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Chicago Workers' Compensation Blog

Reviewing the 10 most dangerous jobs in the US

In late 2017, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its 2016 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. The bureau's data on the 10 most dangerous jobs in America should be of interest to both employers and employees in Illinois. While some of the listed jobs are expected, others are not. This shows that all potential causes of danger must be considered to ensure workplace safety.

At the top of the list were logging workers, fishers, aircraft pilots/flight engineers and roofers, respectively. Trash and recycling collectors, who came in fifth, may be the most unexpected in the list. They were followed by iron/steel workers, truck/sales drivers, farmers/agricultural managers, construction supervisors/extraction workers and, lastly, groundskeepers.

Training employees to wear safety gear

OSHA guidelines require workers in a range of industries to wear personal protective equipment such as gloves, hard hats and safety glasses. However, some Illinois employers may have a hard time getting their workers to wear such equipment. The usual advice is to provide new, more comfortable PPE. When this fails to improve compliance, employers may need to consider the following tips.

One major reason why workers don't wear their PPE is because they think they don't need it. This mindset might be the result of inadequate training. Training should cover not only how to put on PPE but also why it is necessary. PPE trainers can create value propositions (as they say in marketing) through the use of personal stories that make an urgent appeal. These anectdotes will show workers that their employers actually believe in the value of PPE.

Tendinitis: causes, symptoms, treatments

Residents of Illinois who are over the age of 40 should be aware of a condition called tendinitis: the inflammation or irritation of the tendons, especially those in the elbow, shoulder, hips, knees, Achilles tendon and base of the thumb. As people age, their tendons become less elastic, less tolerant of stress and more vulnerable to tears. Combine this with repetitive impacts, no matter how mild, as well as more serious injuries, and people raise their risk for tendinitis.

Various activities can cause the development of the condition, such as gardening, raking, shoveling, house cleaning, painting and carpentry. Sports like golf, tennis and baseball, for pitchers especially, will hurt the tendons. Office workers are not immune since poor posture also increases the risk. "Weekend warriors" who overexert themselves during exercise will not be doing their body a favor.

The dangers of working in the sanitation industry

According to the Solid Waste Association of North America, there were seven sanitation worker deaths in the first 10 days of 2018. Overall, Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that sanitation workers face a fatality risk that's nearly 10 times more than that of all other industries. However, there are steps that these workers in Illinois and throughout the country can take to stay safe on the job.

For example, workers should refrain from riding on loading sills or hoppers. They should also refrain from not using riding steps if the vehicle is going more than 10 miles per hour. In addition, workers can reduce the odds of an injury or death by not using a cell phone while driving a garbage truck or while at a disposal facility. Personal protective equipment should be worn as necessary to keep from getting hurt while working.

Don’t hesitate to negotiate workers’ compensation benefits

After an on-the-job injury, you probably have the grounds to file a workers' compensation claim, which is both good news and potentially bad news. Workers' compensation is a form of insurance that protects both employees and employers, but without paying careful attention to the benefits that you receive, your coverage may benefit your employer far more than it benefits you.

When you accept workers' compensation, you generally give up your right to file an injury claim against your employer. Your employer can rest assured that you receive the medical care and financial support that you need to recover from the injury, which is costly, but not nearly as costly as a personal injury lawsuit. While you do stand to benefit, the rules of this game are generally written in favor of the employer, requiring special attention to detail in order to receive the benefits and coverage that you deserve.

What to know about carpal tunnel syndrome

Illinois residents or others who feel numbness or tingling in their arm or wrist could be experiencing carpal tunnel syndrome. This occurs because the median nerve is being squeezed while going through the wrist. The nerve itself starts in the neck, travels through the arm and then connects through the wrist before entering the hand. If treated early enough, the condition could be cured with a simple splint or by making other easy adjustments.

In some cases, surgery could be required to prevent permanent damage. An individual may feel pain or numbness because the synovium swells and takes up space that the nerve generally occupies. There are many different causes of this condition, and genetics may play a role in a person getting carpel tunnel syndrome. Those who use their hands often or engage in activities that require the hand or wrist to bend or flex could also experience symptoms.

How employers can create a better safety culture

Every business owner in Illinois who wants to create and maintain a safety-minded culture in the workplace should consider five tips, all given below. Following them can help reduce the number of workplace injuries, which means improved productivity, employee morale and employee retention. Employers can also enjoy stronger branding and a more positive image, so everyone benefits.

Safety is an organizational value that can only be championed by those in leadership positions: employers, site managers, safety coaches and so on. Affirming that leadership is the first tip. The second tip is for these leaders to conduct an anonymous safety survey of its employees. They should ask what employees know of corporate safety policies, what their expectations are regarding safety and what their opinion is regarding their own duties.

Construction workers face an increased risk of fatal injuries

Chicago construction workers could be facing more on-the-job hazards. While this industry is known for its inherent dangers involving heavy equipment, machinery and unfinished buildings and trenches, safety procedures can be particularly important in working to avoid catastrophic results. Despite improvements in technology, however, the number of construction workers killed on the job rose by 26 percent between 2011 and 2015. Furthermore, the number of workers killed in specific types of accidents also rose, highlighting particular points of concern.

For example, fatal caught-in and caught-between injuries involving construction workers rose by 33 percent in the same period. Workers under the age of 20 and older workers were those most likely to be killed in these types of serious workplace accidents. In the same four-year period, 800 American construction workers were killed after being struck by vehicles or objects on the job. Of those workers, 18 percent were killed after they were hit by a car or truck, and 51 percent were hit by equipment or objects in free fall on the work site.

Common work-related injuries for Illinois radiologists

Almost a third of practicing radiologists in the U.S. suffer from lower back pain because of their job duties, according to a report by the American College of Radiology. Some medical experts believe that picture archiving and communication systems could be responsible for the musculoskeletal injuries. Although radiologists have been transferring from their legacy, film-based environment to an archiving and communication system with digital capability for the past 30 years, some who depend on PACS may find that the system's disadvantages outweigh its advantages in regard to their health.

The PACS environment is a significant improvement on the film environment. It allows for better billing, a higher efficiency of workflow and scheduling, less need of storage space for data and an easier method for standardization structured reporting.

You can appeal a denied IL workers' compensation claim

For most of human history, there were few protections in place for workers. Employers could knowingly endanger workers and never incur any kind of penalty. Workers could sustain life-altering or even fatal injuries without any kind of compensation, leaving them and their families to struggle with poverty.

Thankfully, these days, workers' compensation insurance is in place to protect those who work for a living and their family members who depend on them.

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