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Foote, Mielke, Chavez & O'Neil, LLC
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Government office jobs pose significant risks to employees

Many government workers spend much of their time within an office environment. While office jobs are assumed to be relatively harmless when compared to more dangerous professions, they can actually pose quite a few health risks to workers. For Illinois government employees, being aware of common office-related illness and injury can be very beneficial, especially when seeking compensation for injuries incurred in the workplace.

The National Safety Council lists quite a few office hazards that exist in the modern work environment. Having access to ergonomic equipment is a frequent concern for many office workers due to the risk of repetitive stress injuries (such as carpal tunnel syndrome). This can include items like office chairs that offer sufficient back support when sitting for extended periods, as well as adjustable work stations to best accommodate all employees.

Slips and falls are another common cause of injury within the office. Cluttered office spaces seem to pose the most serious hazard, particularly when walkways and other common areas are hard to navigate. Reaching for items stored on tall shelves can also be a cause of falls. Workers are urged to utilize the proper equipment (such as step ladders) when retrieving high up items to prevent accidents from occurring.

While both employers and employees should take the necessary steps to prevent office accidents, in the event that an injury does occur filing a workers' compensation claim might be in order. The Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission provides guidance regarding these issues, including the steps one should take to file a claim. Injured workers must first notify their employer of injuries no more than 45 days after the incident occurred. If the employer refuses to pay benefits, workers should then file three copies of the Application for Adjustment of Claim with the IWCC. A Proof of Service will also be required to show that the employer has been notified.

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