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Are you a machinist or metalworker in Illinois? You are surely aware that a risk of injury comes with your occupation. Despite intensive training, advanced safeguards, and a company’s focus on safety, accidents do happen whether they are from overuse or the risks of the job.  We have been privileged to represent thousands of machine workers in the last 20 years including many great union workers.

According to OSHA and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers that operate machinery experience approximately 18,000 crushing injuries, lacerations, amputations, and abrasions per year. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common injuries in machine shops.

Repetitive injuries
Often a machinist is engaging in a repetitive motion. Repetitive movements can cause a gradual buildup of damage to muscles, tendons, and nerves. These injuries are classified as repetitive strain injuries (RSI), occupational overuse syndrome (OOS), repetitive motion disorder (RMD), and cumulative trauma disorder (CTD).  We see a lot of problems develop to the back and arms from repetitive use.

Lifting injuries
Material handling and lifting can cause muscle strains and ligament sprains, disc prolapses and disc herniations. The back and shoulder are often injured, but the elbow and wrist are common injury spots as well.

Chemical exposure and lung diseases
Certain injuries develop over time due to chemical exposure and/or poor ventilation. For example, welders have protective gear such as helmets and face masks, but they may still come in contact with harmful gases such as carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide, and ozone. They may develop pneumonia, occupational asthma, or even cancer.

Grinders, sanders, and finishers are also at risk. Again, even with proper safety equipment, they may breathe in shrapnel, dust, or other airborne matter.

Injuries caused by hand tools
Machine workers often utilize a variety of hand tools such as files, calipers, grinders, sanders, and saws. Excessive use or repetitive motion with these tools are one source of injury, as referenced above. In addition, the tools themselves and particles or sparks flying off of the tools can be a direct source of injury.

Regardless of the injury, it is critical for the injured worker to seek medical help immediately. It is often the case that the sooner an injury is evaluated and treated, the better chance there is for recovery and better health down the road.  Under Illinois law, 100% of your medical bills should be paid by workers comp and you should be compensated for your time off from work too.

If you have suffered an injury at a machine or metalworking shop, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We will speak with you for free and help you get the compensation you deserve. Fill out our contact form or call us at 888-705-1766.