Job Retraining

Moving Beyond Injury, Opening New Doors

A third-generation glazier, John spent 15 years installing commercial windows. A strong six-foot-six and talented at his trade, he was a highly requested worker at job sites. But John suffered a serious concussion and complicated shoulder and neck injuries after a steel beam was dropped on his head while he stood on scaffolding.

His injuries resulted in a long recuperation, during which he battled blinding headaches and neck pain. His doctor determined that John would not be able to return to glazing without risking permanent disability. With a young family to support, and having enjoyed his trade, John went through the same feelings of depression, shock and anxiety that other victims of workplace injuries often experience when unable to return to their jobs. Finally, John was told he had rights to help finding a new career. . .

Job Rehabilitation Benefits

As an Illinois worker, if you cannot return to your former job because of limitations caused by your work-related injury, you are entitled to assistance in finding other employment. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act requires that your employer pay for vocational rehabilitation in addition to paying for the medical care which you need for treatment of your injuries.

Vocational rehabilitation is a retraining program designed to help you acquire the skills necessary to return to suitable gainful employment consistent with your physical limitations. Some of the services to which you may be entitled include:

  • Vocational Counseling—working with an occupational therapist to evaluate your skills, abilities and interests and to create a plan for finding employment
  • Job matching—includes matching your skills and interests to jobs for which you would qualify
  • Wage-assessment evaluations
  • Transferable-skills analysis and testing
  • Job-search assistance
  • Resume services
  • Interview coaching
  • Ergonomics assessment
  • On-the-job training
  • Education and tuition payments for retraining in anew occupation.

You are also entitled to receive weekly lostwage benefits during the entire retraining period.

Employee Responsibility

If you qualify for vocational rehabilitation, you should accept the services, cooperate with retraining efforts and make a valid attempt to return to suitable employment. A refusal to participate may result in a reduction or suspension of your wage-loss benefits during the time you refuse services.

Possible Roadblocks

Some aggressive workers’ compensation benefit companies put pressure on injured workers to return to their jobs too early or may try to limit or deny such critical workers’ compensation benefits as healthcare expenses, MRIs or CT scans, lost wages or long-term physical therapy, in addition to attempting to deny job retraining.

If you encounter obstacles to obtaining the care and benefits you need while on workers’ compensation, contact STYKA & STYKA, LLC at (312) 357-8000. We stand up to the insurance companies that try to deny or limit our clients’ rightful claims to workers’ compensation benefits.

Most Dangerous Jobs in the U.S.

Ask people on the street what they think is the most dangerous job in the United States, and many will mention the fishermen of the Northeast, the oil rig workers in the Gulf of Mexico, or the miners in West Virginia or Utah. But Chicago workers labor daily in many of our country’s most dangerous jobs. Is one of them yours?

Unlike a century ago, millions of Americans go to work and return home uninjured at the end of the day. Increased government regulations, identified safety hazards, and implementation of safety procedures and equipment have all helped reduce workplace fatalities and injuries from their frightening highs at the beginning of the 1900s.

Some Jobs Are Unavoidably Dangerous

Despite the advances in health and safety regulations and equipment, in 2006, workplace injuries still claimed the lives of 5,703 people. An additional 4.3 million Americans suffered nonfatal, work-related injuries and illnesses that, for many, resulted in lost work days, job transfers, or restricted duties.

Many of the Top 10 Hazardous Jobs have several underlying dangers in common: weather, exposure to caustic substances or toxic chemicals, and/or extreme heights.


Throughout history, fishermen have been admired for bravely facing choppy waters, inclimate weather, slippery decks, and falls overboard with no help nearby. The fatal accidents and injuries that plagued fishermen three hundred years ago still, to a great extent, haunt today’s fishermen. Many fatal injuries to loggers, agricultural laborers, refuse & recycling workers, truckers, and power line workers are caused in part by poor weather, including high winds, extreme temperatures, and driving rain or snow.

Caustic Substances & Hazardous Chemicals

While it remains true that flying is safer than driving, crop duster pilots are at high risk of diseases caused by exposure to chemical toxins. Agricultural workers, factory and manufacturing plant employees, fire fighters, construction workers, and many others are at increased risk for fatal exposure to caustic or allergenic substances. Accidental inhalation or prolonged exposure to these substances accounted for 153 deaths in 2006.

High Wire Acts

Working at any height can be dangerous. Most deaths from work falls occur from roofs, followed by those from ladders, scaffolding, and girders and affect all types of construction workers, glaziers, roofers, window washers, commercial painters, and rescue workers.

America’s Top 10 Dangerous Jobs

  1. Fishermen
  2. Logging Workers
  3. Airplane Pilots & Flight Engineers
  4. Farmers & Ranchers
  5. Mining Machine Operators
  6. Roofers
  7. Sanitation Workers
  8. Truck Drivers & Delivery Workers
  9. Industrial Machine Workers
  10. Police Officers
  11. Source: Risk Management Monitor

Most Dangerous Jobs in the U.S., 2011 Data

Ask people on the street what they think is the most dangerous job in the United States, and many will mention the fishermen of the Northeast, the oil rig workers in the Gulf of Mexico, or the miners in West Virginia or Utah. But the Top 10 Most Dangerous Jobs, based on the work accident fatality rate compiled by the U.S. Department of Labor, include many jobs that Chicagoans might have. Is one of them yours?

(The fatality rate is calculated as work-related deaths per 100,000 employees.)

1. Fishermen/women:
Fatality Rate: 121.2
Median pay: $12.30 per hour

2. Logging Workers:
Fatality Rate: 102.4
Median pay: $15.80 per hour

3. Aircraft Pilots & Flight Engineers:
Fatality Rate: 57
Median pay: $92,060 per year

4. Refuse & Recycling Collectors:
Fatality Rate: 41.2
Median pay: $10.85 per hour

5. Roofers:
Fatality Rate: 31.8
Median pay: $16.45 per hour

6. Structural Iron & Steel Workers:
Fatality Rate: 26.9
Median pay: $21.42 per hour

7. Farmers & Ranchers:
Fatality Rate: 25.3
Median pay: $29.21 per hour

8. Drivers/Sales People & Truckers:
Fatality Rate: 24
Median pay: $13 per hour

9. Electrical Power Line Installers & Repair:
Fatality Rate: 20.3
Median pay: $26.10 per hour

10. Taxi Drivers & Chauffeurs:
Fatality Rate: 19.7
Median pay: $10.79 per hour.

The Most Stressful Jobs of 2013

The Wall Street Journal traditionally produced an annual list of the most stressful jobs in the U.S., until it outsourced the list to, which now uses its vast job database and more than 100 criteria to arrive at the annual “Most Stressful” list.

Among the criteria, the company focuses on 11 demands that significantly increase the amount of stress involved in a job, including travel, growth potential, competitiveness, physical demands, hazards, environmental conditions, and risk to one’s own life or to the lives of others.

Top 10 Stressful Jobs

  1. Enlisted Military Personnel
    Median salary $46,000 (with 8 years of experience)
  2. Military General
    Median salary $196,000
  3. Firefighter
    Median salary $42,000
  4. Commercial Airline Pilot
    Median salary $92,000
  5. Public Relations Executive
    Median salary $58,000
  6. Senior Corporate Executive
    Median salary $101,000
  7. Photojournalist
    Median salary $29,000
  8. Newspaper Reporter
    Median salary $36,000
  9. Taxi Driver
    Median salary $22,000
  10. Police Officer
    Median salary $55,000

The Hazards of the Being a School Bus Driver

Hearing Loss & Worker’s Compensation

“Hail to the Bus Driver
bus driver, bus driver
Hail to the Bus Driver
bus driver man”

Most people know one version or other of this 50-year old tune. But the much-maligned “Bus Driver Man (or Woman)” is at greater risk of slipping in the snack-wrapper laden aisle of his or her bus, than of “stinking up” the bus.

In addition to motor vehicle accidents, which account for about one-third of bus driver injuries, OSHA reports that the most common school bus driver workers’ compensation claims involve slips, trips, and falls. Cluttered aisles, slippery walks, and falls up or down the bus stairs all lead to a variety of driver injuries.

Lower back pain is the most common musculoskeletal injury claim among bus drivers, mainly related to the long periods of sitting, strong engine vibrations, and from lifting and maneuvering students with disabilities. Setting and releasing school bus parking brakes can cause sore or seriously injured right shoulders, elbows, or wrists. This is because the parking brakes on most buses require an extended reach and a high push/pull force to operate. Drivers must repeat this action with each pickup and drop off.

Like on-site school staff, bus drivers are also at risk for workplace violence and threats. A U.S. Bureau of Justice survey found that more than 100,000 school bus drivers were victims of workplace violence over the 6-year period of 1993-1999. While some school districts can afford to pay support staff to ride bus during routine morning and afternoon routes, most school bus drivers are alone with students during regular routes. OSHA suggests that these drivers have a communication system in place and request installation of cameras on buses.

Reporting Injuries & Threats

The method for reporting work-related injuries and threats depends on where a bus driver is employed. Many are employed by school districts that own their own fleet of buses; others are employed by bus companies contracted to a district. No matter whether a driver works for a district or a contractor, he or she needs to know how and where to report any injury or incident experienced on the job.

To obtain maximum workers’ compensation benefits, always contact your attorney at Styka & Styka immediately following a work-related injury at (312) 357-8000.