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Los Angeles Workers' Issues and Personal Injury Blog

Construction workers accidents: OSHA emphasizes trench safety

Federal safety authorities, along with the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health remind construction company owners and their workers that trenches can be early graves because a cave-in can be deadly. Trench collapses are traumatic experiences, and those who are fortunate enough to survive could suffer severe physical and emotional damages. Hopefully, the National Trench Safety Stand Down will encourage compliance with safety standards, which might prevent tragic construction workers accidents.

During the stand down between June 17 and June 21, safety authorities will remind workers and employers that safe excavations are those that are monitored by competent persons and appropriately supported. The walls of trenches with specific depths must be sloped, benched or shored, or be fitted with trench boxes. Workers must have ladders or other ways to access and egress the excavations. The edges around excavation openings are to be kept clear of spoils, tools, equipment and vehicles.

Workplace injuries: LAPD officers exposed to typhoid fever

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health Department recently issued a fine exceeding $5,000 to the Los Angeles Police Department following an investigation into workplace safety at the department's Central Station facility. The agency says inspectors uncovered multiple health hazards that led to unusual workplace injuries. Some of the risks include rats, roaches, fleas, gnats, mosquitoes, grasshoppers and flies.

Of these, the rodents likely pose the most significant risk because exposure can cause infectious diseases such as typhoid fever. According to a Cal/OSHA spokesperson, the agency received reports of LAPD employees having to carry out cleaning tasks at homeless camps. Investigators found that these employees worked in extremely hazardous conditions, with the added risk of carrying the risks of infectious diseases to their families at home.

Steel worker in California suffers fatal workplace injuries

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health requires employers to provide work environments that are free of known hazards. In industrial facilities, that responsibility includes installing safeguards to prevent workplace injuries caused by making contact with moving parts of machines and equipment. Following a recent fatality at a steel-processing plant, Cal/OSHA will determine whether the lack of safeguards or other safety violations played a role in this tragedy.

Reportedly, firefighters responded to an emergency call received from a Fontana steel processor in the early-morning hours of a recent Tuesday. They arrived at the scene to find a materials handler trapped in some machinery. Authorities say the man was forging materials on a worktable when he was somehow  pulled into the machine.

Fatal workplace injuries claim life of vineyard worker

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health is looking into a fatal on-the-job accident at a Sonoma County vineyard. This is said to be the first life lost to workplace injuries on any of the vineyards owned by Jackson Family Wines. A spokesperson for the company says the deceased worker had been an employee for approximately 25 years.

According to an incident report, the worker's daughter became concerned when her father failed to come home by 8 p.m. She went out looking for him and found him in the vineyard, trapped underneath an overturned ATV. He did not survive. The company says the 62-year-old man worked in the irrigation section of the vineyard and rode an all-terrain vehicle to inspect irrigation lines as part of his duties.

Prevent falls, a leading killer of older Americans

Falls are the leading cause of accidental death among older Americans. In fact, one in four people over age 65 suffer a fall each year. With an aging baby boomer population, trips to the emergency room for slip-and-fall accidents are becoming increasingly common.

Even though older people are more prone to falls, accidents can happen to anyone. Falls can result in fractures, traumatic brain injuries or worse. But by taking a few simple precautions, you can greatly reduce your chances of injury from a fall.

Warehouse injuries are common

As online retailers surge and traditional brick-and-mortar stores continue to disappear, jobs in warehouses fulfilling online orders are becoming more abundant. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that warehouse employment has grown by 90 percent since 2000.

Warehouse jobs generally pay well and they're growing at a much faster rate than the national average. But as workers migrate from retail positions to warehouses, the risks increase. Warehouses employ machinery, workers often handle heavy loads, noise levels are high and there are other potential hazards. All these combined pose a greater risk of injury to warehouse workers.

What are California's wage laws?

We've all had jobs where we felt overworked and underpaid. Maybe you manned the grill at a fast food restaurant or hauled sod and gravel as a landscaper. But regardless of the job, California has laws that protect the rights of all workers.

As a worker in the state of California, the law guarantees that you have certain rights pertaining to how much you're paid and when, daily breaks and protection from retaliation if you report noncompliance with labor laws.

New bill to prevent wildfire smoke-related workplace injuries

2018 proved to be one of California's worst wildfire seasons in its recorded history. Over 7,500 fires destroyed almost 1.7 million acres and thousands of structures, causing the deaths of more than 100 people. This gave rise to the introduction of a bill that aims to protect outdoor workers across the state from workplace injuries caused by harmful wildfire smoke.

Millions of outdoor workers need protection against the hazard of wildfire smoke that contains various gases and particles from burning buildings and vegetation. Many of the burning structures release lead, asbestos and other toxins. Inhalation of the toxic particles and chemicals that penetrate the lungs cause severe health problems.

Construction workers accidents predicted for building of tunnel

A survivor of the 1971 explosion in the Sylmar Tunnel that was built to bring water to downtown Los Angeles from the California Aqueduct is now an advocate for workplace safety. He recently stated that he would not want to be a part of the construction crew involved in the planned building of a tunnel through some of California's most significant gas fields to divert water from the Sacramento River. He warns that digging around the gas wells will pose high risks of construction workers accidents.

The man, whose job was to operate a conveyor belt, says the two years before the explosion went smoothly. However, on June 24, 1971, an explosion was triggered when they unexpectedly struck a methane gas pocket. He lost 17 coworkers and friends on that day. He noted that the plans for the new tunnel contain several striking similarities to the Sylmar Tunnel project.

Can I get workers' compensation for repetitive stress injuries?

Worker's compensation is not just for sudden accidents such as falls. Sometimes work-related injuries happen over time, even when you are doing your job correctly. A repetitive stress injury (RSI) may sneak up on you and cause a lot of pain.

You should know about the causes RSIs, how to recognize them and what you should do about them.

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Law Offices of Anthony Choe
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