Occupational Health and Safety: What To Do When You Are Injured At Work

During your employment at any job, your occupational health and safety could be at risk as you may be exposed to back injuries/sprains, carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), heavy tool accidents, repetitive stress disorders, slips & falls, cuts, lacerations and fractures. If you have been injured during job you are permitted to get worker compensation benefits, but first it is important to follow these steps:

Get medical care immediately:

- What could seem like a minor injury might end up being a more serious medical problem
- You may choose to visit up to two doctors and any subsequent referrals
- Make sure to provide to your employer, in writing, the contact information of the doctor and hospital that you choose
- You do not have to accept treatment from the health care provider your employer recommends.

Tell the doctor exactly how you got hurt:

- If the doctor recommends work restrictions, make certain you get them documented in writing

Keep your own records

– Record what happened in the accident and indicate if there were any specific physical conditions, such as a wet floor, which may have contributed to your accident

Notify your employer as soon as you can that you have been injured

– If you neglect to notify your place of work within 45 days, you may lose eligibility for workers’ compensation
- Describe all circumstances as accurately as possible, because your employer is likely to challenge your workers’ compensation claim
- Your employer has the right to require that you be evaluated by a particular clinic or doctor of their choosing

Request that your employer reimburse any medical costs and lost wages:

– You are eligible for up to 2/3 your average regular-time wages for the period of time you were unable to work
- Make sure you keep copies for yourself of all documentation, bills, paperwork, doctors’ notes, or anything else related to the injury and its treatment

Additionally, to ensure you have the best chance of receiving workers compensation, contact a lawyer specializing in workers’ compensation, especially if:
1. Your employer does not promptly address your claim
2. Your employer denies your claim
3. You need to pursue permanent disability payments
4. You need to pursue compensation for the workplace death of a spouse or parent

If you or your family suffers from work related injury, your employer-provided insurance company should be providing compensation during your period of recovery. Receiving all worker compensation benefits including lost wages, medical expenses and vocational rehabilitation costs can be rather standardized, but the amount of compensation is dependent upon your average weekly wage and the degree of your incapacitation.

At The Law Office of Bradley Dworkin, our Chicago, Illinois workers’ compensation attorneys have experience in handling all types of work injury related cases. Our attorneys are always ready to fight for you to resolve your case quickly and effectively. Contact us today if your occupational health and safety has been compromised, and we will put our considerable work injury expertise in your corner!

DISCLAIMER: All information on this website are provided for informational purposes only and are not intended to be construed as legal advice. The Law Offices of Bradley S. Dworkin shall not be liable for any errors or inaccuracies contained herein, or any actions taken in reliance thereon.


The Basics of Hazardous Chemicals Exposure- Protecting Your at Work Health

Exposure to chemicals while at work is a risk that many employees must face on a daily basis, but with some knowledge and care, minimizing these risks is possible. The range of work injuries due to chemical exposure can vary widely, such as a factory worker overcome by fumes from a chemical spill, or the constant exposure to the everyday chemicals found in the typical office environment. Across this entire spectrum, chemical injury can result in a debilitating condition of chronic chemical sensitivity or other chemical environmental illness which threaten at work health.

If working with hazardous chemicals is part of your job, it is critical that you to know the possible risks you will face with each chemical you are exposed to. This guide outlines the kinds of injuries that chemicals can cause, the types of chemical exposures and their effects, and factors that influence the severity of exposure.

Know your chemicals and their characteristics

Chemicals can vary greatly in their level of toxicity, so three factors must be considered at all times: The amount of chemical, the frequency of exposure, and the duration of exposure.

As an example, Acutelytoxic chemicals can injure after only a single exposure, while other chemicals only cause harm after repeated exposures. In order to protect yourself from this dangerous group of substances that injure without immediately obvious symptoms, you must be aware of which chemicals are toxic if exposure is repeated or prolonged.

Types of Reactions

Upon exposure to a hazardous chemical, you can expect one of two kinds of reactions:

Local reactions, which manifest themselves at the place where the exposure occurred. For example, breathing dangerous chemical vapors may injure lungs and respiratory passages, while swallowing such chemicals can damage your mouth, esophagus, stomach and intestines.

Systemic reactions are a response to chemical exposure that affects the whole body. These illnesses may cause symptoms in one or two areas, but the whole body can be affected. They may be immediate or delayed, and you may not even know you have been exposed until the chemicals have done severe damage.

Chemical characteristics can determine exposure level

●        Chemicals can enter the bloodstream through the skin, eyes, mouth and, most frequently, the lungs. Know which routes of entry are at risk and always use protective equipment to prevent those kinds of exposures.

●        Extremely volatile chemicals evaporate very readily, and thus may contaminate the air you breathe more easily than other chemicals do. If a chemical is flammable it may be an extreme fire or explosion hazard as well.

●        Corrosive or highly reactive chemicals are acutely toxic and will injure skin, respiratory passages or eyes on contact immediately.

●        If you are not aware of the hazards that the chemicals you use at work present, consult your Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for information on the physical characteristics of these chemicals which may threaten your at work health.

Prepare for dangers to your at work health

Always employ protective equipment and be sure to follow safety guidelines appropriate for hazardous chemicals. Review the MSDS if you have any doubts about the dangers of any chemical, and avoid simply relying on your memory or tips from co-workers. The guidelines will list the signs and symptoms of chemical toxicity for both local and systemic reactions as well as the target organs and primary routes of entry.

If you have suffered a hazardous chemicals related exposure, or any other work related injuries in Chicago, Illinois request a Free Case Evaluation  -Call Toll Free 1-866-854-6674.

DISCLAIMER: All information on this website are provided for informational purposes only and are not intended to be construed as legal advice. The Law Offices of Bradley S. Dworkin shall not be liable for any errors or inaccuracies contained herein, or any actions taken in reliance thereon.


Work Injury Narrowly Avoided in World Trade Center Site Accident

"The long awaited and often delayed rebuilding process at the World Trade Center site in New York City nearly took a dark turn Thursday morning after several tons of steel unexpectedly came crashing down onto a construction site. Amazingly, no one was hurt in the accident. The 60 foot steel girders fell 40 stories before landing on top of a loading truck, which thankfully was unoccupied at the time," reports Yahoo! News

 
Several construction workers were on the job site but miraculously none of them suffered from wrongful death or even work injury. However, the Port Authority (as owner of the WTC site), construction company and local fire department are doing an investigation into what may  have occurred. Additionally, it is possible that OSHA may be notified of the incident although no work injury was sustained.
 
As a result of the crash, construction at the job site was paused. There were also subway disruptions for about an hour. Considering the disaster that may have resulted from the girders falling, the actual overall disruption was miniscule.

Workers Compensation | Construction Accidents

The construction industry has high incidence of workplace injuries and even death, making it a difficult and accident prone industry. More then 2000 construction site workers in Illinois suffer major or minor injures which ultimately effect their life, according to statistics. The high number of workplace accidents in the industry is a direct result of the hazards of construction sites. Examples of these workplace hazards – which contribute to work injury – include:
 
- Trenches
- Exposure to Harmful or Toxic Chemicals 
- Scaffolding
- Dangerous Equipment
- Power Lines
- Falling Objects
 
Many common workplace injuries are caused by slip and falls, contact with electrical lines, being struck by an object, or collapsing structure.
 
If you or your loved one sustain a work injury at a job site and want to know more about filing a workers’ comp claim, contact an Illinois work injury attorney to request a Free Case Evaluation – Call Toll Free 1-866-854-6674.
 
DISCLAIMER: All information on this website are provided for informational purposes only and are not intended to be construed as legal advice. The Law Office of Bradley S. Dworkin shall not be liable for any errors or inaccuracies contained herein, or any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Workers Comp and Working From Home

Question: Are individuals who primarily work from home eligible for workers' compensation if they are injured while working? 

Answer: Possibly, and most likely.
 
Workers' compensation benefits are intented to protect workers who are injured while performing their job function. For that reason, if you were working while you were injured – even if you were at home or on the road at the time – you are likely eligible for workers comp. If you can prove that your injury resulted from or occurred during a job task, you can file a workers' compensation claim.
 
One thing to keep in mind about workers' compensation claims – they can be tedious and can become ever more muddled if an employee is injured outside the corporate office environment. That is why it is important for telecommuters to clearly separate their time between work and leisure and keep good records of when they are working. It is also imperative for sales people and others who spend a majority of their time on the road. 
 
One recent workers compensation case in Texas involved a traveling salesperson named Liana Leordeanu who was in a serious car crash. "When she applied for workers' compensation insurance benefits for the accident, Leordeanu was denied — even though she was on company business, traveling in a company-provided car toward her company-furnished office," reports the Austin American-Statesman.
 
The reason for the denial was that the insurance company and an Austin court ruled that the trip was not 100% work related due to the fact that Ms. Leordeanu's return to her home office also meant she was returning home for the evening. The woman appealed the case to the Texas Supreme Court and they ruled in Ms. Leordeanu's favor. It was determined that she was, in fact, eligible for workers' compensation benefits.
 
If you have sustained a work related injury, you should speak with a qualified workers compensation attorney – particularly if you have been injured while working from home or another off-site location. At The Law offices of Dworkin and Maciariello, our workers compensation lawyers have extensive knowledge of the Illinois workers compensation act and workers rights. Our experienced Illinois workers compensation lawyers fight diligently for your recovery to get the justice you deserve. 
 
DISCLAIMER: All information on this website are provided for informational purposes only and are not intended to be construed as legal advice. The Law Offices of Bradley S. Dworkin shall not be liable for any errors or inaccuracies contained herein, or any actions taken in reliance thereon.

All Work and No Play? No Way.

According to the Wall Street Journal, "Companies are trying to bring more play to the workday. Striving to make everyday business tasks more engaging, a growing number of firms, including International Business Machines Corp. and consulting firm Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd., are incorporating elements of videogames into the workplace.

 
They're deploying reward and competitive tactics commonly found in the gaming world to make tasks such as management training, data entry and brainstorming seem less like work. Employees receive points or badges for completing jobs or meeting time limits for assignments, for example. Companies also may use leaderboards, which let players view one another's scores, to encourage friendly competition and motivate performance, experts say."
 
Adding play into work is one more way that employers are trying to think "outside the box" to acheive employee productivity and motivation. With a younger, more dynamic workforce coming in to take the place of retiring baby boomers, companies have to get creative and go beyond traditional "perks." Other options cutting edge employers are offering include:
 
Travel Benefits: Many large national and multi national companies regularly allocate money toward corporate transportation and apartments. Now many are offering those same resources to employees during their off-time as well.
 
Flexible Schedule: Employers are starting to realize that as long as the work is getting done, they do not care where or when. As a result, telecommuting and flex-time are becoming more and more prevalent.
 
Free Lunch: Some large companies, inspired by employers always at the forefront of the "best of" lists, provide complimentary food and beverages for employees.
 
Fitness Benefits: Many companies have an on-site fitness center or offer employees a fitness benefit. The next logical step is to encourage employees to use the facilities by making it part of the corporate culture. The result will likely be healthier employees – upping productivity and decreasing incidence of work injury.
 
Getting Involved: An increasing number of employers are sponsoring community service days or encouraging some type of community outreach during work time. It is a great way for employees to connect with their community without sacrificing time or their paycheck – which might otherwise be prevent them from doing so. 
 
These are just a few examples of ways that employers can show their employees that they are valued and encourage them to take breaks and have fun to increase productivity. While not all of the above are a good fit in all industries, the basic principle is the same: happy employees often make the best (most productive) employees.
 
DISCLAIMER: All information on this website are provided for informational purposes only and are not intended to be construed as legal advice. The Law Offices of Bradley S. Dworkin shall not be liable for any errors or inaccuracies contained herein, or any actions taken in reliance thereon.

The Flip Side of Glass Office Space

According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, "Amid a push toward openness in the workplace, more people are working in glass offices or conference rooms. Some 68% of U.S. offices have an "open plan" or "open seating" design, with the desks separated by low or no walls, according to a 2010 survey by the International Facilities Management Association, Houston. The remaining office and conference rooms are often walled in glass.

The benefits are undeniable, employers say—better communication and collaboration, lower real-estate and energy costs, more natural light and expansive outdoor views for all. Many employees say the light and openness improve their mood." 
 
In spite of these obvious benefits, there are some surprising downsides to open work spaces, as the WSJ article points out. Sometimes it can even cause work injury to unsuspecting employees. For example, 
 
Walk Carefully: Believe it or not, glass walls and doors are a physical hazard, especially to a company's visitors or new employees. Why? Because they may walk right into a door or wall without realizing it is there. And while a serious work injury likely will not result from such a collision, it is certainly embarrassing. 
 
Acoustics: Many companies with glass offices and conference rooms were disappointed to find how much more easily sound travels through glass than solid doors or walls. Some have opted to use white noise machines to drown out noise and protect confidentiality for employees. 
 
Privacy: Sensitive subjects – of both a personal and professional nature – are bound to come up at work. When dealing with them, you likely do not want the audience that is provided by an open work space. Many companies with open floor plans do provide private areas or conference rooms for this purpose.
 
Even in spite of the minor annoyances caused by open-concept work spaces, they are still favorably received for the most part. Both employers and employees feel that the openness of the work space promotes collaboration and creativity. If the nature of your business lends itself to this type of atmosphere, it can be an excellent choice.
 
DISCLAIMER: All information on this website are provided for informational purposes only and are not intended to be construed as legal advice. The Law Offices of Bradley S. Dworkin shall not be liable for any errors or inaccuracies contained herein, or any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Study Says Working Moms Are Happier, Healthier

A recent study has found that working mothers – even mothers who work part-time – appear to be healthier and happier than stay-at-home moms. 

Yahoo Shine reports, "according to the study, 'Mothers' part-time employment: Associations with mother and family well-being' (which was published recently in the American Psychological Association's 'Journal of Family Psychology'), being employed has multiple benefits for moms — and for their families. After interviewing hundreds of mothers repeatedly over the course of a decade, the researchers found that those who worked 32 hours per week or less were more sensitive to their kids' needs, less likely to have symptoms of depression, and more likely to split household duties with their spouses than mothers who were not employed. And, the researchers found, even going to full-time status didn't adversely affect working moms' well-being." 
 
The findings of this study are particularly interesting – and encouraging – to moms who were unwilling or unable to stay home with their children full time. The decision whether to be a stay-at-home mom is not an easy one, but this study may help assuage mothers' guilt over going back to work. 
 
Additionally, as workplaces become increasingly flexible it is possible for moms to sometimes work from home – minimizing the time away from their families by eliminating costly and time consuming commutes. This may help improve mental and physical health, decreasing stress and subsequently incidence of work injury
 
Other ways of acheiving your work-life balance, decreasing stress and avoiding work injury include:
 
  • Ask for Help: It is called work-life balance for a reason; and it is not easy to acheive especially on your own. If you are feeling overwhelmed, ask for help rebalancing – from your boss, coworkers, or spouse. Overwork can lead to fatigue, mistakes, and ultimately work injury.
  • Take Care of You: A healthy diet, exercise, and getting enough sleep are the best ways to avoid becoming tired, overworked and sustaining a subsequent work injury.
     
  • Give it a Rest: Take breaks as often as necessary. Additionally, switching between tasks on your to-do list can give your brain and body a rest, avoiding repetitive trauma or other work injury.
 
DISCLAIMER: All information on this website are provided for informational purposes only and are not intended to be construed as legal advice. The Law Offices of Bradley S. Dworkin shall not be liable for any errors or inaccuracies contained herein, or any actions taken in reliance thereon.
 

Company Designs Office to Encourage Telecommuting

Headset manufacturer Plantronics believes that telecommuting is a great way to encourage flexibility and employee productivity. For this reason, their new office space is designed with the expectation that most employees, on most days, will be working from home. As a result, the office space does not actually have enough desks for each employee.

Fast Company reports,"Plantronics is hardly the first company to encourage its employees to telecommute, but it’s still rare to find an organization that’s so dedicated to the idea. It might be a little bit of an adjustment to people used to sitting at work all day every day, but the generation just coming out of school–the one that’s used to having instant access to people through cell phones, Skype, and email–expects nothing less. With gas prices steadily climbing, the prospect of working remotely three days a week seems especially attractive.

And Plantronics has no limits on how often employees work from home–it just asks that they make sure their home workplaces are ergonomically safe."

There is a growing trend toward telecommuting that is fueled by two major factors:

1. Commuting Costs: As gas and energy prices rise – and consumers become more aware of consuming energy as a result – physically commuting to work can become costly. So costly, in some situations, that employees consider taking jobs closer to home that pay less.

2. Employee Expectations: Younger generations are increasingly "plugged-in" and mobile. They know how to communicate from anywhere using multiple technological tools and programs – and they jump at the opportunity to do so.

Multiple studies show that in spite of concerns about employee productivity, workers feel empowered by the freedom to complete work tasks where and when they choose. By enabling them to work in a comfortable environment and time frame, employers are reaping the benefits of maximum productivity and at the same time eliminating costly overhead for maintaining physical office space for all employees.

One interesting topic of note about telecommuting that many employees overlook is the "ergonomically safe" piece. For this reason, workers who plan on working from home on a regular basis need to make sure they set up a home office or work space that accomplishes the following to guard against work injury:

- Chair that is adjustable to ensure that you are seated properly at the correct height and angle.
- Correct keyboard tools and placement to avoid possible carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Computer monitor screen positioned correctly at the proper height and distance to avoid eye strain.

DISCLAIMER: All information on this website are provided for informational purposes only and are not intended to be construed as legal advice. The Law Offices of Bradley S. Dworkin shall not be liable for any errors or inaccuracies contained herein, or any actions taken in reliance thereon.
 


Why Hire an Illinois Workers’ Compensation Attorney?

It is common for an employee to feel that they are capable of filing a workers' compensation claim with their employer and receiving full benefits, and that they do not need a workers' compensation attorney. Unfortunately, many of these employees are unaware of what benefits they may not have received, rights that may have been violated, or many other things.

Your employer is responsible for looking out for the best interest of the company, not necessarily the best interest of its employees. A workers' compensation attorney works for you and aims to receive the most benefits possible from your employer on your behalf. Their knowledge and expertise allows them to deal with your employer and their insurance company quickly and efficiently, while you focus on recovering from your work related injury.

Almost every company has an insurance company covering workers' compensation claims. The insurance company, in turn, has in-house legal counsel whose job it is to evaluate your injury and minimize the amount of benefits paid out for your injury. Because the in-house legal counsel is employed by the insurance company, they are acting in the company's best interest – not necessarily in the injured party's best interest.

For this reason, you need your own legal representation. Handling a workers' compensation claim by yourself should not be considered and is not recommended – even if you are an attorney with experience in other segments of the law. Without understanding the legalese, a misstep can cause you to lose all compensation. Your best chance for recovering full benefits is by hiring a workers' compensation attorney.

If you have sustained a work-related injury, you will have your hands full trying to recover from your injury and returning to work if possible. A qualified Illinois workers' compensation attorney will work on your behalf to file a claim and ensure that you receive benefits for pain and suffering, lost wages, medical bills and any other incurred expenses. Contact a qualified workers' compensation attorney in Illinois now.

DISCLAIMER: All information on this website are provided for informational purposes only and are not intended to be construed as legal advice. The Law Offices of Bradley S. Dworkin shall not be liable for any errors or inaccuracies contained herein, or any actions taken in reliance thereon.


What If a Non-Work-Related Injury Keeps Me From Work?

Considering that the majority of an individual's time is (hopefully) spent outside the workplace, it is very common for an employee to sustain an injury while that are not at work that prevents them from attending work – sometimes for a series of days, weeks or even months. What are an employee's options when they sustain an injury that is not classified as work injury?

In most cases, if an injury is not covered by workers' compensation it may qualify for short-term or long-term disability benefits if you or your employer have that type of insurance.

Disability vs. Workers' Compensation Benefits

You are only eligible for workers' compensation benefits if you were injured on the job or can prove that your injury was work-related. For this reason, there is disability insurance – short term and long term – which can help you receive part of your income when you are unable to work due to an injury or illness.

Disability insurance is often not carried by your employer on your behalf, but it may be offered as part of your benefits package. This means that you are able to opt into and pay an additional amount out of your paycheck for short term and/or long term disability. Additionally, some employers will pay your coverage for one type of disability insurance but not the other.

Before you file a disability claim, it makes sense to see a medical professional to be sure that your injury is truly non work related. Often times, an employee may be suffering from a work-related injury or condition without paying much attention to it until there is a catalyst like sustaining a serious injury. It is always possible that an injury at home could have been caused or contributed to by an underlying medical condition caused by performing one's job function on a daily basis.

Another possible situation that may arise is when an employee is injured at work but they work through it, thinking it is not that bad. However, there may be long-term effects of ignoring or working through a work injury which can be painful. As a result, you should always report any incident at work that could be classified as an accident or work injury – even if it seems minor. That way, if you do develop symptoms or complications after the accident, there is a work injury report on file that can make it easier to receive workers compensation benefits down the line.

If you have been injured at work, or if you are curious whether an injury outside the workplace might be related to a job-related medical condition, you should contact a medical professional right away. Additionally, you may want to speak with a qualified Illinois workers' compensation attorney to find out about the process of filing a workers' compensation claim.

DISCLAIMER: All information on this website are provided for informational purposes only and are not intended to be construed as legal advice. The Law Offices of Dworkin & Maciariello shall not be liable for any errors or inaccuracies contained herein, or any actions taken in reliance thereon.