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Los Angeles Workers' Issues and Personal Injury Blog

Fatal workplace injuries claim the lives of 2 airport workers

Ground workers at airports face a variety of hazards, some of which involve the dangers posed by service vehicles like tugs. Tugs are the tractor-like vehicles that tow trailers carrying heavy loads. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health has launched an investigation into a recent incident with a tug in which two workers suffered fatal workplace injuries while working at a busy international airport in California.

Reportedly, the incident occurred shortly after 7:20 a.m. on a recent Monday. A Cal/OSHA spokesperson says an outside source reported that two workers were crushed when a tug overturned and rolled onto them. It is unclear whether the workers died at the scene or at the hospital.

When can you claim workers' comp for pre-existing injuries?

Although state legislature administers the workers' compensation program of California according to the set of regulations they established, the program is there to have the backs of injured workers. The goal is to provide financial assistance that will relieve the burden of mounting medical bills and lost wages of victims of occupational injuries. All the same time, it protects employers from costly litigation if workers file lawsuits.

Regardless of the industry in which you work, it will be a good idea to gain knowledge of the workers' compensation system, the rules and regulations, and the required steps to take if you were injured. While learning about the system, you may benefit from understanding which injury types qualify for compensation and which do not.

Construction workers' accidents -- the ever-present risk

The construction industry is dangerous. Regardless of how many safety precautions are taken, construction workers' accidents are relatively common. The Los Angeles Fire Department recently rushed to a work site at which a construction worker almost lost his life. The quick responses of co-workers helped, and rescuers rushed the victim to a hospital where he is now fighting for his life.

Few details about the cause of the accident were reported. A spokesperson for the LAFD said the worker became trapped under a load of lumber. The incident is regarded as an unfortunate work-related accident. Reportedly, the accident occurred at around 9 a.m. on a recent Thursday. Co-workers managed to free the trapped man after a few minutes.

Back problems are the most common result of workplace injuries

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says over one million workers in California and across the country suffer injuries to their backs each year. According to the bureau, these injuries make up one in five reported workplace injuries. Understandably, this also reflects in the workers' compensation claims that injured workers file each year.

According to safety authorities, all those whose jobs require them to lift or carry heavy objects are at risk of suffering back injuries that could have long-term health consequences. As a part of the responsibilities of employers to protect the health and safety of workers, safety training must include proper lifting techniques to prevent back injuries. Furthermore, ways must be found to eliminate the need for workers to lift heavy objects.

Who cares about the health of healthcare workers?

While you save lives and work to improve the health of others, who will have your back? Does your employer prioritize employee safety, or are you exposed to infectious diseases without the necessary personal protective equipment? The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health requires employers to inform workers of the known hazards they may encounter and provide safety training and PPE to keep them safe.

Infectious diseases threaten everybody in the health care industry, including nurses, physicians, clinical lab workers, technicians, first responders, social workers and more. Whether you work in a nursing care facility, hospital, outpatient clinic, medical or dental offices, emergency response or ambulatory care center, infectious agents will always be there to threaten your safety. There are three primary ways in which the transmission of infectious diseases occur. Learning about them will lower the risk for infections.

Trench collapses cause many construction workers accidents

Cave-ins and collapses of trenches are high on the list of causes for death and severe workplace injuries on construction sites nationwide, including California. State and federal safety agencies prescribe strict safety regulations, along with guidelines to prevent trench-related construction workers accidents. Sadly, in many cases, profits are prioritized over worker safety, and some employers regard trench safety as too time-consuming and costly.

According to the safety standards mandated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a designated competent person must inspect trench stability and protective systems daily. Inspections are also crucial when weather or other environmental changes occur that could compromise the stability of trench walls. Workers should be aware that they can refuse to enter a trench without cave-in protection and safe access and egress. The trench must be free of atmospheric hazards and standing water, and materials and equipment must not be placed near the edge of the trench.

Wildfires in California pose high risks for workplace injuries

Wildfires in California can become life-threatening within hours. This was underscored when the fire called Maria recently spread across 8,000 acres within a few hours. With no containment, such a fire threatens the lives of residents and both indoor and outdoor workers. Furthermore, the risks are not over when the fire is extinguished.

Smoke remains in the air while the fire burns and for a long time afterward. Safety authorities have strict rules to protect workers from inhaling the chemicals, particles and gases, and they mandate employers to provide respiratory protection. Working without breathing protection in the presence of wildfire smoke can cause severe health damage.

How many workplace injuries result from lack of adequate PPE?

Regardless of the industry, employers in California are responsible for the health and safety of employees. A part of that responsibility involves personal protective equipment. From bakeries to construction sites, employees are exposed to hazards that could cause workplace injuries or illnesses if they do not have the necessary PPE.

Along with the dangers posed by heavy equipment, other hazards include radiological, chemical, mechanical, physical and electrical risks in various work environments. Personal protective equipment necessary for different jobs include coveralls, reflective vests, fall arrest harnesses, hard hats, gloves and safety boots. Safety glasses to protect the eyes, and earmuffs or plugs for hearing protection are crucial, and so are respirators in hazardous atmospheres.

Festival rigger's fatal workplace injuries were preventable

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health investigation concerning the death of the lead rigger for a Coachella festival underscores the importance of full compliance with safety standards. The rigger fell to his death in April while setting up the stage. He fell from a height of 50 feet, and Cal/OSHA inspectors say his fall harness was not set up to arrest his fall.

Reportedly, the rigger wore a fall harness, but there was no lanyard anchored to a secure place to arrest a fall. Furthermore, there was no work platform with safety rails as required for those who work at heights. The responsibility of the employer does not stop with the issuing of personal protective equipment. The proper use of such equipment must be monitored, and workers must not be led to believe that the use of such equipment is optional.

The hazards faced during cleanup in the aftermath of wildfires

October through December is wildfire season in California. Firefighters risk their lives to fight wildfires, but that is not where the danger ends. The cleanup process in the aftermath of wildfires poses an endless list of additional safety hazards. Along with the risks posed by smoldering fires, or even new fires, come many other life-threatening dangers.

According to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, it is crucial for employers to make sure that firefighters and cleanup crews were fully informed about potential hazards. If you are a member of a cleanup crew, you should receive training to recognize dangers and how to protect yourself from injury.

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