As Illinois lawmakers work to reduce workers’ compensation coverage in the state, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration cited Central Transport International Inc. for multiple and repeat violations at its Hillside facility.
The logistics company was in violation for improperly training workers who drive forklifts and not having adequate eyewash stations for employees who could be exposed to chemicals, according to an OSHA press release.
“Deficient forklifts and improperly handled chemicals can lead to serious injuries or death,” said Diane Turek, director of OSHA’s Chicago North office, in the press release.
CTI was cited for four repeat violations totaling fines of $132,000. The company was found to have allowed forklift operators to use equipment that stayed in service even though they had been noted to be deficient.
The company was cited for eight other serious violations with fines of $30,800. Those violations included illegible forklift name plates, unlabeled hazardous materials, and improper training on handling chemicals. A serious violation is one where there is a probability of physical harm or death because of the hazard.
Central Transport also was cited for five violations deemed “other than serious” that totaled fines of another $2,000.
Illinois’ Legislature passed a bill last year that changed the way the state handles workers’ compensation claims. One of the biggest changes has to do with which doctors can be used to determine the nature and severity of an injury. The new law may require an injured worker to pick a doctor from within a preferred provider network.
The state’s new law slices medical fees to hospitals and doctors by 30 percent in hopes of saving about $700 million a year, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Other cost-saving measures include reducing the number of weeks a worker with carpel tunnel syndrome can receive benefits from 40 down to 28.5. Carpel tunnel is a repetitive stress injury that can limit the use of one or both hands. Benefits also are capped at a 15 percent loss for carpel tunnel cases.
The new law also cuts off wage differential, which used to be available over your lifetime. Wage differential is the difference between what you could make before the injury and what you can make after the injury. This is now cut off at 67 years old or five years after the injury, whichever comes later.
The new law does not address causation, or the degree to which an injury was caused by working for the employer. The law did, however, adopt AMA guidelines for determining the degree of injury.
A qualified workers’ compensation attorney can help injured workers understand the complexities of the new law and how to make sure they are compensated for their injuries.
Paul Greenberg is a Chicago workers’ compensation attorney and Chicago workers compensation lawyer with Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. To learn more call 1.877.595.4878 or visit http://www.briskmanandbriskman.com/.