Posted On: September 27, 2006

Your Health and Safety at Work FAQ

What's Below:

What laws protect my right to a safe workplace?


What rights does the OSH Act, implemented by OSHA, give me?


What steps should I take if I'm injured at work?


Does OSHA protect against the harmful effects of tobacco smoke in the workplace?


What laws protect my right to a safe workplace?



Federal and state laws protect you from an unsafe workplace. The main federal law covering threats to workplace safety is the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (the "OSH Act" -- 29 U.S.C. § 651 and following). The OSH Act gives you a number of rights if you think that something unsafe is happening in your workplace.


Most state laws track the federal law fairly closely. To find out about workplace safety laws in your state, contact your state labor department.


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What rights does the OSH Act, implemented by OSHA, give me?



If your workplace poses an imminent threat to your life, the OSH Act gives you the right to refuse to work.


Even if your workplace does not pose imminent danger, however, the OSH Act gives you many important rights. You can benefit from these rights only if you understand and assert them.


The following is just a sample of some of your rights under the Act:



  • You can get training from your employer on the health and safety standards that your employer must follow.

  • You can get training from your employer on any dangerous chemicals you are exposed to and on ways you can protect yourself from harm.

  • You can get training from your employer on any other health and safety hazards (such as construction hazards or bloodborne pathogens) that might exist in your workplace.

  • You can request information from your employer about OSH Act standards, worker injuries and illnesses, job hazards, and workers' rights.

  • You can directly request your employer to cure any hazards or OSH Act violations.

  • You can file a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

  • You can request that OSHA inspect your workplace.

  • You can find out the results of an OSHA inspection.

  • You can file a complaint with OSHA if your employer retaliates against you for asserting your rights under the act.

  • You can request the federal government to research possible workplace hazards.


For more information on OSHA or to get contact information for your nearest OSHA office, visit the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration website, at

www.osha.gov.


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What steps should I take if I'm injured at work?



If you have been injured at work by a hazard that should be eliminated before it injures someone else, take the following steps as quickly as possible after obtaining the proper medical treatment.



  • Immediately file a claim for workers' compensation benefits so that your medical bills will be paid and you will be compensated for your lost wages and injury. In some states, the amount you receive from a workers' comp claim will be larger if a violation of a state workplace safety law contributed to your injury.


  • Point out to your employer that a continuing hazard or dangerous condition exists. As with most workplace safety complaints, the odds of getting your employer to resolve the problem will be greater if other employees join in your complaint.

  • If your employer does not eliminate the hazard promptly, file a complaint with OSHA and any state or local agency that you think may be able to help. For example, if your complaint is about hazardous waste disposal, you may be able to track down a specific local group that has been successful in investigating similar complaints in the past.

  • If the hazard poses an imminent life threat to you or other workers, you can call OSHA's emergency telephone line at 800-321-OSHA (6742).


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Does OSHA protect against the harmful effects of tobacco smoke in the workplace?



OSHA rules apply to tobacco smoke only in rare and extreme circumstances, such as when contaminants created by a manufacturing process combine with tobacco smoke to create a dangerous workplace air supply that fails OSHA standards. Workplace air quality standards and measurement techniques are so technical that, typically, only OSHA agents or consultants who specialize in environmental testing are able to determine when the air quality falls below allowable limits.


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Posted On: September 26, 2006

Elder Abuse - Possible Indicators of Abuse, Neglect, or Exploitation

The following descriptions are not necessarily proof of abuse, neglect, or exploitation. But they may be clues that a problem exists, and that a report needs to be made to law enforcement or Adult Protective Services.

Physical Signs

* Injury that has not been cared for properly
* Injury that is inconsistent with explanation for its cause
* Pain from touching
* Cuts, puncture wounds, burns, bruises, welts
* Dehydration or malnutrition without illness-related cause
* Poor coloration
* Sunken eyes or cheeks
* Inappropriate administration of medication
* Soiled clothing or bed
* Frequent use of hospital or health care/doctor-shopping
* Lack of necessities such as food, water, or utilities
* Lack of personal effects, pleasant living environment, personal items
* Forced isolation

Behavioral Signs

* Fear
* Anxiety, agitation
* Anger
* Isolation, withdrawal Depression
* Non-responsiveness, resignation, ambivalence
* Contradictory statements, implausible stories
* Hesitation to talk openly
* Confusion or disorientation

Signs by Caregiver

* Prevents elder from speaking to or seeing visitors
* Anger, indifference, aggressive behavior toward elder
* History of substance abuse, mental illness, criminal behavior, or family violence
* Lack of affection toward elder
* Flirtation or coyness as possible indicator of inappropriate sexual relationships
* Conflicting accounts of incidents
* Withholds affection
* Talks of elder as a burden

Signs of Financial Abuse

* Frequent expensive gifts from elder to caregiver
* Elder's personal belongings, papers, credit cards missing
* Numerous unpaid bills
* A recent will when elder seems incapable of writing will
* Caregiver's name added to bank account
* Elder unaware of monthly income
* Elder signs on loan
* Frequent checks made out to "cash"
* Unusual activity in bank account
* Irregularities on tax return
* Elder unaware of reason for appointment with banker or attorney
* Caregiver's refusal to spend money on elder
* Signatures on checks or legal documents that do not resemble elder's signature

Posted On: September 22, 2006

Dealing With Unsafe Conditions at Work by Attorney Amy DelPo

Steps to take if you think conditions at your workplace pose a hazard to your health or safety.

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (the OSH Act) and similar state laws spell out your rights in the event of a workplace hazard. How to deal with the unsafe condition depends on how immediate and serious the danger is.
If You Are in Imminent Danger

If you think your life is in imminent danger because of a workplace hazard, you have the right to refuse to work. You should also immediately call the emergency telephone line of the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (known as OSHA), at 800-321-OSHA (6742). Of course, if you or a coworker needs immediate medical attention, call 911.

How do you know if an imminent danger exists? All of the following must be true:

* you believe that performing your work poses a real danger of death or serious physical injury
* your employer refuses to correct the problem, and
* there isn't enough time to eliminate the danger through other means, such as requesting an OSHA inspection.

In some states, you have the right to refuse to work even if the harm is not life threatening. To find out about workplace safety laws in your state, contact your state labor department.
If You Are Not in Imminent Danger

If the danger is not imminent, the first thing you should do is ask your employer to take care of the problem. It is possible that your employer doesn't know about the hazard and will deal with the situation promptly. Be sure to document your request -- either by making the request in writing or by writing down notes for yourself of the date that you made the request, the name of the person to whom you made it, and a summary of what you and the person said.

If you are afraid to go to your employer, skip this step and complain directly to OSHA or a similar state agency.

If your employer does nothing -- or takes action against you for complaining about the hazard -- your next step is to complain to OSHA or a similar state agency. For information on how to file an OSHA complaint, including a complaint form you can file online or download and file by fax or mail, see "How to File a Complaint with OSHA" on the OSHA website. You can give your name or make the complaint anonymously.

Both federal and state law prohibit your employer from retaliating against you if you properly refuse to work, if you complain about a health and safety violation, or if you otherwise assert your rights under these laws.

For more information on federal law, visit www.osha.gov. For more information on state law, contact your state labor department.

Posted On: September 18, 2006

Articles & FAQs

Dealing With Unsafe Conditions
Steps to take if you think conditions at your workplace pose a hazard to your health or safety.

Elder Abuse - Possible Indicators of Abuse, Neglect, or Exploitation
The following descriptions are not necessarily proof of abuse, neglect, or exploitation. But they may be clues that a problem exists, and that a report needs to be made to law enforcement or Adult Protective Services.

Health and Safety FAQ

How Dog Owners Can Avoid Being Bitten by a Lawsuit
If you've got a dog, take some simple steps to prevent injuries -- and legal headaches.

Landlord Liability for Tenant Injuries FAQ

Landlord Liability: Insurance FAQ
How insurance can help protect a rental property business.

Make Notes About Your Accident and Injuries
Writing down the details is far easier -- and more accurate -- than relying on your memory.

Notify People Who May Be Responsible for Your Injuries
If you intend to file a claim for your injuries, it's important to notify potential defendants after the accident.

Preserve Evidence of Fault and Damages
Act quickly to protect evidence and find witnesses who can help you prove your case to an insurance company.

Proving Fault for Defective Product Injuries
If you've been injured by a dangerous consumer product, it's usually not hard to recover compensation for your injuries.

Proving Fault in Slip and Fall Accidents
These guidelines will help you determine who is responsible if you slip or trip and fall on someone else's property.

Traffic Accidents FAQ

Workers' Compensation FAQ

Posted On: September 13, 2006

Helpful Resources

Articles & FAQs

Posted On: September 4, 2006

Practice Areas

* Personal Injury
o Wrongful Death
o Car Accidents
o Motorcycle Accidents
o Injuries to Police Officers
o Brain Injuries
o Airplane Accidents
o Railroad Accidents
o Construction Injuries
* Medical Malpractice
o Physician Error
o Birth Trauma
o Failure To Diagnose Cancer
o Nursing Malpractice & Nursing Home Abuse
o Surgical Malpractice
o Anesthesia Malpractice
o Drug Reactions
* Product Liability
o Medical Devices
o Defective Machinery
o Food and Drugs
* Legal Malpractice/Failure to File
* Childhood Sexual Abuse
o Sexual Abuse By Family Member
o Sexual Abuse By Clergy
o Sexual Abuse By Teacher or Coach

Posted On: September 1, 2006

Recent Settlements - Our Successes

Police Officer making a DUI arrest suffered fractures to his ankle as a result of victim falling on him; $95,000.00;

Roselle, IL woman whose kidneys failed because her doctor who prescribed lithium and failed to monitor kidney functions; $3,215,000.00;

Wheeling, IL girl fell at a Mount Prospect, IL fast food restaurant and sustained an epidural hematoma; $105,000.00;

Roselle, IL woman's auto accident resulted in right-sided cervical radiculopathy affecting the right C6 and possibly the right C7 nerve root, due to herniated disk at C5-C6 on the right side; $201,000.00;

Streamwood, IL plaintiff w/slip and fall at a Hoffman Estates, IL Dominick's on wet floor - 8/6/97 resulting in minor drop foot; $165,000.00;

Police officer injured in motorcycle accident resulting in left shoulder and left elbow injuries; right Achilles tendon tear; left rotator cuff injury; greenstick fracture of jaw and low back pain; partial tear of subscapularis; subacromial decompression distal clavicle resection; (ii) left elbow - release of extensor carpi radialis brevis; $435,000.00;

Huntley, IL woman fell on slippery substance at a fuel island when she stopped to refuel truck. X-ray cervical spine showed bulging discs at L3-4 and L4-5 and small disc herniation at L5-S1 on left; Evaluation of cervical spine MRI reveals degenerative disc disease at C4-5, 5-6 & 6-7; MRI of lumbosacral spine reveals degenerative disc disease at L3-4, 4-5 & 5-1; EMG reveals mild to moderate right C5 & C6 radiculopathy; $250,000.00;

Schaumburg, IL girl suffered dog bite to face in Palatine, IL, requiring plastic surgery; minor scarring; $150,000.00;

Addison, IL woman w/disk injury from car accident in Bloomingdale, IL; $100,000;

Elgin, IL woman stopped at train crossing hit from behind - suffered a central disc protrusion with compression of the anterior of the thecal sac and disc bulges at C4-5 and C5-6;

River Grove, IL pedestrian hit by motorist turning into intersection - fractured left tibia and fractured finger;

Yuma, AZ man w/broken wrist due to aggressive celebrity bodyguards who thought he was taking photos of celebrities they were guarding;

Elk Grove Village, IL woman left with scar on forehead in auto accident;

Man left with deformed thumb Bensenville, IL woman's finger cut off in accident when man slammed car door on her;

Woman dislocated left shoulder in auto accident requiring surgery; Hoffman Estates, IL woman suffered fracture of the right distal radius in auto accident;

Hanover Park, IL minor suffered multiple trauma; contusion of the left side of face; fracture of the distal radius (left wrist); blunt abdominal trauma w/intraperitoneal bleeding & ruptured spleen while swinging from a zipcord on public property;

Bartlett, IL woman suffered pain in both arms and right knee from auto accident;

Bartlett, IL woman suffered pain in neck and back; right shoulder and left ankle as a passenger in an auto accident;

Des Plaines, IL man suffered trauma to left leg (fibula contusion), ankle sprain, bruised/sore thigh, sore knee, sore/stiff neck, & back sprain. Leg suffered clotting that had to be removed. Bartlett, IL woman suffered neurological disc disease after being hit from behind while stopped at stoplight. Rolling Meadows, IL man suffered right wrist nondisplaced fracture of the distal radius and fracture of the ulnar styloid falling off defective restaurant stool;

Elk Grove Village, IL woman suffered eye injury when apartment door fell from hinges;

Bartlett, IL man suffered severe cervical injury, bulging discs at L-4 and L-5 when struck by a car turning into him at intersection;

Orland Park, IL husband suffered acute lumbosacral strain and fractured ribs and his wife suffered right clavicle fracture; multiple abrasions and contusions; mild disc bulging at C5-C6 intervertebral disc; bruised tailbone, bruised abdomen; migraine headaches and right upper back pain when an auto collided with them;

Hanover Park, IL minor fractured nose when defective door at restaurant hit her in the face;

Streamwood, IL woman suffered right and left knee injuries; facial cuts and bruises; right knee required arthroscopy and partial medial meniscectomy; chondroplasty of the lateral tibial plateau, patellae, trochlear groove; total knee replacement when struck by auto running a red light when she was turning;

Bartlett, IL man's finger became deformed by a defective shopping cart at retail store;

Mount Prospect, IL woman suffered a rotator cuff tear after falling on poorly carpeted stairs at opera house;

Palatine, IL suffered illness when prescription was incorrectly filled;

Mount Prospect, IL man suffered right and left knee injuries; facial cuts and bruises; right knee required arthroscopy and partial medial meniscectomy; chondroplasty of the lateral tibial plateau, patellae, trochlear groove; total knee replacement when auto struck him while making a turn;

Streamwood, IL man suffered injuries to his ankle following a dog bite;

Schaumburg, IL man bit by dog suffered injuries to leg;

Streamwood, IL woman was trimming tree in her own yard when neighbor dog jumped up and bit her in arm causing permanent scarring and nerve damage;

Schaumburg, IL woman suffered fracture of the C6 cervical vertebra while a passenger in car hit by another auto;

Schaumburg, IL man suffered injuries to right and left arms and hips when struck by a bus;

Chicago, IL man suffered fractured wrist when his brand new engine seized throwing him from his motorcycle;

No. Aurora, IL man suffered severed burns to his legs after being burned by a home health care nurse;

Schaumburg, IL man suffered a comminuted nondisplaced fracture of distal fibular metaphysics when another party jumped on him;

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