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Lake County Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Why young workers are at high risk of injury in summer jobs

If your high school or college student is one of the millions of young people who will be spending a considerable portion of their summer working, you should know that their chances of suffering an injury on the job might be higher than those of adult, full-time employees they may be working alongside.

In part, that's because of inadequate supervision and safety training, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Sometimes, this supervision and training are lacking even when young workers are operating equipment that can be dangerous.

How construction workers can help prevent heat-related illnesses

Construction work always involves risk to the safety and health of people in that profession. However, the summer months bring additional dangers -- particularly to those who work outside.

Summer in Illinois means a boom in construction work that can't be done during our cold, snowy winters. However, Illinois summers can be brutally hot and humid. That heat is not just uncomfortable. It can be dangerous.

How safe will you be at the site of your summer job?

The end of the school year is around the corner, and if you are one the thousands of Illinois teenagers who will take on your first summer job soon, you could probably benefit from learning about potential safety hazards and how to mitigate them. Employers are responsible for the safety and health of all workers by providing safe work environments that are free of known hazards. When it comes to workers who are inexperienced and new to the workplace, additional rules apply.

If you use the services of a staffing agency to find your summer job, your safety most likely becomes the responsibility of both the staffing agency and the host employer. Along with federal and state laws that restrict work hours and job types of workers who are younger than 18, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration prescribes safety standards with which to comply. Safety authorities note that this is the ideal opportunity to have first-line supervisors influence the work ethics and habits of young workers positively.

Driver who struck construction worker facing DUI, other charges

As we've discussed here before, construction workers whose jobs put them on Illinois' roads have among the most dangerous lines of work around. Aside from the risks that all construction workers face, they're also at the mercy of drivers who may be under the influence, distracted or simply frustrated that the road work is interfering with their ability to get where they're going on time.

Last month, a worker was struck and injured by a driver in a construction zone on River Road near Rosemont. He was hospitalized, but the lower extremity injuries he suffered were not life-threatening.

Study looks at factors that increase the risk of mining injuries

It probably seems obvious that people are at increased risk of injury on the job when they work for long hours with few or no breaks. Fatigue and the impairment of certain motor skills are just two factors that contribute to injury risk after hours on the job. However, a recently published study from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) sheds a little more light on the conditions that often accompany long shifts -- specifically for miners.

Researchers studied over 545,000 Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) injury reports from 1983 through 2015. They found that 9.6% of the injuries were suffered by miners who had been working a shift of at least nine hours.

Why are rural workers more likely to get opioids than urban ones?

Anyone who is prescribed an opioid for pain after a workplace injury needs to be aware that they can be highly addictive. The opioid crisis in this country has many doctors taking new precautions when prescribing and renewing prescriptions for these powerful painkillers.

However, a recently released study from the Workers' Compensation Research Institute found that people who live in rural areas are more likely to be prescribed an opioid after suffering a workplace injury than those in urban areas. The independent group, which conducts research for employers, insurance companies and labor unions, looked at injuries in 27 states, including here in Illinois.

Meat processing plants pose many hidden hazards

Meatpacking facilities nationwide, including Illinois, are hazardous work environments. Even after improvement, employees in this industry continue to suffer a variety of on-the-job injuries. If you work in such a facility, you might be smart to learn about all the potential injury risks and take precautions.

The hazards start with threats posed by animals before the stunning process, by the stun gun, or while hoisting 2,000-pound carcasses. Crippling back, wrist, hand and arm injuries seem to be par for the course on the processing line, and so are cuts and lacerations. Cleaning solvents and heat-sealing machines can cause burns, and improper lockout/tagout procedures can lead to severed hands or fingers, not to mention the fall risks on slippery floors.

Home care workers face unique injury, abuse risks

As our country's population ages, more and more people require some type of ongoing medical care or at least assistance with aspects of daily living. Increasingly, people are hiring home health care providers so that they can continue to live in the familiarity and comfort of their own homes rather than move to a nursing home or assisted living community.

Many home care workers are nurses. Others are social workers. They have a variety of backgrounds, training and licenses. In 2016, some 5 million Americans were cared for by providers working for approximately 12,400 home health agencies.

Filing claims and appeals after an injury at work

Injuries at work are difficult to cope with because you might want to continue working, but you may not be able to. One thing that injured workers need to remember is that they are going to have to take care of themselves so that they don't exacerbate the injury. This is often a challenge, especially when others are counting on you to be there for them. Teacher or nurses, for example, might have a real internal struggle about having to leave work for medical care.

We know that you didn't intend to suffer an injury at work. Unfortunately, these things happen, and you just have to do what is best for you at the time. You might need to go to the emergency, but you may be able to make an appointment with your doctor or visit an urgent care center. Make sure that you do have an official diagnosis and that you understand the treatment plan so that you know what is going on.

Appellate court rules against injured worker

The Illinois workers' compensation program helps injured workers to receive the medical care that they need to heal from their work-related injuries. There are other facets of the program that are also available to some beneficiaries. These depend on their circumstances. Workers have specific requirements for the program. A recent ruling by an Illinois appellate court highlights this.

The case at the heart of the ruling involved a man who worked for more 30 years for a beverage distribution company. He suffered a back injury when he was stocking a cooler in 2011. This injury was a turning point in his career. He wasn't able to return to work because the injury exacerbated a degenerative condition that multiple doctors noted was common with age.

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Hannigan & Botha, Ltd.
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Mundelein, IL 60060-2473

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