Springfield Personal Injury & Workers' Compensation Blog

You are entitled to protection against heat-related illness

Are you a construction worker in Illinois, or do you work in landscaping, transportation, agriculture or on an oil rig? These are but some of the outdoor jobs that expose workers to the wrath of the sun. Thousands of workers suffer heat-related illnesses every year — some of them do not survive. Just like protecting their employees from exposure to the cold of winter, employers must take steps to protect workers from excessive heat in the summer.

Heat illness is preventable, and safety training can teach workers to recognize the symptoms. Prompt treatment during the initial stages can prevent a worker's condition from deteriorating until it becomes a life-threatening situation.

Is fatigue a threat to your safety as a commercial driver?

If you are a commercial truck driver in Illinois, you might be aware of the many hazards you face on every trip. Fatigue is a significant contributor to the number of truck accidents that occur in Illinois every year. Compliance with the laws that restrict your hours of driving and learning the telltale signs of exhaustion or fatigue might keep you safe behind the wheel of your big rig.

Driver fatigue is more likely to occur if you do not get enough sleep between shifts or before a long trip. Fatigue builds over several days of insufficient sleep, making you more vulnerable toward the end of a long haul.

Do you put your life on the line to care for others?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration classifies any person who provides direct or indirect health services as a health care worker. This includes not only hospitals and nursing facilities but also dental offices, laboratories, physicians' offices, residential care, outpatient care facilities and more. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says approximately 18,000 people work in this industry nationwide, and this is about 300,000 more than in 2017.

The list of hazards that health care workers face is endless. If you are working in this fast-growing industry in Illinois, the best way to protect yourself from harm may be to learn more about the typical hazards of the industry. While each division might pose unique risks, some dangers threaten workers across the industry.

Pedestrians in harm's way

If walking is part of your day, whether for transportation, health or enjoyment, you may sometimes feel as if you are invisible to motorists. Even when you use the crosswalks and obey pedestrian signs, you may not be completely safe. You can likely recount many close calls with motorists along your daily walk.

By the time you finish reading this, three pedestrians will seek medical treatment for injuries related to an accident with a motor vehicle. One person may die. If you are between the ages of 15 and 29, you have a greater chance of ending up in the emergency room with injuries from a pedestrian versus vehicle accident. Sadly, the older you get, the higher the probability that you will die from your injuries. Thousands of pedestrians are injured and die each year from traffic accidents that are largely preventable.

Fire isn't the only danger firefighters face

Firefighters are true heroes. Many would say it's a calling. They run into burning buildings without regard for their own safety in order to save the lives of others. They wade into car crashes, industrial accidents and otherwise help people at some of the worst moments of their lives.

If you joined this noble profession, you know to take as many precautions as possible to keep yourself safe while doing your job. You know how to deal with flames, wreckage and injured people, but you may not always be able to protect yourself from another danger: carcinogens.

Paramedics face a range of health hazards

The days of paramedics in Illinois consist of responses to emergencies. During these trips, you typically put your life on the line to save others. Exposure to the hazards of infectious diseases and the risks of contact with bodily fluids and blood of others are par for the course. Also, as a paramedic, you work in a variety of environments, both indoors and outdoors, and frequently among moving vehicles when you deal with crash victims.

As if those do not present enough danger, you will also have to deal with hazardous chemicals, excessive noise and severe psychological stress factors. The fact that you often have to lift and carry patients of varied sizes puts a toll on your body, leading to frequent time off work due to musculoskeletal injuries.

How to steer clear of collision when riding a bicycle

You and your loved ones may be among many other bicycle enthusiasts in Illinois who eagerly await each opportunity for pedaling adventure. Like most conscientious bicycle travelers, you wear appropriate attire and make use of safety equipment to reduce injuries. However, have you ever considered the fact that wearing a bicycle helmet, for instance, cannot help you avoid collision? Helmets definitely help reduce severity of injury, and they are legally required in most states when traveling on public roads, but such equipment cannot keep accidents from occurring.

By understanding what types of situations increase your chances for collision, you may be able to improve travel safety. It's also helpful to have a plan in mind for what to do and where to turn for support if an accident does occur. If you research Illinois bicycle laws ahead of time, you may be able to avoid legal problems down the line. If another person's negligence causes you or your child injury, there are resources available to help you seek recovery for your losses.

You may have heard of product liability, but what exactly is it?

When you go to a store here in Springfield or go online to shop, you probably look around for a product that fits your needs and that doesn't break your wallet. You may assume that, since a particular product is available for sale, the company that made it tested it to ensure its safety.

Then you get it home, use it according to the directions and suffer a serious injury. This is where product liability comes into play. If the product was defective or dangerous due to its design or the manufacturing process, you could make this type of claim. In addition, if the product's labeling, marketing, safety warnings or instructions were inadequate or defective, you may have a product liability claim as well.

The most common types of traffic accidents involving bicycles

If you are one of the many Illinois residents who enjoys cycling, you are likely be aware of the risks you face every time you take to the road. Many drivers of cars and commercial vehicles do not lookout for bicycle riders, nor do they allow cyclists their rightful space on the streets. Unfortunately, this attitude of motor vehicle operators can cause tragic accidents.

Due to the difference in size and the lack of protection for bicycle riders, collisions between automobiles and bicycles often leave the cyclist with catastrophic injuries or worse. When these accidents are the result of a driver's negligence, the injured cyclists should not be the ones liable for their medical bills, lost wages and other damages while trying to recover from the physical harm they suffered.

Are pedestrians facing increased danger?

There are many reasons why Illinois residents would choose to walk as a form of transportation instead of driving or riding in a car. It is easier and can be significantly cheaper to walk, as well providing significant health benefits. While there are more people choosing this mode of transportation, the number of accidents involving pedestrians is on the rise as well.

A new study from the Governor's Highway Safety Association revealed that last year was one of the deadliest for pedestrians in recent history. In fact, almost 6,000 people died in pedestrian accidents in 2016, which is up by 11 percent from the year before. It is more important than ever for pedestrians to know how to protect themselves in the event of an accident with a motor vehicle.

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