Illinois is the chosen state for hundreds of chemical manufacturers, and thousands of workers rely on their employers to provide work environments that are free of the typical threats of the industry. Sadly, many employers do not prioritize employee safety. If your safety is at risk in your workplace, it might be smart to gain knowledge about potential hazards and devise a strategy to avoid work-related injury and illness.
Although chemical hazards are significant threats that could cause severe injuries and even death, this sector also poses fall risks to mitigate. If you can understand what types of occupational hazards exist in this industry and why accidents occur, you can start working on your own safety strategy.
Causes of common injuries
Most chemicals with which you work are likely highly flammable and toxic, which makes your work environment inherently dangerous. Chemical burns along with inhalation of chemical fumes probably pose the most significant risks. However, cuts and scrapes, overexertion and slip- or trip-and-fall accidents pose additional hazards. Take note of the primary causes of work-related accidents in this industry:
- Inadequate training: You can ask your employer to provide proper safety training in the handling and storage of chemicals along with safe loading and unloading procedures and equipment operation. Learning what to do in the event of an injury or emergency is also crucial.
- Complacency and human error: Noncompliance with safety protocols and taking shortcuts due to complacency can cause unnecessary human errors.
- Neglected maintenance: The lack of a maintenance schedule can result in malfunctioning equipment that could cause serious injuries. It is crucial to follow the manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations for each machine in the facility.
Strategies for injury prevention
Basic safety strategies can help you to avoid the risks in your workplace, provided you understand the above reasons why accidents happen. Make the following part of your own safety protocol:
- Safety equipment: Insist on having the necessary personal protective equipment, including gloves, face and eye protection, eyewash stations and the appropriate fall protection. Never underestimate the importance of safety equipment.
- Learn safety procedures: It is crucial to be familiar with safety procedures for emergencies. However, it is also essential to know how to operate safety equipment and to avoid taking shortcuts.
- Loading and unloading hazards: This is one area where many injuries occur, especially if there are no designated areas allocated for loading and unloading. You should take extra care during these activities to avoid injuries.
Despite your best efforts, and even with using all the necessary personal protective equipment and safety procedures, you might fall victim to a work-related injury or illness. If you do, the first thing is to get the necessary medical care and then report the injury to your employer. The next step is to set the wheels rolling to obtain workers’ compensation benefits.
You need not tackle this complicated process without help. An experienced Illinois workers’ compensation attorney can navigate your claim for benefits to cover medical expenses and lost wages on your behalf.