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Joliet workers’ comp lawyer for independent contractorsIn January of this year, the Department of Labor – still under the Trump administration – announced a final rule under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) clarifying the standard for determining whether a worker is an employee versus an independent contractor. The standard that was created by this rule gave a significant amount of control to employers to classify workers as independent contractors, making it difficult for those employees to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits and other benefits the federal government requires under the FLSA. That rule went into effect on March 6, 2021.

With a new administration comes new standards, and the Department of Labor – now under President Biden – recently announced that rule is being withdrawn in order to protect employees and give them the benefits they are entitled to. The effective date of withdrawal was May 6, 2021.

The Independent Contractor Rule

Under the final rule, which was fully supported by the national business community, there were two factors that determined if a worker was an employee or an independent contractor. These were:

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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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