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Los Angeles Workers' Issues and Personal Injury Blog

Safety plans can limit construction workers accidents

Construction company owners in California are typically responsible for the health and safety of hundreds of workers with a wide range of competency and training levels. Along with compliance with prescribed safety standards, the only way to limit construction workers accidents is by drafting a site-specific safety plan to outline potential safety risks and the manners in which they will be managed. Each project is unique, and hazard assessments are crucial before work commences.

The safety plan should list safety representatives like supervisors and foremen for all the different sections of the project. These individuals must have gone through appropriate safety and first-aid training, and have the ability to identify potential hazards and take steps to address them. Another responsibility of the safety representatives would be to assess and enforce compliance with state and federal safety standards at all times.

Workers' compensation, wage disputes subject to different tests

Some months ago, a decision by the California Supreme court had the labor community sit up and take note. The plaintiff accused a transportation company of wage and hour violations stemming from his service of driving his own truck for the defendant and his classifications as an independent contractor. The court based its ultimate decision on the Dynamex ABC test rather than the Borello Test, which is a multifactor test used to determine employment status for workers' compensation purposes and all matters unrelated to wage orders.

Under Borello, the employment relationship is tested in so far as the person who renders the service is subject to the control of the person for whom the service is provided with relation to the means and manner in which desired result is achieved. The existence of an employment relationship might be evident if the worker can be discharged at will and without cause. In this case, the court found that the complaints were wage-order related and, therefore, subject to the ABC test.

Which jobs present the largest risk for carpal tunnel syndrome?

Most employers do their best to provide a safe workplace environment. But while performing your job duties, injuries may be inevitable. Even in the best circumstances, you could get hurt on the job.

Although you may not have experienced the numbness and tingling associated with carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), you are probably familiar with someone who has experienced pain related to this repetitive stress injury. But did you know that certain jobs present a greater risk of developing CTS than others?

Asbestos is as big a risk as construction workers accidents

Employers in all industries in California must inform their workers of all the potential health and safety risks they might encounter. While safety training could teach workers how to mitigate hazards that typically cause construction workers accidents, many may not be aware of the dangers posed by asbestos. Whenever they work on buildings that date back to the 1970s and earlier, construction workers are sure to be exposed to asbestos.

Asbestos could be present in shingles, roofing felt, floor tiles, insulation in boilers and pipes, cement, caulks and putty. The danger is in the particles that become airborne when asbestos is disturbed. Walking on tiles containing asbestos poses no threat, but as soon as they are filed, or holes are drilled into the tiles, fibers will be released into the air for unsuspecting workers to inhale.

Fatal workplace injuries claim life of citrus orchard worker

When fatal workplace accidents occur, the employers and co-workers of the deceased workers are sometimes as traumatized as the surviving family members are. This appears to be the case after an employee of Wonderful Citrus in California recently suffered fatal workplace injuries. Reportedly, the 53-year-old worker suffered multiple blunt force injuries in an incident that happened on a Thursday morning earlier this month.

An incident report indicates that the man was working alone in a citrus orchard when the blade of a wind machine became detached. These machines have large propellers that blow warm air into the orchards on frigid nights. A co-worker came upon the critically injured man shortly after the blade struck him. The injured worker was rushed to a suitable landing area, from where he was airlifted to a hospital.

Do employees have the right to light duty?

The onset of industrialization brought a demand for efficiencies. Significant attention was spent monitoring workers time on routine tasks. Once a standard was set, workers were held to it. Underperforming was punished and overperforming was rewarded.

With the demand for package delivery increasing rapidly, more and more warehouse managers are beginning to obsess over increasing efficiency to the detriment of the workers. A case in point is Amazon where workers have reported increased pressure to shorten bathroom breaks and even jog from one task to another. Combining a dangerous job like warehouse work with such high-performance standards is a recipe for disaster.

Wrongful death: Gunshot wound kills young police officer

A rookie police officer in California, whose field training was completed only recently, died from gunshot wounds on a recent Thursday. Although the alleged shooter is also dead, a wrongful death lawsuit might be filed against his estate. Reportedly, the 22-year-old officer followed in her father's footsteps, who himself was a deputy in Colusa County for 26 years.

According to an incident report, the police officer responded to a car accident at approximately 6:45 p.m. She was busy talking to a motorist who was involved in the traffic accident when she was shot. It is believed that the shooter had no part in the crash. The officer was rushed to a medical facility, but she succumbed to the gunshot wound later.

Workers' comp and the relation to the opioid epidemic

Opioid use has run rampant all over the United States with thousands of people losing their lives every year. Opioids are extremely dangerous, particularly due to the fact they are so addictive. Unfortunately, many people's addictions begin with legal, prescribed painkillers they received after an accident. When it comes to many workers' comp claims, doctors are quick to prescribe opioids to help the individual manage the pain, but it is vital to be aware of the risks and potential for addiction.

Researchers have begun to look into the link between injuries sustained in the workplace and the potential for addiction later in life. Some of the most common injuries workers from any field can experience include chronic joint pain, permanent disability, strains, sprains and crushes. Some people may be in extreme pain while others are only in mild discomfort, but far too many doctors want to prescribe opioids no matter what.

Employee focus and alertness could prevent workplace injuries

Safety authorities say contact with objects are frequently the subject of workers' compensation benefits claims in California and other states. Although employers are responsible for the health and safety of employees, they are advised to create safety cultures that will encourage workers to be alert at all times. It is not only compliance with regulations that can prevent workplace injuries, focusing on the task at hand can help workers to protect themselves.

Workplace accidents involving objects can include being struck by or against an object, becoming caught in equipment or an object, and being caught in or struck by collapsing material. Construction workers, auto mechanics, loggers, landscapers and many other workers in other occupations can suffer injuries caused by objects that swing, slip, slide, fly, roll or fall. The risk is not determined by the size of the object, as a bolt that falls from a significant height such as a scaffold could be as dangerous as a vehicle slipping off the jacks.

Are psychiatric injuries covered under workers' compensation?

One of the stark realities of today is the number of violent and traumatic incidents occurring. The recent shooting at Borderline outside Los Angeles is the latest example. Not only were the patrons inside affected by the events, but so were the workers and first responders who came to help.

If you endure a traumatic event while at work, is your diagnosis and treatment covered under workers' compensation insurance? What about other psychiatric developments? Can you receive help via your employer?

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Law Offices of Anthony Choe
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Phone: 213-986-8498
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