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Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer coronavirus COVID-19The coronavirus pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives. Stay-at-home orders have required many people to minimize contact with others in order to avoid becoming infected or spreading the disease. However, many workers at “essential businesses” have been required to risk exposure, and doctors and nurses, as well as employees at grocery stores, restaurants, and other important areas of the economy, have bravely placed themselves in harm’s way to ensure that others receive the care and services they need. Even when precautions are taken to minimize the risk of infection for these workers, some have contracted COVID-19, and they and their families are likely wondering about whether they will be able to receive workers’ compensation or if they have other legal options to address the harm they have experienced.

Recent Lawsuits Demonstrate the Difficulties Faced by Workers

Many employees of essential businesses are concerned about the possibility that they may be exposed to the coronavirus, become ill, or pass the infection to family members. In some cases, workers have experienced significant harm or died after contracting COVID-19. On April 6, 2020, the estate of a man who worked at a Walmart Supercenter in Cook County filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Walmart after the man died from complications related to COVID-19. The lawsuit alleges that Walmart acted negligently in a variety of ways, including failing to properly disinfect the store, provide employees with personal protective equipment, follow social distancing guidelines, or evaluate and respond to employees who showed symptoms of infection.

In another lawsuit, a nurse who worked at Northwestern Memorial Hospital claimed that she was wrongfully terminated by her employer after raising concerns about the masks provided to hospital employees. She stated that she was fired after bringing her own N95 mask to work and informing other employees that the masks distributed to employees by the hospital were less effective in preventing COVID-19 infections.

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DuPage County work area injury attorney

It is no secret that construction work is a dangerous job. However, people may not realize just how dangerous it can be and how often construction accidents and injuries occur. In 2017, more than 20% of all work-related fatalities occurred in construction. That is, one out of every five people killed in workplace accidents were construction workers. 

Falls are the leading cause of fatalities for construction workers, accounting for over one third of all deaths. Due to the risks of falls, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has put regulations in place to provide protections for workers.

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Lake County popcorn lung attorneyIn 2000, a number of workers at a Missouri facility that manufactured microwave popcorn developed a lung condition called bronchitis obliterans. This illness, which has become known as “popcorn lung,” was caused by the inhalation of a chemical used in popcorn flavoring. Despite its name, popcorn lung can have a variety of causes. Those who experience this condition may be able to hold a negligent employer or product manufacturer responsible for their injuries. 

What Causes Popcorn Lung?

A person may contract popcorn lung after being exposed to a number of different substances, including:

  • Diacetyl - This chemical was responsible for injuring the workers at the aforementioned popcorn plant, and it is often used for flavoring in food products like candy, potato chips, and dairy products. It is also commonly found in the “e-juice” used in electronic cigarettes and vape pens. While its use has been banned in e-cigarettes in Europe, it is still regularly used in the U.S.

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Cook County electrocution injury attorney

Electric shocks can cause devastating injuries, and people in certain occupations are at a higher risk of being electrocuted. In fact, electrocution is the sixth most common cause of workplace fatalities in the United States, and 54% of the deaths caused by electrocution are suffered by workers in the construction industry. If you have experienced an electrocution injury while working, you should be sure to understand your legal options for recovering compensation.

Effects of Electrocution

The injuries that occur when electricity flows through the body can vary depending on the type and amount of electrical current and the parts of the body affected. Some  common injuries include:

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Will County construction accident attorneyEveryone expects and deserves to be safe while they are at work. Unfortunately, some occupations are more dangerous than others, and many workers accept some level of risk as part of their day to day job. Those who work in the construction industry are particularly in danger of being injured while on the job, with fall injuries being especially common and dangerous. Workers should be aware of the risks of construction site accidents and the steps they should take after being injured to ensure they receive the proper financial compensation.

Construction Site Fall Injury Prevention

Falls at construction sites often result in serious and fatal injuries for workers, and many of these accidents are preventable. According to data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), falls accounted for 370 of 991 total construction accident deaths in 2016. These include falls from a roof, to a lower level, from a vehicle or construction equipment, or from ladders or scaffolding

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations are meant to ensure that construction workers are safe from fall injuries. Employers and subcontractors are required to assess hazards in the workplace, take steps to prevent fall hazards, provide workers with fall protection equipment (such as guardrails, safety nets, and safety harnesses), and ensure that workers are properly trained in using this equipment. 

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