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Work Fire Safety

Posted on August 25, 2021 in

Fires can occur anywhere, including the workplace. Work fires can cause severe and devastating injuries, leading to serious burns, smoke inhalation complications, and other forms of damage, such as internal organ injuries and broken bones. Employers have a responsibility to ensure that workplace environments are safe and comply with fire safety regulations, but employees also have a duty to prevent fires as well. Work fire safety standards are crucial to avoiding fires and protecting employees from severe injuries and potential fatalities.

Fire Safety Standards

The Federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) governs workplace safety and health requirements in Illinois. Under this law, companies with 10 or more employees must have written fire prevention and evacuation plans for their workplace. Smaller employers must communicate these plans orally. 

In addition to these prevention and evacuation plans, Illinois employers should have fire safety elements in place. Your workplace should have working smoke alarms on each floor, fire extinguishers and sprinkler systems, and accessible emergency exits. Proper training and communication of safety procedures are also necessary. If an employer fails to comply with these regulations, serious injuries can occur during a fire.

How to Prevent Fires at Work

Although your employer has an obligation to comply with fire safety regulations, employees can also protect themselves and their coworkers. You can take the following actions to prevent fires and remedy potential hazards.

  • Ensure that all equipment, tools, and appliances are properly maintained.
  • Keep all floors and emergency exits free from objects or debris.
  • Replace any equipment that is old, damaged, or worn.
  • Avoid using open flames in the workplace.
  • Use proper safety techniques while using electrical equipment or hazardous chemicals.
  • Empty trash frequently, sweep dust from floors and surfaces, and keep equipment free from oil.

Compensation Options After a Work Fire

If you are injured in a work fire, the consequences can be dire. You may require extensive medical care, spend weeks or months recovering from this damage, or be unable to return to work at all. However, you may be eligible for a workers’ compensation claim or personal injury lawsuit. 

Through these claims, you can recover compensation for medical expenses, wage replacement, and other losses related to the fire. You can file a workers’ compensation claim after any type of Illinois work injury, regardless of fault, as long as your employer provides this coverage. According to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, an estimated 91% of Illinois employees are covered by workers’ compensation insurance.

In certain circumstances, you may be eligible to file a personal injury claim if someone else’s negligence caused the work fire. For example, if a third-party contractor or a piece of defective equipment started the fire, you could file a claim against the contractor or the manufacturer of the defective product. Employers cannot be held liable in a personal injury lawsuit,  except under the following circumstances.

  • Your employer is required to provide workers’ compensation coverage but failed to purchase it.
  • Your employer intentionally caused the fire and your burn injuries. For example, your employer set the fire or assaulted you by burning you with a hot object.

If you are involved in a work fire, it is important to seek help as soon as possible. Seek medical attention and save all records related to your treatment and injuries. Once you receive treatment, contact a Chicago workplace injury lawyer as soon as possible. A Chicago personal injury attorney can guide you through the claims process and help you secure the compensation you need to recover.