You and other members of the Illinois workforce in and around Chicago are entitled to safe work environments. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration that governs workplace safety in all industries requires employers to protect all workers from harm. However, occupational injuries continue to occur -- many of them on construction sites and industrial plants.
On-the-job injuries and work-related illnesses are mostly preventable, but not without the establishment of workable safety protocols. Furthermore, strict monitoring of compliance with safety rules is essential. Laziness and complacency often lead to shortcuts, which can cause hazardous situations with devastating consequences.
Avoid basic mistakes
While each workplace has unique hazards, avoiding the following basic mistakes might keep you safe:
- Never miss safety training: Even if you have heard it a hundred times, regular safety training will remind you and your coworkers of potential hazards and how to deal with them. This applies to the existing day-to-day dangers of your job as well as new risks that come with new equipment and tools and the unique hazards posed by every construction site.
- Never go without PPE: Make sure your employer provides all the necessary personal protective equipment that fits you properly, and never do any job without adequate protection. Weather conditions might make it uncomfortable to wear at times, or you might feel that your PPE restricts your movement, but resisting the temptation to go without it might save your life.
- Never skip a machine inspection: Never use equipment without doing a routine safety check first. Mechanical and electrical equipment require inspections at scheduled intervals, and even if a machine seems to be running as it should, certified professionals can identify and repair hidden dangers.
- Prevent falls by using the right equipment: Falls from heights claim hundreds of lives every year, often because of inappropriate use of equipment. Use stable scaffolds for construction and avoid standing on bricks or other materials to reach just a bit higher. You should also use ladders where there are no scaffolds erected.
- Always use the correct tool for the job: Each job requires specific tools, and substituting them with others that are similar is never a good idea. While the wrong tool might result in incorrect or inefficient work, it could lead to unanticipated malfunctions down the line.
Keep in mind that you have the right to insist on being provided with the proper tools and personal protective equipment for each job you do.
Even with all the precautions you take to stay safe in your workplace, accidents happen, and you might be the victim. You might find comfort in knowing that the Illinois workers' compensation program has your back. However, dealing with the complicated claims process while you are in the hospital or recovering from your injury could be overwhelming. Fortunately, help is available. An experienced workers' compensation attorney can provide the necessary support and guidance to help you obtain compensation to cover medical expenses and lost wages.