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Archive for the ‘Cook County workers compensation attorney’ tag

New Advisory Board on Toxic Chemicals, Workers’ Compensation

June 10th, 2016 at 10:32 am

chemicals, Chicago workers compensation attorneyA toxic chemical is a substance that causes harm when it is inhaled, consumed, or comes in contact with a worker’s skin. While any type of employee, whether they work in an office, in construction, in retail or food preparation, can be injured or become sick from toxic chemicals, some of the more dangerous occupations include factory work or manufacturing. Toxic chemicals are used in the production and manufacturing of everything from food, vehicles, gas, clothes, and building materials. And, of course, workers in chemical manufacturing facilities are exposed to the dangers of the products they directly create. Injuries and health issues from the exposure to toxic chemicals can include skin sensitivity, rashes, burns, throat irritation, lung damage, the development of asthma, nerve damage, brain damage, cancer, and death. Some of the more dangerous chemicals include certain types of acid, solvents and cleaning products, paint, pesticides, benzene, asbestos, lead, and mercury. Deadly fumes can also be created by the mixing of two non-lethal substances, such as bleach and ammonia, for example, which creates chloramine vapor.

All workers that use dangerous substances must have adequate training with the chemicals they use, and possibly continuing education throughout their careers. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Organization (OSHA), all employers that use hazardous chemicals in the workplace “must have labels and safety data sheets for their exposed workers, and train them to handle the chemicals appropriately. The training for employees must also include information on the hazards of the chemicals in their work area and the measures to be used to protect themselves.” Additionally, their employer must provide them with the necessary safety equipment and proper ventilation in the workplace. However, despite strict laws in place, these safeguards are violated by companies every day around the country and in Chicago. If you have been injured on the job by a toxic chemical, contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney today.

Recent Creation of the Toxic Chemical Advisory Board

While the U.S. already has some of the more stringent standards when it comes to job safety and the use of chemicals, there is still a long way to go to ensure the safety of every employee. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, President Barack Obama has created the Advisory Board on Toxic Substances and Worker Health for Part E of the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA). The purpose of the advisory board is to advise the Secretary of Labor with information regarding the Department of Labor’s Site Exposure Matrices (SEM) database. The database has data regarding toxic substances and illnesses on the job and is searchable by occupation type, chemical, and location. The EEOICPA advisory board also has information for claims examiners on the medical evidence of the claimants, requirements for claims in relation to lung disease, and information on the objectivity, quality, and consistency of work performed by industrial hygienists, staff physicians, and consulting physicians.

With the creation of the advisory board, workers in industrial plants may be able to reduce workplace accidents to some degree. However, if you have been injured on the job, contact a Chicago workers’ compensation attorney at the Law Offices of Francis J. Discipio today at 630-574-2288.

 

Sources:

https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/hazardoustoxicsubstances/

http://www.dol.gov/owcp/energy/regs/compliance/AdvisoryBoard.htm

 

Employee or Independent Contractor?

February 12th, 2016 at 4:19 pm

employee, contractor, Illinois workers compensation attorneyThe Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act covers only employees. Under Illinois law, there are two categories of workers, employees and independent contractors, and in some cases, an employer may tell suggest or imply to you that you are an independent contractor. This would mean that certain employment laws do not cover you, including workers’ compensation. But, employers are not always correct when deciding who is and who isn’t an employee.

Right of Control

The primary criteria that courts use to determine if you are an employee is the right of control test. The more control your employer has over your work, the more likely you are an employee, and not an independent contractor.

Independent contractors traditionally use their own tools and the employer only controls the result, not the way the worker goes about completing the job. Employees are provided specific direction regarding the time, place, and manner of the work. Employees usually do not use their own tools. For example, if you are required to dress in a uniform or the employer regulates your breaks, you are most likely an employee.

How You Are Paid

Another factor to consider is how the employer compensates you. Employees typically have an hourly rate or a set salary. Payment is made on a regular basis, typically, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.

Independent contractors are more likely to be paid based on an agreed-upon sum for the job, or on an hourly rate. Independent contractors invoice for the amount due to them on a monthly or weekly basis.

If you punch a clock, are paid based on an hourly rate, and are not required to invoice the employer, you are most likely an employee.

Why It Matters

The distinction between being an employee and an independent contractor is important for many reasons. Under workers’ compensation laws the employer does not have to pay workers’ compensation insurance for independent contractors. If you are an independent contractor and are hurt on the job, you cannot collect workers’ compensation from the employer’s insurer. It is up to you to have your own disability insurance policy.

Employees are required to be covered by workers’ compensation insurance. If an employee is hurt on the job, his or her medical bills can be taken care and missed pay can be at least partially compensated.

If you have been injured while performing your job, you need to speak with an experienced and knowledgeable Cook County workers’ compensation attorney right away to protect your rights. Call the Law Offices of Frank J. Discipio at 630-574-2288 to schedule a consultation. You may only have a short time to take action.

 

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2430&ChapterID=68

 

Independent Contractor vs Actual Employee

January 30th, 2015 at 11:59 am

independent contractor or employee, Illinois workers compensation lawyerMore and more companies are hiring independent contractor to perform the work that was once done by regular employees. This is done to cut down on costs. By hiring a contractor, the company avoids having to pay for health insurance, payroll taxes, unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, and other employee costs dependent on what the company offers or is required to cover an employee for.

If an employee is injured on the job, they are covered by the company’s worker’s compensation insurance and receive compensation for medical expenses and lost wages. They may even be entitled for monetary compensation for their injuries based on the severity of the injury. Typically, if an independent contractor is hurt on the job, they are not covered under workers’ compensation and would not be entitled to any of the same compensations an employee is covered under.

The hiring of independent contractors has become somewhat of a gray area and in many situations, just because an company has labeled someone an independent contractor, under state or federal laws, they may actually be considered an actual employee and entitled to all the same benefits employees of the company receive.

Under Illinois law, there is a list of criteria that determine whether a person performing work for a company is an employee or independent contractor. These factors include:

  • Is the person required to follow the company’s instruction?
  • Did the company provide training to the person to perform the work?
  • Does the company require the person perform the work themselves or can they assign it to others?
  • Does the company set the person’s hours and/or is the person required to work full-time?
  • Is the person paid by the hour (or week) or are they paid once the job is complete?
  • Is the person reimbursed for travel or other business expenses?
  • Did the company provide tools and/or materials necessary for the work to be done?
  • Is there are a contract between the person and the company or are they able to terminate the relationship at will?

If you are an independent contractor and received injuries while working, do not assume that you are not entitled to workers’ compensation because of your employee classification. Contact an experienced Oak Brook workers compensation attorney to discuss your case and determine what compensation you may be legally entitled to.

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