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Workers' Compensation Archives

Reducing risk through workplace safety culture

Many Illinois business owners believe that they can keep their workers safe as long as they follow established safety procedures, but this is not necessarily the case. This is where shifting from a safety-minded workplace culture to a risk-minded one can help reduce accidents. For example, instead of saying that all incidents are preventable, owners should emphasize the fact that all risks cannot be eliminated.

Researchers and lab workers at risk for Zika

Illinois residents who work in lab and biomedical facilities should be aware of the risk of contracting the Zika virus. The year 2015 saw more than 42,000 cases of the mosquito-borne virus in the United States. However, this infection rate has gone down, and there is currently no local transmission of the disease in the U.S.

What to know about ladder safety

Most Illinois workers still need to use ladders when they work at heights, and that means that ladder safety should be a top priority for a company. March is National Ladder Safety Month, and the goal is to teach people how to use ladders properly both at work and at home. Annually, 300 workers are killed with thousands more injured because of ladder accidents.

BLS releases work-related fatality rates for 2017

In its occupational fatality report for 2017, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics noted several trends good and bad that should be of interest to workers in diverse industries in Illinois. The good news is that work-related fatalities declined from 5,190 in 2016 to 5,147 in 2017. More than half of the states had fewer injuries in 2017 than in the previous year.

Increasing safety for outdoor workers during winter months

Outdoor workers in Illinois often have to continue their jobs even when temperatures drop and conditions become potentially hazardous. In an effort to help employers in the Prairie State keep their outdoor workers safe, OSHA is spreading information about ways to prevent winter accidents.

Taking precautions during holiday season may reduce injuries

During the holiday season in Illinois, many stores hire temporary employees to keep up with the increased number of shoppers. Employees may work additional hours and have an increased workload as they deliver purchases to customers, stock shelves and sell merchandise. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is reminding employers to ensure that precautions are taken to keep workers safe and that the proper steps are taken to make sure that employees are paid the correct amount on payday.

OSHA specifically addresses safety rights of temp workers

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has established rules to protect temporary workers in Illinois and nationwide. Temporary workers sometimes receive incomplete information about job safety because they work for a staffing agency that sends them to perform duties at a host employer. As a result, temporary workers sometimes find themselves in the most hazardous jobs without adequate training. Although employers might expect to dodge safety regulations through the use of temporary workers, the law still requires both staffing agencies and host employers to maintain safe workplaces.

OSHA's petroleum refinery regulations scaled back

Workers at Illinois petroleum refineries may be concerned about their safety on the job, especially after an administrative review decision that reduced charges against an employer regarding workplace safety violations. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration uses safety standards for petroleum refineries that have been challenged on the basis of vagueness. In the case at hand, OSHA fined BP $2,870,000 for violations of Process Safety Management rules for the handling of highly hazardous chemicals at a refinery in Ohio. This included 65 different violations enclosed in one willful citation.

OSHA to enforce compliance with trench and excavation standards

In Illinois and across the U.S., more workers are dying in trenching and excavation operations. Between 2011 and 2016, 130 such fatalities were reported to OSHA with 49 percent occurring between 2015 and 2016 alone. The private construction industry accounted for 104 of these deaths. OSHA believes that trench collapsing is a risk in virtually all excavations.

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