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Van Nuys Workers' Compensation Blog

Workplace injuries can happen due to shortcuts involving safety

Workplace accidents and injuries are a reality of life in California. Accidents happen and cannot always be prevented, that's why they're called accidents. That said, if safety rules are not followed to the letter at a worksite, tragic workplace injuries can result. Such was the case in a deadly accident in Rancho Santa Margarita.

Five Star Plastering, Inc. was hired to erect a scaffold on a school football field that would display a banner supporting the school's team. Two men, both 23, were tasked with working near the top of the scaffold, which was near power lines. The top of the scaffold was roughly 2 feet below the power lines that had not been properly checked to determine if they were a safe distance from the scaffold. The two young men were electrocuted by the lines. One was killed and the other suffered serious and permanent injuries.

Hotel housekeepers are more prone to workplace injuries

Summer time is a time of family vacation and fun in California. Vacation frequently means staying in a hotel. Hotel stays are a welcome part of the vacation in that part of the experience is enjoying a break from such mundane tasks as making the bed and cleaning the bathroom. The hotel staffs take care of that task not just for one family, but for all families staying in the hotel. Unfortunately, hotel housekeepers are more prone to workplace injuries than other workers in the hospitality industry.

California's Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) together with the state of California are attempting to establish a new safety standard nationwide for hotel housekeepers. The program is called the Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention Program (MIPP). Its aim is to address the hazards of housekeeping.

Contract workers have a right to be safe from workplace injuries

Contract workers are becoming more common in the California workplace. They are not just working in offices but are also being used in manufacturing settings. When contract workers suffer workplace injuries, who bears the responsibility? Is it the responsibility of the contractor's employer or the location where the employee is contracted? Such is the question in a recent California case.

An electrician working under contract for Tesla was seriously burned in an electrical explosion at Tesla's Fremont factory. The accident happened in June 2017 when the worker was thrown several feet by the explosion and became engulfed in flames. Almost a year later that gentleman is still struggling as a result of his injuries. He suffered second and third degree burns over most of his body and was in the hospital for two months.

Fraud in workers' compensation claims is costly to all

When a person takes a full-time job, there are certain benefits that go along with it. One benefit that most employers are required to provide is workers' compensation insurance. Workers' compensation in California provides benefits to the employee in the event of an injury that occurs on the job.

In a recent case in California, a company has come under investigation for fraud in connection with workers' compensation benefits. The company is accused of under reporting the number of employees in order to reduce the amount of their premiums. There are also allegations against the company for dissuading employees from reporting injuries they received while working. Information in the report indicated that a complex scheme was in place as a result of increased reports of injuries, which, in turn, caused an increase in premiums.

Rising temperatures can equal an increase in workplace illness

When the calendar turns from April to May in California, temperatures start to increase. This brings with it an increase in outdoor activities such as going to ball games, the beach and other enjoyable outdoor events. Unfortunately, increased temperatures can also bring increased risks of workplace illness or injury to people on the job.

According to NASA and NOAA, 2016 was the warmest year on record. Health risks from intense heat are not just a threat to those who work in the outdoors. People who work in manufacturing may also experience adverse effects from increased heat in the shop environment. The shop environment may be impacted by the weather but can also be impacted by heat generated from machines.

Construction falls and workplace accidents

Working in construction, manufacturing or mining in California can be very satisfying work. It also brings with it the risk of injury. However, people engaged in such industries would like to believe that their employers have concern for their safety and exercise certain precautions in order to protect their employees from workplace accidents.

In a recent report, it was found that nearly a third of workplace accidents are a result of construction falls. There are steps that employees can take to protect themselves. There are also steps companies can take to prevent their employees.

Getting injured at work due to bullying

Any form of bullying is never acceptable in the California workplace. Whether it's psychological or physical, workplace bullying and harassment has the potential to create long-term health problems, from mental illness such as depression and anxiety, to physical problems if you have been assaulted or attacked.

If you are a victim of workplace bullying or harrassment in the state of California, it is important to know that the state is on your side, even if your employer is not. Workers' compensation, which is typically claimed for accidents and work-related injuries, can also be claimed for any injuries or illnesses that occurred as a result of bullying, harrassment and mistreatment in the workplace.

Workplace accidents: An ounce of prevention can help

When people in any industry report to work in California they like to believe they are reporting to a safe place to work. A study released recently by the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH) identified 12 companies with the highest risk factors for workplace accidents.  Amazon and Tesla were both among the companies that were listed.

Companies that appear on the list have been told of the issues they face and have been told to correct the deficiency. Failure to make such corrections to safety hazards can have tragic results. Workers frequently pay the price for the failure to make corrections to safety issues. The list was compiled based on frequency and severity of injuries, unnecessary and preventable risks and repeat citations by state authorities.

Are technological advances contributing to workplace injuries?

Autonomous vehicles, also known as self-driving cars, used to be a vestige of science fiction and cartoons. Remember the Jetsons? But with all the advances being made in artificial intelligence and new technologies, the prospect is becoming more real. In the race to achieve the goal of an autonomous vehicle, is employee safety in California being jeopardized? Workplace injuries at Tesla's electric car factory may be a cause for concern.

A look at the inside of the factory shows the dominant colors of the factory are red and grey. There are different shades of grey to differentiate between walkways and pathways for forklifts and other vehicles.  What is not apparent is yellow, indicating caution. When the head of safety raised this as an issue, she was told that her boss doesn't like yellow.

Workers’ compensation as a sexual harassment victim

When people think of workers' compensation claims, construction accidents and injuries due to heavy machinery often come to mind. However, there is an increased trend in employees making successful workers' compensation claims as a result of their experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace.

Mental stress can affect your ability to carry out meaningful work. It also has the potential to lead to other health problems, from anxiety and depression to a compromised immune system. If this mental stress was directly caused by an instance of sexual harassment in the workplace, you will likely have grounds to claim workers' compensation benefits.

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