Television dramas often portray the lives of those who work in dangerous jobs. The recent series “Chicago Fire” follows firefighters as they risk their lives to save others and limit property damage. Several years ago, the series “Chicago Code” was all about crime fighting and the dangers associated with law enforcement.
While firefighting and law enforcement are dangerous professions, they are by no means the most dangerous jobs in Chicago. Less glamorous jobs are often where accidents occur and lives are lost.
For example, a worker cleaning a storage tank in suburban Chicago recently lost his life after he fell into the tank, which contained a chemical solvent. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration plans to investigate what caused the death, but it appeared that the failure to wear proper protective gear may have contributed to the accident.
If the employer was negligent in failing to provide proper safety gear, the family of the worker may seek compensation through an Illinois death and dependency claim.
The occupations with the highest numbers of occupational deaths are transportation and material moving, as well as farming and construction, according to the most recent data available from the Illinois Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries and Illnesses.
In 2010, 203 injury-related occupational fatalities were reported in the state of Illinois. This was an increase of 28 percent from 2009. The drastic increase in the number of reported workplace-related deaths might be due to the slowly recovering economy.
Of those killed in workplace accidents, men accounted for approximately 92 percent of the fatalities. Even though men make up about half of the total workforce, they generally work in industries that are more dangerous.
Motor vehicle accidents have traditionally been a leading cause of occupational deaths. Of all the fatalities in 2010, more than a quarter occurred in the field of transportation and material moving.
The federal government, through OSHA, regulates workplaces to make them as safe as possible. When an employee dies because an employer has an unsafe work site, a workers’ compensation claim may be needed to obtain benefits. A third-party claim can also be necessary in some situations. To illustrate the point, consider an auto accident caused when a negligent driver runs a red light and hits and injures a professional driver. In this situation, a third-party claim would go after the negligent driver even as a workers’ comp claim might be filed with the employer’s insurer.
If you have lost a loved one in a workplace accident, contact an experienced attorney. Following a tragic accident, an attorney can guide you through the legal process.