Many different occupations require workers to operate dangerous equipment. As a result, organizations such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration work to ensure that employer's uphold certain safety standards in order the safeguard the health and well-being of employees. Unfortunately accidents can still happen. Workers in Illinois and other states across the country who are a victim of a workplace accident could face financial difficulties if it weren't for state laws requiring workers' compensation coverage. One man will likely greatly benefit from such coverage after a horrific accident has left him with an uncertain physical and financial future.
The 23-year-old man is an employee of Swanson Bark and Wood Products Co. Reports indicate that he was operating a machine similar to a wood chipper when a piece of wood became lodged. He climbed above the machine to take a closer look when he fell in. A co-worker, unaware that he was inside the machine, engaged the blades. Another employee heard the man's screams, and the machine was switched off.
Although the blades were only engaged for a few seconds, the man suffered several serious injuries including a collapsed lung and several broken ribs, bruised organs as well as a broken pelvis and knee among others. At this time, his family is unsure if he will ever be able to walk again. Speaking from his hospital bed, the injured man has stated that he is simply lucky to be alive.
The man will likely face a lengthy hospital stay and long term rehabilitation and recovery, creating expensive medical bills. Additionally, it is unclear when the man might be able to work again, if ever, resulting in lost wages. The workers' compensation coverage required by the states such as Illinois in the event of a workplace accident will likely cover these and other expenses. However, laws regarding such coverage are sometimes complicated, making it difficult for people who don't have a lot of experience with the procedures governing them to obtain the compensation to which they are entitled in a timely manner.
Source: Reuters, Washington state man survives bone-crushing trip into wood chipper-like machine, Laila Kearney, Jan. 30, 2014