, Illinois workers’ compensation lawyers would like to remind you to submit your work injury claim immediately anytime that you are injured on the job. Even if the injury is one that developed cumulatively, it is best to file your claim right away to prevent delays or give your employer’s insurer a reason to deny your claim or give you fewer benefits than what you are entitled to receive.

A Few Steps to Prevent Injuries When Using a Computer:

• Make sure your monitor is high enough that it at eye level in front of you.
• Don’t have it more than 30 inches away from you.
• Place your mouse close enough to your body that you don’t have to overreach.
• Make sure that your elbows are properly supported.
• When typing make sure that your forearms and upper arms are positioned at a 90 degree angle.
• If you are going to type while talking on the phone, use a headset.
• Consider using a padded wrist rest for your hand that holds the mouse.
• Make sure you use a chair that provides enough lumbar support.
• Keep your thighs parallel to the floor, knees and hips at the same level, and feet flat on the ground.

5 steps to keep you comfortable at your computer, Gloucester Times, February 19, 2010

Computer Workstation Ergonomics, CDC

Related Web Resources:
Office Ergonomics-Common Office Injuries, Web MD

Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

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November 19, 2009

Repetitive Motion Injuries Continue to be A Very Real Concern for Office and Store Workers

Millions of American workers may be at risk of repetitive motion injuries from doing their job. Typing on a computer keyboard, ringing up numbers on a cash register, and text messaging coworkers about work-related issues can take a toll after awhile, making the employee susceptible to musculoskeletal disorders, nerve damage, epicondylitis, bursitis, arthritis, trigger finger, tenosynovitis, neck injuries, shoulder injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, repetitive strain, back pain, visual fatigue, and other painful and debilitating injuries that can lead to permanent disabilities.

Unfortunately, in the rush to accomplish deliverables and meet deadlines, a worker may forget to make sure that he or she is positioned in an ergonomically correct manner when getting the job done. His or her employer also may not have provided the proper work set up and tools to minimize the chances of repetitive motion injuries.

Fortunately, most workers are entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits, which are supposed to guarantee employees injury benefits in the event of a work injury.

Repetitive strain injuries may sound like a mild condition but the damage they can cause to the body can be cumulative and serious. A worker with a severe repetitive motion disorder may have to undergo surgery, extensive physical therapy, and rehabilitation. If there is permanent physical damage, the worker may not be able to do his or her job at full capacity, which can result in lost wages.

Signs of repetitive motion disorders include:

• Numbness
• Pain
• Swelling
• Tingling
• Weakness in the affected body part
• Loss of flexibility

IIs your job a real pain? You can avoid aches and injuries at the office, Jacksonville.com, November 17, 2009

Repetitive Motion Disorders Information Page

Related Web Resources:
Typing Injuries Resources, LiveOffice.com

Repetitive Strain Injury

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November 2, 2009

OSHA’s 2009 Top 10 Safety Violations

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued its list of the 10 most common workplace safety violations for the year:

9,093 Scaffolding violations: Most common causes of scaffolding accidents involve the support or planking giving way or the employee slipping or getting hit by a falling object.

6,771 Fall Protection violations: Workers in the general industry working at a height of four feet or greater must be adequately protected. In the construction arena workers must be protected when working at six feet or higher.

6,378 Hazard Communication violations: Chemical makers and importers must evaluate the hazards of their products and develop safety data sheets and labels so that downstream clients are made aware of these hazards.

3,803 Respiratory Protection violations: Workers must be protected against dangerous dusts, smokes, fogs, gases, mists, sprays, vapors, and inadequate oxygen environments. Failure to do so can result in lung impairment, cancer, and other diseases. It can also lead to deaths.

3,321 Lockout-Tag Out violations: Employees must be protected from hazardous energy released during maintenance or service. They also must be protected from the unexpected activation of equipment and machinery.

3,079 Electrical Wiring Violations: Electricians, engineers, sales people, office workers, and other employees must be protected from the hazards of working directly or indirectly with electricity.

3,072 Ladder violations: Falls from ladders can result in traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and death. Fall accidents cause 8% of all occupational-related fatalities involving trauma.

2,993 Powered-Industrial Trucks violations: Tens of thousands of people are injured each year because of forklift accidents.

2,556 Electrical violations

2,364 Machine Guarding violations: Protecting workers from any part, process, or function that can injure or kill a worker.

Compared to same time period last year, the number of top 10 violations has gone up nearly 30%.

Regardless of who or what caused a work accident, most workers are entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits.

OSHA Reports on Top 10 Safety Violations for 2009, Reuters.PR Newswire, October 27, 2009

Related Web Resources:

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August 6, 2009

Protecting Workers From Office Injuries

While we commonly associate work injuries with jobs that require workers to engage in challenging physical labor or in dangerous environments, working in an office can also be a place rife with hazards that can lead to work injuries, including slip and fall injuries and electrical injuries.

If you were injured on the job, you need to contact your employer right away so that you can receive your Illinois workers’ compensation benefits as soon as possible. By speaking with an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorney, you can figure out the steps you need to take to make sure that you receive all of the work benefits owed to you.

Most Illinois employers are required to provide workers with workers’ compensation—it doesn’t matter who was at fault.

In the meantime, however, there are preventive measures that can be taken to minimize the chances of slip and fall or trip and fall accidents in the workplace which, according to OSHA, cause 15% of work-related fatalities:

• Make sure that any computer cables are shielded or placed in a location where no one can slip or trip over them.

• If necessary, lift cables, power strips, modems, and other devices off the ground.

• Not only can cable clutter on the ground prove to be a slip and trip hazard, but also it can cause electrical injuries if liquid spills are involved along with human contact.

• Make sure there are fire extinguishers and other safety measures in place. With so many electronic products running at the same time, you never know when a computer may overheat or a fire may break out.

• Consider installing traction floor mats to minimize slip and fall accidents.

• Wrap sharp edges and corners in duct tape or corrugated cardboard to prevent accidental cuts from happening.

In addition to fall injuries, examples of other common office injuries include:
• Injuries from lifting heavy loads or incorrectly lifting a heavy item.
• Injuries caused by bumping into objects or getting hit by falling objects.
• Injuries related to poor ergonomics.

Simple Solutions for Office Hazards, EHSToday.com, March 3, 2008

What are the Top Injuries in a Typical Office (and How Can You Avoid Them)?, SixWise.com

Related Web Resources:
Ergonomics Makes Your Office Work for You, AAPM & R


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January 30, 2009

Exploring Cumulative Trauma Injuries Caused by Work-Related Disorders

Cumulative trauma is a term used for a number of injuries that affect ligament structures, muscles, and tendons. This type of trauma can occur when the body is engaged in repetitive movements and/or is in static postures for extended periods of time.

Cumulative trauma usually impacts the head and upper areas of the body.

Examples of cumulative trauma:
• Overuse syndrome
• Cumulative trauma disorder
• Repetitive strain injury

Conditions that can result from cumulative trauma:
• Carpal tunnel syndrome
• Tennis elbow
• Trigger finger
• Golfer’s elbow
• Cervical syndrome
• Bursitis

Common causes of cumulative trauma:
• Use of excessive force when doing one’s job
• Working in a static posture for long periods of time
• Working at high speeds, such as when meeting deadlines in a newsroom or working as part of an assembly line
• High levels of psychological stress
• Fatigue affecting specific areas of the body

If you are suffering cumulative trauma as a result of your job, you are likely entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits. This can help you get the medical care that you need. You may need the help of an occupational therapist or another kind of expert who can give you the tools and information you need to improve your condition.

Cumulative Trauma Injury, Chiroweb.com

Facts about Cumulative Trauma Disorder

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January 28, 2009

Illinois Office Workers Can Get Injured on the Job

Even though office workers are generally not engaged in “dangerous” work, work accidents and injuries can occur on the job. Injured workers are usually entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation, as well as any third party compensation that may be owed by liable parties that are not the employee’s employer.

Common office injuries:
• Vision problems
• Back pain
• Hands and wrist strain
• Vision problems
• Carpal tunnel syndrome
• Fall accidents
• Slip accidents
• Electrical accidents
• Injuries while lifting or moving heavy objects
• Getting hit or bumping into stationary or moving objects

There are steps that workers can take to prevent injury accidents from occurring, such as making sure your desk space is ergonomically set up, assuming the correct posture when you pick up or carry anything, making sure that items or liquids that fall on the ground are cleared or mopped away.

There are also steps that employers can take to prevent minimize the chances that a work accident will happen, including properly maintaining office equipment, providing desk workers with the proper set up, making sure there are no slippery floors, fixing any loose carpet or faulty electrical cords, making sure hallways and stairwells are properly lit, and providing adequate security.

Regardless of who was at fault in causing your work accident, you are entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation.

What are the Top Injuries in a Typical Office (and How Can You Avoid Them)?, Sixwise.com

Preventing Accidents at Work, ES & H

Related Web Resource:
Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

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