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Los Angeles Workers' Issues and Personal Injury Blog

Workplace injuries: Heat exposure can be life-threatening

As the weather warms up, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health is focusing on its annual quest to create awareness about the dangers of heat illness. Both employers and employees must be reminded annually that heat exposure, like many other workplace injuries, can be fatal. The safety agency collaborates with multiple organizations, including agricultural employers, each year to provide training on the risks of heat exposure to outdoor workers.

Cal/OSHA requires employers of outdoor workers to provide sufficient fresh water for each worker and to encourage them to drink at least one quart of water per hour. They must also allow employees to take frequent breaks in cool, shaded areas, instead of waiting until they feel sick before taking a cool-down break. They recommend that employees who are unfamiliar with working in such circumstances be allowed to get used to the conditions gradually.

Tesla accused of interfering with workers' compensation claims

Most employers in California are required by law to provide you with workers’ compensation benefits if you suffer a work-related injury or illness that puts you out of work. But what if the company does everything it can to avoid its responsibilities in the name of saving money?

According to a report in Reveal News, California-based automaker Tesla systematically works to keep workers at its Fremont plant from making rightful workers’ comp claims. The company is accused of tactics ranging from manipulating a doctor eager to get onto Tesla’s payroll to simply refusing to hand over basic forms to injured employees.

NSC says fatal workplace injuries are not accidents

Workers in California might be interested in statistics reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report indicates the primary causes of fatal workplace injuries that occurred in all industries nationwide throughout 2017. The National Safety Council responded to the CDC report by saying that employers and employees know how to save lives, and the failure to prioritize workplace safety leads to fatalities.

The NSC indicated that workplace deaths result from safety violations and should not be called accidents. The CDC further noted that the opioid epidemic and drug overdoses play a significant role in the declining life expectancy in the United States. The 2017 statistics show the highest number of preventable deaths in one year. Along with overdose deaths, auto crashes, falls, chokings, drownings and falls also contribute to preventable deaths nationwide.

Workplace injuries include occupational disease like Valley Fever

Valley Fever became a health risk concern for safety authorities in California after workers at solar installations were exposed to fungal spores that caused the illness. Just like any workplace injuries, employers must also protect workers from exposure to occupational diseases. They must control exposure to hazardous materials, and report any incidents of Valley Fever or other occupational illnesses.

Although the Coccidioides immitis fungus is likely to be present in the soil of the Central Valley, the microscopic spores can be present in several other areas in California. Any workers whose activities involve jobs that disturb the soil are at risk because windblown dust can carry the spores and infect workers. Most at-risk workers include excavation, construction and road building crews along with geologists, archaeologists, and those involved in gas and oil extraction, quarrying and mining activities.

Construction workers accidents: Negligent employer fined $26,540

A recent report issued by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health is an example of noncompliance with prescribed safety standards. Too many preventable construction workers accidents cause severe or fatal injuries. Cal/OSHA has completed its inquiry into an incident that claimed a life in San Rafael last September.

Reportedly, the accident happened when one member of a two-person construction crew went to fetch a plywood sheet that was required for the installation of a third-floor shear wall. Investigators determined that 26 sheets of plywood were in a vertical stack, leaning against a wall. When the worker failed to return after 20 minutes, a supervisor discovered his crushed body underneath the sheets of plywood, which had fallen over.

Concern over elevator-related construction workers accidents

Building sites nationwide, including California, pose an endless list of safety hazards, many of which are life-threatening. One of the primary causes of fatal construction workers accidents is workers falling from higher levels. The Center for Construction Research and Training recently reported concern over the number of lives lost in elevator-related accidents.

The report indicates that more than half of all construction fatalities followed elevator-related falls, and of those, almost half involved heights exceeding 30 feet. Most of the lives lost in these falls were among elevator installers and repairers. It was also noted that more than a third of the workers who suffered fatal injuries in elevator-related falls were under the age of 35.

Can visual literacy reduce workplace accidents?

Manual work and artistry may not seem to go hand in hand, but new research indicates that using artistic concepts could help keep workers safe.

The Campbell Institute released research that shows training employees in "visual literacy" can help them identify hazards they previously wouldn't spot. Visual literacy is the ability to gain understanding through images instead of words. Typically, individuals learn this skill at an early age, but the study wanted to determine if adults could learn it and use it for safety purposes.

Steps to limit workplace injuries re nighttime agricultural crews

Safety authorities in the agriculture industry in California are advocating for regulations to mandate nighttime labor safety. They expect to present the proposal to the Standards B of the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health soon, and their goal is to implement the new standards in time for the 2020 season. Their primary concerns involve the prevalence of workplace injuries that involve equipment interaction, and also falls caused by slip-and-trip hazards.

An AgSafe spokesperson reports that Cal/OSHA is scheduled to review the language of the proposal next month. Reportedly, it requires clearly identified, well-lit areas and pathways, with a 10-foot radius of light around each worker. In addition, workers must start and end their shifts in designated safe areas, which must also be available  workers who are on breaks.

Stunt-related workplace injuries lead to partially amputated leg

Following several stunt-related injuries, production was recently suspended for two days on the set of "L.A.'s Finest." This time, it was not a stunt person who suffered workplace injuries, but one of the producers. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health has launched an investigation regarding several questions about compliance with safety standards.

Reportedly, a video village was established behind a cargo crate from where two showrunners along with other producers were using monitors to watch the filming of the stunt. Under circumstances yet to be determined, the stunt driver lost control of the vehicle. The car smashed through the crate, and both the crate and the vehicle then crashed into the tent.

Does narcissism cause car accidents?

People who drive for their jobs take safety seriously on the road, but unfortunately accidents can still occur due to another driver's negligence. Many of us assume reckless drivers are selfish people, and while many accidents happen because of another driver's honest mistake, our assumptions may be accurate.

A new body of research looked at narcissism and aggressive driving to see if there was a correlation between the two. Aggressive driving is the cause of more than half of all traffic accidents in the United States.

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Law Offices of Anthony Choe
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