Common workplace injuries

About three million workplace injuries occur each year, with the Occupational Safety & Health Administration reporting about 4,500 workplace deaths occur from sudden traumatic injuries. Some occupations inherently have a higher rate of employee injury and death than others; government statistics show that construction workers have the highest risk of suffering a workplace injury.

Worker injury verdicts for two suffocated in grain bin

 In an unusual worker injury case, two teenagers literally suffocated to death in corn and a third employee was injured while working at a Haasbach LLC grain elevator in Carroll County, Illinois. The three were in a grain bin to help the flow of corn while machinery was operating. Suddenly, 14-year-old Wyatt Whitebread began shouting for help as he was being swallowed up by the corn as if it were quicksand.

NFL study used in worker brain injury case

An Illinois man who suffered a severe brain injury on the job when a pile of lumber fell on him from three stories above settled the case for $5.1 million recently. But the unusual facet of the litigation was evidence used by lawyers for Willie Wakefield, 56, after he was injured at a Chicago workplace. His lawsuit hinged on evidence of brain injuries suffered by employees in an entirely different line of work – football.

Injured garage tech awarded $4M

 A jury in Illinois handed down a $4.16 million verdict against the City of Elmhurst in a workplace injury case. The verdict, a record in DuPage County in a non-medical malpractice case, went to a garage door technician, Joshua Jaeger, who was severely injured in a 2009 fall from city equipment while estimating repairs on a broken garage door spring at the public works garage. It was a city employee who hoisted Jaeger 16 feet on a platform to inspect the spring when the platform fell to the concrete floor below.

BP still paying over Texas explosion

Seven years after a deadly explosion at an oil refinery in Texas City, BP Plc has agreed to pay another $13 million to settle fines over safety violations revealed in the aftermath of the tragedy. The explosion left 15 workers dead and 170 others injured. It occurred when a cloud of volatile hydrocarbon vapor ignited around portable work trailers after being released by an octane-boosting unit during a restart. An investigation completed in 2009 uncovered a rash of safety violations and the government announced it was seeking $87.4 million in fines against the British company.

Injury, employer retaliation nets worker $1M

A railroad jack falling on a worker’s foot and breaking his big toe wasn’t that big of a deal – until the Metro-North Railroad in Connecticut disciplined the worker for reporting his injury. A jury recently awarded Andy Barati $50,000 for lost earnings and pain and suffering in the incident. But it went further, much further, also awarding more than $1 million in punitive damages in what was reported by the Associated Press as the first verdict under the Federal Rail Safety Act. That law forbids retaliation against workers who report violations or workplace injuries.