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Joliet, IL construction site injury attorney for workers’ compIt may come as a surprise to many people that the most dangerous jobs are in the construction industry. Despite only making up approximately 5 percent of the country’s workforce, construction industry accidents are responsible for more than 20 percent of all work-related deaths each year. Recent studies show that these numbers have continued to increase on a yearly basis.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has identified the “Construction Focus Four” as the top causes of construction worker injuries and deaths:

  • Falls

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Joliet workers' compensation lawyerThe coronavirus pandemic has affected the world in many ways, causing a global health and economic crisis. After taking office this year, President Joe Biden signed several executive orders that addressed COVID-19 worker protections. As of now, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) protocols outlined in the executive orders are guidelines, but it is expected that these guidelines will soon become enforceable. Some of President Biden’s directives to OSHA were concerning COVID-19 guidelines and another was to potentially implement emergency temporary standards to address the hazards that employees face in the workplace. If these guidelines become standards, they will then be enforceable. The executive order stated that the deadline to make these changes is March 15, 2021. Workers may wonder how these guidelines may affect workers’ compensation claims if they suffer a COVID-related illness while on the job. 

Keeping Workers Safe

Employers should take steps to protect workers who are at higher risks due to underlying medical conditions. It is important that companies train employees on their COVID-19 policies and procedures and that they are easily accessible.

Several of the current OSHA-recommended COVID-19 guidelines for employers state that employers should do the following: 

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Joliet workers compensation lawyersFollowing an injury at work, you may find yourself worrying about the time—and wages—lost at work, on top of the physical effects you will have to deal with. Even small injuries on the job can turn your whole life upside down, making simple daily tasks appear extraordinary.

Accidental injury can occur at any time, to even the most diligent workers, and the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission recorded nearly 38,000 injuries between 2015 and 2016. Topping the list was the category “Overexertion and bodily reaction,” representing an astonishing 40 percent of all recorded injuries. However, it might not always be readily apparent what types of injuries fall into this category of overexertion and bodily reaction. Below is an explanation of this type of workplace injury and how it applies to seeking workers’ compensation benefits.  

Does My Injury Fall into This Category?

The name “Overexertion and bodily reaction” is not really descriptive enough for a category which applies to more than one third of injured workers and might leave you confused after your workplace injury.

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Joliet workers compensation attorneysConstruction jobs can be more dangerous than other types of jobs due to the nature of the work. For example, construction workers often operate heavy machinery to perform their duties, sometimes at extreme heights on scaffolding. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are approximately 150,000 construction site accident injuries every year in the United States. The reasons for injury can range from improperly maintained equipment, inadequate training, or hazardous workplace conditions. Although some injuries may be minor, others can be debilitating, requiring surgery, physical therapy, or extensive rehabilitation. In some cases, a person may be unable to return to work in the construction field. Workers’ compensation benefits can alleviate some of the medical costs incurred after a work injury. However, in certain situations, a negligent third party could be held responsible for your injury as well. 

Professional Hazards

Although the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers at construction sites to follow certain safety procedures, accidents can still happen. For example, if an employee falls from a ladder, he or she can sustain traumatic brain injury (TBI), a broken leg or arm, and possibly paralysis. Heat-related injuries can occur when working in high temperatures or humidity without adequate hydration or breaks. In the event electrical equipment malfunctions, an explosion can occur, resulting in significant burns or damage to a person’s eyesight and/or hearing. 

Some of the more common injuries construction workers may suffer on the job include:  

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Will County workers compensation attorneysThere is no doubt that certain jobs are more dangerous than others are. For example, a police officer faces the potential for physical injury on a daily basis, while an office or factory worker would not experience the same kinds of risks. However, workplace accidents can occur in any field of work. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) establishes standards and rules that detail the methods that employers must use to protect their employees from dangers and hazardous conditions. OSHA standards regulate construction work, maritime operations, and general industries. Regardless of the type of industry or injury, Illinois employees are generally entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if they are hurt on the job.  

Common OSHA Violations

Even though OSHA falls under the U.S. Department of Labor, which is a federally regulated agency, employers or workers sometimes ignore or cut corners on safety standards. According to OSHA and the National Safety Council’s Safety + Health magazine, a few examples of commonly cited OSHA violations include failures related to:

  • Fall protection
  • Control/containment of hazardous materials
  • Scaffolding
  • Respiratory protection
  • Ladders
  • Machine guarding
  • Eye and face protection
  • Powered industrial trucks

The lack of adequate training or maintenance can impact the chances of an accident. In addition, faulty or defective equipment can cause a workplace injury. For instance, if an employer does not provide handrails on elevated platforms, a worker could lose his or her balance and fall. 

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