January 13, 2010

Workers in Certain Industries Face High Risks of Injuries and Death on the Job

Every year, thousands workers are killed during accidents that occur on the job. Hopefully, their families were entitled to death benefits through employers’ workers’ compensation plans. An injured worker and his/her family cannot sue an employer for personal injury, but the employee is usually entitled to Illinois work injury benefits regardless of who or what was the cause of the work accident.

With help of data from the Department of Labor, Forbes.com compiled a list of the most dangerous jobs in America for 2008. Included in the list:

• Fishing-related jobs. 50 fishing workers died in 2008. Dangerous weather, rough seas, and logistical challenges that can make it impossible to get help during emergency situations contribute to the high death risk these workers face in their line of work.

• 82 Logging workers died from work injuries. Faulty cutting equipment and falling trees were two common causes of logging deaths.

• 90 pilots aircraft pilots died in plane crashes and other work accidents.

• There were 37 structural iron and steel worker death. Common causes of worker fatalities included welding accidents, working at elevated heights, and working with heavy materials.

• 317 rancher and farmer deaths occurred. Heavy machinery hazards is the number one work danger for farm workers and ranchers.

• Traffic, dangerous materials, and heavy equipment are common reasons for recyclable and refuse material collector injuries. 31 workers died in 2008.

• 69 roofer deaths. Hot weather and the hazards of working at elevated heights are two of the most common work dangers for employees in this profession.

• 35 electrical power-line repairer and installer deaths. Electricity and working at elevated heights are two of the most common dangers these workers face.

• 815 trucker deaths. Traffic and fatigue were the two most common causes.

• 69 taxi driver and chauffer deaths. Navigating through traffic is the drivers’ number one work hazard.

Overall, transportation accidents was the most common cause of worker death. 2,053 workers died in vehicle-related crashes. 923 workers died from equipment accidents and objects-related injuries.

Regardless of your profession or the risks involved with doing your job, work accidents and illnesses do happen. An experienced Chicago, Illinois workers’ compensation law firm can make sure you receive all of the benefits that your employer’s insurer owes you.

Fishermen, loggers have most dangerous jobs, MSNBC, September 8, 2009

In Pictures: America's Deadliest Jobs, Forbes, August 26, 2009

Related Web Resources:

US Department of Labor

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

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November 5, 2009

Chicago Work Accident: Flagger Dies From Truck Accident Injuries Sustained in Highway Construction Zone

A construction worker died on Saturday in a highway work zone. According to Chicago Ridge police, flagger Joseph Bartkowiaki was fatally injured when a gravel truck that was heading for Crowley-Sheppard Asphalt hit him. Joseph Bartkowiaki worked for the company. Stanislaw Wdowikowski, also 56, was driving the gravel truck.

Bartkowiaki was directing traffic in an area were the company was repaving the street. Wdowikowski says he thought that the flagger was directing him to go forward, but witnesses say that wasn’t the case.

The truck driver struck the construction worker. He stopped his large truck when he heard people yelling at him. Wdowikowski backed up too far, striking Bartkowiaki again.

Police cited the truck driver for failing to stop for a flagger.

The National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse reports that there were 31 Illinois motor vehicle crashes in construction/maintenance zones in 2008. Workzonesafety.org is reporting 5 Illinois road construction site deaths for that year.

In some cases, the victim is a motor vehicle occupant. In other instances, the victim is a construction worker who was doing a job in the work zone.

The parties in charge of the construction/maintenance zone must implement that all safety precautions are in place to decrease the chances of a worker getting injured or a motor vehicle accident happening. Failure to exercise this duty of care can be grounds for a Chicago injury lawsuit. Construction workers injured on the job are likely entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits.

Common causes of construction zone accidents:

• Distracted drivers
• Equipment and machinery defects
• Poor barricade placement
• Warning signs that are not easily visible
• Inadequate worker training
• Machinery accidents
• Motor vehicle accidents

Construction worker dies in accident, Southtown Star, November 1, 2009

Construction worker struck and killed by truck, Chicago Breaking News, October 31, 2009

Related Web Resources:
WorkZoneSafety.org (PDF)

Federal Highway Administration

Continue reading "Chicago Work Accident: Flagger Dies From Truck Accident Injuries Sustained in Highway Construction Zone" »

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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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July 10, 2009

Chicago Construction Accident: Illinois Drunk Driver Pins Worker Between Two Motor Vehicles in Work Zone Area

A Chicago construction worker has been rushed to an Oak Lawn hospital after he was struck by a drunk driver in a construction work zone. The Illinois construction accident occurred today on the Bishop Ford Freeway close to Dolton.

The Chicago work accident took place in a protected work zone on I-94 at around 4:15 am when a 1998 Cadillac pinned the worker to a construction van. The worker sustained two broken legs. The driver of the Cadillac suffered head injuries and was taken to a Harvey hospital.

According to Illinois State Police Chicago Master Sgt. Todd Borisey, the construction worker and the work zone were clearly visible to the motorist, and the cones on the roadway made it clear that there was a protected work zone in the area. The drive could be charged with violating Scott’s Law, which increases penalties if a driver does not yield to emergency vehicles or causes injury to service personnel or public safety workers at roadside emergency scenes.

While construction zones are often marked so that motorists can avoid causing injury to workers, many drivers unfortunately do not realized that they are in a road work area and they need to drive carefully so that no one gets hurt. Just last month, Arnold Placensia, another construction worker, was repairing potholes when a motorist who was driving at a high speed struck him. Placensia died from his injuries as did the driver, Nancy Richards, who struck a large piece of construction equipment after hitting him.

Construction workers injured in work zones are entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation. In addition to workers’ compensation benefits, the injured worker or the family of a deceased construction worker may be able to file a Chicago personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against a liable motorist, subcontractor, or another negligent party.

Drunk driver strikes construction worker on Bishop Ford, Chicago Sun-Times, July 10, 2009

Construction worker, driver killed in suspected DUI, The Modesto Bee, June 12, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Scott's Law

Work Zone Mobility and Safety Programs, Federal Highway Adminstration

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November 3, 2008

Illinois Construction Worker and Semi-Truck Driver are Injured in Illinois Motor Vehicle Accident

In Illinois, a Wheeling construction worker suffered serious injuries after he was hit by an SUV on Route 45, just outside Vernon Hills. Felipe Ibarra is being treated at Condell Medical Center in Libertyville for head injuries.

The accident happened on Tuesday morning at the Majestic Pines division. A flagger was directing traffic so that a semi-truck could back into the construction site entrance when 17-year-old Jessica Wells struck Ibarra with her GMC Yukon XL. She also struck the truck. The truck driver, Chicago resident Juan Muro, was treated at Condell for non-life threatening injuries.

Wells was charged with driving with an obstructed windshield, failing to stop for a flagger, and failing to reduce speed to avoid an accident. She was not injured in the accident.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act
In Illinois, employers must pay their injured workers two-thirds of their regular income, tax-free, while they take time off from work to recover. Injured employees are also entitled to full medical coverage. Also, depending on the nature and extent of injuries, an employer's insurer must provide benefits for permanent and temporary disabilities—both total and partial.

Unfortunately, employees and their insurance companies do not always deal with injured workers in a fair manner. The best way to ensure that you get all of the benefits that you and your family are owed is to speak with a knowledgeable Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer who can advocate for your rights.

Construction worker hit by SUV, Suburban Chicago News.com, October 29, 2008

Related Web Resources:

Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

Illinois Workers' Compensation Act, Illinois General Assembly

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