No matter what industry you work in, you face certain hazards in the workplace. If you work in construction, this includes falls from heights; if you work in an office, you might experience carpal tunnel. Because these injuries are commonplace, there are typically measures in place designed to increase worker safety.
However, injuries received in more uncommon situations can prove to be just as devastating for Illinois workers. But because they are less frequent than other types of work-related harm, those injuries can be more difficult to anticipate and prevent.
Unexpected work hazards
Regardless of where you work, you may not anticipate the following types of injuries you might suffer on the job.
- Physical or sexual assault: A coworker, customer, service provider or supervisor can attack an employee while on the job. in Illinois, however, injury from a workplace assault is not automatically compensable. It must arise out of employment and, in the case of a fight, the employee must not have been the aggressor.
- Exposure to natural elements: Construction workers, roofers, agricultural workers, plumbers, utility workers and people who work in other similar industries must often work outside and with hazardous natural elements. They can be in danger of experiencing burns, hypothermia, fallen trees, lightning, stinging insects and other outdoor hazards.
- Animal bites and attacks: Unless you regularly work with animals in the course of your job, you likely would not anticipate an attack from a wild or domesticated animal.
- Allergic reactions: Everything from specific foods to perfume and latex as well as a variety of chemicals and gases that may be used in a production or industrial environment can trigger severe allergic reactions in the workplace.
Challenges of liability
When an injury is uncommon or occurs because of an unusual incident, liability questions may be complicated. For instance, in the context of an assault in the workplace, Illinois law almost always directs that workers’ compensation is still the exclusive legal remedy, but some very narrow exceptions exist.
Because of challenges that can arise when it comes to understanding whether an injured worker’s legal options after a work injury are limited to workers’ compensation as the exclusive remedy, legal guidance can prove to be crucial.