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Lake County Workers' Compensation Law Blog

What are ways to prevent forklift accidents?

How dangerous is a moving forklift? According to Prolift, the average weight of a forklift is nine thousand pounds, plus a forklift can reach speeds of six to twelve miles per hour. However, since forklifts often work in the vicinity of Illinois pedestrians, this machine can present a life threatening hazard to a person who is not aware of a forklift's presence. Proper safety measures, however, can help prevent a tragic accident.

OSHA points out that when a forklift approaches a pedestrian, the pedestrian possesses the right of way. For this reason, a forklift driver should take all possible measures to alert the pedestrian of the forklift's presence, including slowing the forklift's velocity and pressing on the horn. There are also occasions when a forklift approaches a place where a pedestrian may emerge into the forklift's path. The lift driver should take the same precautions. If a visible pedestrian does not appear to heed the forklift's presence, the forklift driver should halt the vehicle.

One-Fourth of Small Businesses Don't Have Workers' Comp

In Illinois, if you own a business and have even a single employee, you are required to have workers' compensation insurance. However, the high cost of workers' comp coverage results in some small-business owners not purchasing coverage.

That's unwise. Businesses face serious risk if they do not carry workers' comp insurance. For starters, there are potential penalties. A business owner can be fined $500 for every day an employee goes without workers' comp coverage. In Illinois, willfully failing to obtain workers' compensation is felony.

What are ways to help workers lift heavy objects?

In an Illinois workplace where you handle heavy objects and loads, in many instances it is a bad call to try and move something by yourself. Even if you understand how to properly lift a heavy object, some loads are simply too much for your arms alone. Attempting to lift such loads can injure your back and put you on the mend for a long time. That is why workplaces should equip their workers with tools and vehicles that can cut down the risk of workplace injury.

The website for Creative Safety Supply advises workers to reinforce their bodies with weight belts. These belts offer more support to your lower back and decrease the possibility of pulling a back muscle. You can also attach a lifting strap to the object for added support. This helps especially if the object is awkwardly shaped and does not provide an easy grip for the human hand.

What are the most common workplace accidents?

When you go to work, the last thing on your mind is probably having an accident. However, there are many people at work every day to ensure that you are kept safe on the job in Illinois. Still, despite these attempts, accidents still happen. According to Arbill, there are some workplace accidents that are more prevalent than others, and they can occur regardless of what type of work you do.

Some accidents happen mainly in high-risk professions, such as construction or manufacturing. Some of these include machinery injuries, such as being caught in a machine or struck by a moving part, and fires or explosions. These accidents often occur due to malfunctions, which can usually be avoided through proper inspections, and not following safety measures. 

How many of your co-workers are robots?

How do you feel about sharing your Illinois workspace with a robot? Does it threaten your safety and job security? Until recently, most industrial robots had massive automated arms for jobs like painting, assembly or welding, and they were in the confines of cages because they were dangerous and unable to sense human presence. However, with rapid technological progress, the picture looks different. Modern robots can work side-by-side with humans, and safety authorities say they can prevent musculoskeletal and repetitive strain injuries.

A National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health scientist at the recently established Center for Occupational Robotics Research says they call the newer versions professional service robots. He says they can collaborate with their human colleagues in a variety of industries.

Listen up! Your hearing may be at risk on the job

Like many in Illinois, you likely spent most of your life waking up to the sound of an alarm clock. Lately, you may have programmed a louder sound into the alarm on your mobile device, or maybe you are one of those people for whom the birds outside your window are your call to greet the day.

Throughout the day, the many sounds you hear and take for granted include the sound of your spouse welcoming you home from work, the voices of your grandchildren asking you to play and the familiar notes of a favorite song on the radio as you drive to your job. Lately, however, those sounds are fading away, and your job may be to blame.

Signs that your assembly line work may be causing you injury

Illinois is home to various manufacturing companies where assembly line work is a mainstay of production. Perhaps you work at the very same company your parents or grandparents worked at years ago. Overall, you've been quite satisfied with your job. It is steady income, puts food on your table, and you have the same shift each week, so it allows you to have structure and routine at home.

The only problem is that you're experiencing symptoms that make you worry about whether you'll be able to continue your duties. As an assembly line worker, you're at risk for an injury known as carpal tunnel syndrome. If your symptoms align with those listed as common for this condition, you may want to further investigate the matter by seeking medical attention. If a doctor diagnoses you with carpal tunnel (or some other repetitive strain condition) you'll want to immediately notify your employer. The good news is that support is available.

Did your work make you sick? You could claim certain benefits.

When Illinois workers experience an injury at work, they know that they could have a valid claim to workers' compensation benefits. However, you could have a claim to this type of financial support if your work made you sick. Just as workplace injuries can be valid reasons to seek these types of benefits, occupational diseases can be as well.

If you believe that your job made you sick or that you faced exposure to toxic elements because of your job, eventually causing sickness, you could have a rightful claim. You would be wise to take quick action to protect your interests, which could include seeking guidance as you work to navigate the claims process and seek the benefits you deserve.

Better ergonomics may prevent musculoskeletal injuries

When you think of on-the-job injuries, you may think of the catastrophic injuries suffered by a construction worker who falls from scaffolding or the logger who mishandles a saw. Your aches and pains may not seem so severe compared to those. While it may be true that you are less likely to suffer a potentially fatal injury in your line of work, that doesn't mean your injury is not painful or that your suffering is any less important.

If you wake up in the morning with back pain, sore shoulders or aching hands, you may find it difficult to complete the normal routine to get ready for your workday. Of course, once you are on the job, that pain is likely to get worse, especially if your job is causing the pain in the first place. Without proper care and medical attention, you may eventually be unable to work at all.

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

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