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Why reporting a work-related accident to OSHA is important

Many people in Illinois are injured every year in work-related accidents. Employers are required by Illinois law to have workers' compensation insurance, or be self-insured for workers compensation benefits. When a worker has an accident on the job, they are entitled to recover benefits for lost wages and medical expenses. In the event that the worker is killed, his or her family members also have the legal right to claim workers' compensation survivor benefits.

Workers' compensation benefits are paid regardless of whether the employer was at fault. Nonetheless state and federal agencies responsible for workplace safety require employers to report serious work-related accidents. The reporting obligation does not affect the employer's obligation to pay benefits. A government investigation may, however, identify safety violations that caused the accident and prevent similar accidents from occurring in the future.

In most cases of fatal work-related accidents government agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Department of Labor get involved. Any work-related fatality will need to be brought to the attention of OSHA within the first eight hours of the incident's occurrence. A serious injury should be reported to OSHA within 24 hours. It is generally the responsibility of the employer to report all such injuries and fatalities, stating the number as well as the nature of the injuries, along with the place and time of the incidents. If the investigation shows the accident was caused by an employer's violation of safety regulations, the employer may be hit with a significant monetary penalty.

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