New Study Gives Insight into How Body Reacts when Falling

Posted: November 21st, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Fall Injuries, Illinois workers comp, Ladder Fall Injury, Slip and Fall, Workers Compensation Insurance, Workplace Injury | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

workplace falling injury, Illinois workers compensation lawyerResearchers from Ohio State University recently conducted a study on how the human body moves by walking. The study, titled “A Step in the Right Direction” was published last month in the journal Biology Letters. The results of the study can help gain insight in how to prevent falls, which is one of the most common causes of workplace injuries.

The research team studied how people walk by watching them on a treadmill. There were 10 participants of the study, who were fitted with motion caption markers which tracked them as they walked on the treadmills. Participants were instructed to walk from a relaxed pace all the way to a pace of about two to three miles per hour.

As we walk, we put each foot at slightly different position with each step, in what appears to be random placement of our feet. But the researchers in this study were able to take the data gathered from the motion caption markers and come up with a mathematical model that can predict the placement of the next step over 80 percent of the time. These predictions can be made by watching the small variations in a person’s pelvis as they are walking.

As one of the researchers described it, each step we take as we walk is a balancing act to keep from going too far forward or too far sideways. Think of every step as a tiny fall in which we quickly regain stability. The method we use to take a step is a miniscule version of the larger moves our bodies make when we are losing our balance, such as in a fall.

The study team plans on continuing their research with more studies regarding the stability and control the human body uses in walking and hope to use their findings in possible aid in diagnosing and treating balance conditions.

According to another study, last year, falls were the second most common cause of workplace injuries. The cost of these falls is approximately $70 billion per year in medical costs and workers’ compensation. Some of the most common causes of falls include:

  • Floors that need to be repaired;
  • Spills;
  • Loose rugs or mats;
  • Weather hazards;
  • Inappropriate footwear; and
  • Lack of training for employees.

If you or a loved one has suffered a workplace injury, you need an experienced Illinois workers’ compensation attorney to represent you and make sure you receive the compensation you are entitled to under the law.


Neutral Risk and Worker’s Compensation

Posted: November 5th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Employer Liability, Illinois workers comp, Slip and Fall, Workers Comp | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

neutral risk workers compensation, Illinois workers comp attorneyJust what types of injuries are covered by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act (WCA) can be difficult to determine, especially if the injury or incident occurred on workplace premises. A recent ruling by an Illinois Appellate Court, 4th District, decided against the claimant in a workers’ compensation case, in which she fell while entering the workplace carrying baked goods for an office party.

The decision in Anderegg v. Kesler, Garman, Broughner & Townsley, P.C. was announced in August of this year, in response to the 2011 incident, according to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Law Bulletin (Vol. 22, Issue 11, Aug. 27, 2014).

The claimant, according to the Bulletin, is a legal secretary at the defendant’s law firm. In the summer of 2011, she was carrying two plastic containers of baked goods for an office party, and lost her balance on a stairway leading to the office. Because she lost her balance while attempting to not drop the baked goods, the claimant filed a workers’ compensation suit for an injury to her right arm.

Initially, the arbitrator denied benefits, ruling that the injury—while it did occur on the job—did not arise from her employment at the firm. This is especially true because while the claimant was carrying baked goods for the office, it was her own decision to bring in the treats; no supervisor of the co-worker had required her to do so.

Simply, this ruling sets a precedent that an employer cannot be held liable under workers’ compensation for an injury that occurs on workplace premises if the employee who was injured as no “exposed to a common risk to a greater degree than the general public,” stated to the Bulletin.

This is what is known as a neutral risk. Injuries that occur due to a neutral risk are not compensable by the WCA unless the employee was exposed to the risk disproportionately to the general public. If, for example, the secretary was required to bring baked goods and had tripped on the stairs primarily because she was carrying them in a hurry to get back by an unreasonably mandated time, she may have had a case for compensation under the WCA.

If you or someone you know is considering filing for workers’ compensation but are not sure whether or not you qualify for benefits, the most important step is to seek the counsel of a legal attorney. Contact an Illinois workers’ compensation lawyer today.


OSHA Announces New Reporting Regulations for Employers

Posted: October 29th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Illinois workers comp, OSHA Workplace Accident Regulations, Workers Comp, Workers compensation attorney | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

workplace accident OSHAThe Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued new, stricter regulations for companies to file reports when there is a workplace accident. OSHA is the federal agency that oversees the enforcement of the safety and health of all employees in this country.

The new regulations will go into effect on January 1, 2015. One of the changes that OSHA is implementing is the requirement that companies now report accidents where a fatality has occurred. The new rule requires managers to file a detailed report within eight hours of the accident. Under the current regulations, companies are only required to file a report with OSHA if there are three or more employees killed in a workplace accident.

Reporting requirements for workplace accidents where an employee suffers amputation, the loss of an eye, or has severe enough injuries that require in-patient hospitalization have also been changed. Under the current rules, companies are only required to report these types of workplace accidents if again, just like workplace fatalities, three or more employees are affected. The new regulation now requires companies to file a detailed report with OSHA within 24 hours of any accident which results in these types of injuries to an employee.

OSHA’s announcement of regulation changes came just days after the Bureau of Labor Statistics released their report, 2013 National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, which reveals that there were 4,405 employees who were killed on the job last year. U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez stressed that on the job accidents which injure or kill employees are “absolutely preventable” and the goal of the new regulations is to “hold employees accountable for preventing” these accidents.

Dr. David Michaels, the assistant secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, pointed out that serious accidents and fatalities are indicators of serious issues at a company. “Hospitalizations and amputations are sentinel events, indicating that serious hazards are likely to be present at a workplace and that an intervention is warranted to protect the other workers at the establishment,” he said.

If you or a loved one has suffered a workplace injury, you need an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorney to represent you and make sure you receive the compensation you are entitled to under the law.

 

 


New Rules for Communications Tower Workers

Posted: October 8th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Illinois workers comp, OSHA Workplace Accident Regulations | Tags: , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

communication tower worker safety, Chicago workers compensation lawyerThe Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently issued new regulations for its Communications Tower directive. The new updates focuses on hoist systems which are used to move workers to and from workstations located on communication towers.

The instructions were issued among growing concern over the spike of fatalities that have occurred at communications tower sites. There was twice the number of fatalities in 2013 as there were in the combined years of 2011 and 2012. Thirteen people were killed in communications tower work accidents last year. As of July of this year, there have already been 9 people killed in accidents.

According to OSHA, the mortality rate of communications tower employees is 25 times more than the average American worker. In February of this year, the agency sent letters to all communication workers, urging them to follow the strict guidelines that have been put in place for their protection. The letter outlined how critical it is for tower workers to be provided with proper training in safe work practices. The letter also cited the importance of workers to have the proper equipment, as well as training in the correct way to use that equipment.

In 2002, OSHA issued a directive regarding the correct way to use hoist and other fall arrest systems. This directive also included instructions on how to hoist and move workers safely. However, the directive only covered workers who were in the process of erecting new communication towers, but not for maintenance on existing towers. The new directive addresses workers who are working on either existing or new communication towers.

In a statement announcing the new rules, Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health said, “This directive ensures that communication tower workers are protected regardless of the type of the work they are doing on communication towers. Employers and cell tower owners and operators must make sure workers are properly trained and protected.”

If you or someone in your family has been injured on the job, contact an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorney to find out what civil recourse you may have for compensation for pain and loss you have suffered.


Teens More Likely to be Injured on the Job

Posted: September 17th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Construction Accident, Employer Liability, How to File a Worker's Compensation Claim, Illinois workers comp, Personal Injury, stress injury, Workers Comp, Workers Comp Benefits, Workers compensation attorney | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

 

Teen Worker InjuryAccording to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), young workers are at the highest risk of any age group to be injured or killed on the job. Workers who are under 25 years old face more than double the risk of older workers of being injured. The majority of young workers are unaware of the legal workplace rights they have.

The DOL statistics reveal that in 2012, more than 170,000 of younger workers were injured on the job and another 361 were killed. That means that a teenager is hurt on the job every nine minutes in this country.

The OSH Act of 1970 requires every employer provide workers with a safe work environment, without dangerous recognized hazards. Working teens are also covered under this law and have the same right to a safe workplace as working adults. In many incidents where teens have been hurt on the job, there was a lack of training and education on the part of the employer that contributed to the incident.

Some of the most common injuries teens receive in the workplace are caused by inadequate safety training, lack of proper supervision, unsafe equipment, dangerous work that is inappropriate and illegal for teen workers, stressful conditions and pressure to perform their work at a faster pace.

The Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (MassCOSH) has developed a work safety program directed specifically at young workers called Teens Lead @ Work. The program focuses on peer-to peer training by teaching teens to develop the skills to teach other teens about healthy and safe workplaces. The teens are also taught about child labor laws and encouraged to reach out to all teen workers, including those who are the most vulnerable, such as undocumented and illegal teen workers.

If you or someone in your family has been injured on the job, contact an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorney to find out what civil recourse you may have for compensation for pain and loss you have suffered.


Protection of Employees under Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act

Posted: September 4th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Construction Accident, Construction Workers, Employer Liability, Francis J. Discipio, How to File a Worker's Compensation Claim, Illinois workers comp, Workers Comp, Workers compensation attorney | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

workers compensationIllinois Workers’ Compensation Act 820 ILCS 305 clearly outlines the responsibility that employees have when a worker is injured on the job.

There are many factors that determine the amount of benefit an employee will receive if they are injured. The amount of pay the injured employee was earning is used to determine the workers compensation benefit and/or settlement amount he or she is entitled to receive.

Another factor considered is the severity of the employee’s injury and what body part is involved. What future medical costs be, as well as what limitations the permanent injury will place on the employee’s life, are also used to determine what settlement amount the employee will be awarded.

The purpose of the law is to protect employees because often, an employer and their insurance company will try to avoid responsibility for the injury, which is why it is critical for an injured employee to hire a workers’ compensation attorney. If the employee has received a prior injury of the same body part, the insurance company’s attorneys could argue that the current injury is related to the prior injury and, therefore, they are not responsible for benefits.

That is what happened in a recent case that went before the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. The employee, who worked as a truck tire builder, filed a claim in January 2010 after being diagnosed with spurring and impingement syndrome of his left shoulder and both elbows, which was caused by repetitive stress of building tires. He eventually had surgery on both elbows and also on his shoulder.

The employee had previously undergone surgery of his left shoulder in April 2007 due to another work injury. At that time, he was awarded a settlement for 25 percent loss of use of his left arm. Because of the prior injury, an arbitrator only awarded the employee benefits and medical costs for the injuries to his elbows, but did not include an award for injury to his shoulder.

The Commission disagreed with the arbitrator’s ruling. They said that surgery in 2007 took care of the prior injury, evidenced by the employee’s return to full-time work. They awarded the employee temporary total disability, as well all medical costs for the left shoulder injury. They also awarded the employee a 7.5 percent loss of use of the person as a whole, which can be found under Section 8(d)2 of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act.

This case exemplifies why it is so important to have an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorney representing you if you are injured on the job.


Illinois Bill Would Limit Employer Liability for Travelling Employee Injuries

Posted: August 27th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Employer Liability, Illinois workers comp, Traveling Employee Injury, Workers Comp, Workers compensation attorney | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

employer liabilityA bill currently pending in the Illinois legislature would put limitations on an employer’s liability for injuries an employee receives while traveling on the way to work.

Senate Bill 2622, introduced by State Sen. Kyle McCarter (R, Lebanon), would not require employers to provide workers compensation benefits for an employee who becomes injured if the employee was not traveling for work purposes when the injury occurs.

The bill is aimed for employees who are required to travel in connection with their job. It says compensation for an injury that occurs while traveling will only be provided “if the injury arises out of and in the course of employment while he or she is actively engaged in the duties of employment.”

If it passes, the proposed law would cover incidents such as a recent workers’ compensation case that was appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court. The court ruled that just because a worker accepts a job that is a distance away from his or her home that does not mean the employee automatically becomes a “travelling employee”, nor is the employer is automatically liable for any injuries the employee may incur while traveling to and from work. The new bill was introduced a month before the court’s ruling.

Bill 2622 is part of a package of workers’ compensation bills, including Bill 2623, which addresses new injuries to previously paid body parts; Bill 2625, which addresses temporary disability payments for employees who have been terminated for just cause; and Bill 2626, which addresses wage calculations for employees who work less than 52 weeks per year.

If you or a loved one has suffered a workplace injury, you need an experienced Illinois workers’ compensation attorney to represent you and make sure you receive the compensation you are entitled to under the law.


Study Finds Many Undocumented Workers Stuck in Dangerous Jobs

Posted: August 6th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Construction Workers, Illinois workers comp, Workers compensation attorney | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

undocumented workersA recent study conducted by Cornell University and Penn State University found that illegal immigrants who are working in high-risk or dangerous jobs are not paid a pay premium for working in those hazardous conditions.

The study, titled The Occupational Cost of Being Illegal in the United States: Legal Status, Job Hazards and Compensating Differentials, analyzed data from the U.S. Census’ Survey of Income and Program Participation. This survey provides information about visa and citizenship status. They also used data from Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries and the Department of Labor’s Occupational Information Network.

Not only do undocumented workers not receive a pay premium for working in dangerous conditions, but if they are injured, most are too scared to report the injury for fear they will be deported.

According to the study, one of the biggest problems is the language barrier that often exists when it comes to effective safety training. Another factor regarding undocumented workers in hazardous working environments is that many employers who hire illegal immigrants are not concerned that any safety hazards will be reported because the undocumented worker is afraid of losing their job if they do.

The research team said the evidence they found shows that undocumented workers are not employed in the most dangerous jobs – which are in mining and logging. Instead, they can be found at jobs in agriculture and construction, which can also pose serious health risks. Additionally, many undocumented workers are employed at jobs where they are exposed to dangerous chemicals or radiation, such as working in a dry cleaners or working as janitors in healthcare facilities.

Many state court decisions have ruled that an undocumented worker who is injured on the job is entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits. If you have been injured on the job, contact an experienced Illinois workers’ compensation attorney to find out what civil recourse you may have for compensation for pain and loss you have suffered.


OSHA Director Says Low-Wage Workers at Higher Risk for Work Injuries

Posted: July 31st, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Illinois workers comp, Minimum Wage, Workers compensation attorney, Workers Compensation Insurance | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

minimum wage, workers comp, lawyer, attorney, Illinois, job safetyOver the past several years, much has been publicized about the inequality of wages that exist for Americans. Many low-wage workers have been vocal about the inability to get out of poverty because they don’t earn enough money to cover life expenses. As of this writing, the federal minimum wage is $7.25. Some states and municipalities have raised their minimum wage above the federal level. Illinois minimum wage is currently at $8.25.

In a recent interview, David Michaels, Ph.D., M.P.H, who is the head of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), said that the this inequality of wages is also reflected in the federal rules and regulations that are supposed to be in place to protect workers from injuries and illnesses. Michaels said the current laws are not sufficient enough.

According to Michaels, studies have shown that there is a “clear correlation between low-wage jobs and unsafe jobs.” Michaels points out that an injury or illness received on the job can put roadblocks for that worker to move into better paying jobs and moving into a middle-class lifestyle.

Michaels says the main issue for the lack of protection for workers is due to how long ago OSHA’s workplace standards were written (44 years ago) and how long the process for writing new standards can take. He says that because it can take “many years” for the agency to pass new standard, employers need to take responsibility and not just concentrate on OSHA compliance, but to make sure they create a “culture of prevention” in the workplace.

Statistics are high for workers hurt on the job. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) says there were 49,000 people who died in 2012 from injuries they received on the job. Another 4 million people were injured.

When someone is injured on a job, it can have a devastating effect on their financial situation, especially for someone who is already struggling to make ends meet. The injury can also have an impact on their family relationships and other communal or extra-curricular activities they have.

If you have been injured on the job, contact an experienced Illinois workers’ compensation attorney to find out what civil recourse you may have for compensation for pain and loss you have suffered.


Illinois Two Doctor Rule in Worker Compensation Cases

Posted: July 17th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

two doctor rule, Illinois workers' compensation lawyer, your rightsAccording to Illinois workers’ compensation law, if you are injured in a work-related accident, you have the right to choose your own doctor, as well as any other doctors you are referred to, for treatment. Injured workers actually have the right in Illinois to choose two doctors. This is called the “two doctor rule.”

Many companies try to get the injured employee to go to either the company clinic or a doctor that has a contract with the company. This is done with the idea to keep the company costs down, but it is usually not the best choice for the injured employee. If there is a doctor on the company’s premise that you see when you are injured, this is not usually considered your first choice. However, if you initially go to a doctor at the company clinic, it may or may not be considered your first choice, depending on just how agreeable you were to the visit. An initial visit to emergency rooms when you are injured is also not considered your first choice.

A recent case that was brought before the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission highlights just how important the two doctor rule can be to protecting the rights of an injured worker.

The case involved a man who was employed as a carpenter for a remodeling company. The man injured his back while moving a large pile of group studs. The man’s supervisor insisted on driving him to a chiropractic clinic, despite the man’s wish to go to a different doctor. The visit to the chiropractor failed to relieve the man’s symptoms, and three days later he went to the emergency room with severe lower back pain.

The emergency room doctor advised him to make a follow up appointment with his primary care physician. Instead, he went to another physician, who was not his primary care doctor and for which he did not have a referral for, and was diagnosed with bulging disk. The man eventually had to undergo surgery for his injury when other treatment methods fail to produce any relieve.

The commission ruled that the initial visit to the chiropractor was not the man’s first choice of doctor and neither was the emergency room physician the man saw. Although he did not have a referral to go to the physician who he did choose to see, the commission ruled that this physician was the man’s first choice and awarded the man 65 weeks of total disability, as well as $110,666.50 in medical expenses.

If you have been injured on the job, contact an experienced Illinois workers’ compensation attorney to find out what civil recourse you may have for compensation for pain and loss you’ve suffered.