The Chicago Occupational Accident Attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers Represent Injured Textile Mill Workers
Textile Millworkers work in manufacturing facilities producing and processing a variety of finished products including clothing, linens, towels, and other cloth products. The worker uses natural raw fibers like wool and cotton, or synthetic fibers like polyester and nylon alone or in combination to manufacture cloth goods. The worker is required to use bobbins, which are special reels of spun strains of yarn that can be knitted, crochet, woven or pressed.
Based on the manufacturing product, the textile mill employee might work with dyeing and finishing fabric where design is printed, or chemicals are added to prevent easy soiling, wrinkling, fading, or shrinking. Since the beginning of textile fabrics hundreds of years ago, working in a textile mill is extremely labor-intensive, even though most of the specialized equipment now performs most of the job.
Common jobs in a textile mill factory involve:
- Textile Winding – In this position, the worker is expected to twist, draw, and wind textile using tenders, operators, and machine centers. The fabric is drawn out and blended with other materials including synthetic fibers, hemp or wool.
- Textile Knitting/Weaving – The worker is required to knit or weave using tenders, operators, and machine centers that will knit or loop the textile.
- Textile Bleaching/Dyeing – The employee is required to bleach or dye the textile using tenders and machine operators that will reach, dye, watch, or shrink the textile to a finished product.
- Textile Inspecting – As a part of producing a finished product, the employee will likely need to weigh, sample, sort, test and inspect non-agricultural materials and look at assembled products for any deviation, wear and tear or defect that identifies an imperfection.
- First-Line Manager/Supervisors – It is the responsibility of the managers and supervisors on the first-line to coordinate activities, supervise the staff, and oversee worker production involving employees who are inspecting, performing precision work, operating machinery, assembling, and maintaining the plant systems.
Occupational Life-Threatening Dangers
From the 1940s up to the 1970s, many textile mills fabricated finished products that contained asbestos fibers. This practice was stopped nearly entirely due to the exposure risk of life-threatening airborne asbestos particulates it had been identified as extremely hazardous. Even so, many older pieces of equipment, appliances, and machinery used in some textile mills might still be exposing workers to harmful levels of asbestos.
Many of the products made in these textile mills included fire curtains, asbestos rope, welding blankets, roofing felts, oven mitts, fireproof safety clothing, and pot holders. Since then, strict regulations have been implemented on the use of asbestos.
Textile Mill Worker Hazards
According to data maintained by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), textile millworkers face numerous potential deadly hazards that could cause muscle strain, sudden trauma, respiratory problems, and death. Some of the most common hazards associated with the industry include:
- Standing for Hours – Many textile mill employees are required to stand for extended amounts of time on hard surfaces like concrete. These hard surfaces could cause painful or swollen legs and feet, plantar fasciitis, tendinitis (Achilles tendon), varicose veins, heel spurs, shoulder stiffness, neck problems, lower back pain, and knee problems.
- Overexertion – The challenging intensity of manual labor while working in a textile mill requires the employee to grasp repeatedly, pull, push, lift, bend and stretch to reach as a part of their daily work. The employee can easily experience cumulative sprains, strains, and tearing injuries and the sudden trauma of damage caused to soft tissue, ligaments, tendons, and muscles.
- Repetitive Motion Injury (RMI) – This type of injury can develop when performing the same work repeatedly for hours, days, weeks, months and years. The overexertion on ligaments, tendons, and muscles in the fingers, hands, and wrists can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome and muscle fatigue.
- Crushing or Tearing Injury – The mill worker has the potential risk of getting arms, hands, and fingers stuck in the working equipment that could cause crushing and tearing injuries that burn, cut, bruise, or damage the worker’s body.
- Vehicle Injuries – Many pieces of machinery, including forklifts and pallet jacks, are used in the facility to lift and move heavy items. If the forklift operator fails to drive defensively or the employee does not remain alert in their surroundings, accidents with injuries can occur.
- Dust and Fiber Exposure – Textile millworkers are potentially at risk of suffering injury and respiratory problems caused by the inhalation of natural fiber and synthetic fiber dust likely airborne particulates relation working with ball cotton. Associated problems include damage to respiratory function especially when exposed to asbestos dust that could develop mesothelioma or another lung cancer.
- Excessive Noise Levels – Workers exposed to high decibel lawyers for prolonged periods while working in textile mills can suffer a variety of hearing problems including their reversible hearing loss.
- Slip and Fall Incidents – The slippery floor surface inside a textile mill covered with dust or loose fibers can expose the worker to slipping, tripping or falling accidents that might require time away from work to heal.
- Work-Related Explosions and Fires – Floating airborne particles in a textile mill can expose employees to hazardous fire risks.
- Falling Object Injuries – Stacked and bundled materials stored on high shelf overhead can cause serious falling object injuries when security and properly.
Long-Term Respiratory Illness
A report released by the US National Library medicine under the National Institute of Health revealed that many of the 60 million individuals worldwide working in the clothing in the textile industry are exposed to workplace hazards that can cause chronic lung diseases including COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). Research has correlated a connection between the development of byssinosis syndrome (prolonged inhalation of textile fiber dust) and working around cotton and hemp materials.
The findings show that ceasing exposure of fiber dust can lead to a significant improvement in the worker’s lung function. Dangerous materials are known to cause adverse respiratory effects include the exposure to hemp, flax and cotton dust. Many individuals who have suffered byssinosis syndrome experience shortness of breath and tightness in the chest during the initial stages of the condition. When allowed to progress, the syndrome can cause a permanent loss of lung function, sending the worker into early retirement.
Textile Mill Workers' Wages
The annual employment data maintained by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics for the year 2016 revealed that Textile Mill Workers earned on average $30,440 every year. This job-related income is slightly lower compared to national averages. See Chart
OSHA Recognizes Textile Mill Hazards
Since OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) of the US Department of Labor first recognized the hazards of working around the more than 1200 dyes, pigments and other chemicals used to impart color on a wide array of products. OSHA lists specific hazards when working around the dyes that include:
Benzidine-Based Dyes – Nearly all dyes are manufactured using benzidine. Early studies indicated that exposure to benzidine-derived dyes is known to cause bladder cancer in animals and humans. OSHA stated that “Aromatic amines, as a class of chemicals, are carcinogenic. Benzidine is an outstanding carcinogen in this class; it causes cancer in humans, rats, hamsters, and mice."
Carcinogenic Properties of TDI and TDA – Many textile mills use TDI (toluene diisocyanate) and TDA (toluenediamine) during the manufacturing of soft foam material found in a variety of cloth products. However, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), these substances are known to cause “chronic toxicity in animals [that] have produced evidence that cancers associated with exposure…"
Both OSHA and NIOSH urge employers of workers handling these substances to disseminate information concerning the carcinogenic effects of working with dangerous materials in a textile mill. NIOSH also recommends using “appropriate engineering controls and work practices… to minimize exposure workers."
Some workers who suffer injuries through chemical exposure, repetitive motion, excessive noise levels, overexertion and other problems have filed claims for compensation against their employers. However, these cases tend to be highly complex and require the unique skills of a reputable personal injury attorney to ensure the case is filed promptly in the appropriate county courthouse so the victim in their family can receive adequate financial compensation.
We Can Help You with Your Compensation Claim
Our attorneys assist injured Textile Mill Workers recover financial compensation under the IL Worker’s Compensation Act and through civil lawsuits. Call Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers (888-424-5757) now for a Free Case Review.
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