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Los Angeles Workers' Issues and Personal Injury Blog

LETF shuts down unsafe machinery at seven high-risk worksites

California's Labor Enforcement Task Force (LETF) recently discovered-and shut down-dangerous machinery at seven work sites in Southern California, including four car washes and three manufacturing businesses.

These businesses were putting workers in immediate danger of serious injuries like lacerations, amputations and even fatal injuries. The workers are considered part of the "underground economy," where they are exposed to dangerous job conditions and lack proper protections.

Employee rights: Federal court ruling might benefit all truckers

A decision made by the federal court in another state might affect truckers nationwide, including in California. This case addressed the employee rights of truck drivers, with a focus on those who work for minimum wages. In 2016, three drivers who filed a claim against a trucking company were joined by almost 3,000 others in a class action suit.

The employers sought dismissal of the claim of alleged Fair Labor Standards Act violations, but the court ruled against them. Other than the standard hourly, weekly or monthly wage payments in other industries, many truckers are paid for the miles they drive. However, a significant part of truckers' workdays is spent doing work-related tasks that do not involve driving.

Fatal car accidents: 2-trailered big rig fails to yield for car

For big rig operators in California to safely navigate their travels along the busy highways, special skills and constant alertness are essential. Many lives are lost in car accidents that result from the negligence of truckers. Tractor-trailer drivers, for example, must at all times be aware of the full length of their vehicles to ensure they can complete turns before other traffic reaches them.

According to California Highway Patrol officers, a 63-year-old truck driver from Salinas recently made such a fatal error on a recent Wednesday afternoon. A crash report indicates that the trucker was hauling two trailers behind his truck on southbound Highway 101 when he attempted to turn left across the northbound lanes to reach an agricultural property on the other side. It is not clear whether he failed to see the oncoming passenger car, or whether he failed to take the entire length of his rig into consideration when he turned into the path of the northbound vehicle.

With on the job injuries, worker classification matters

You fall on some slippery flooring at work and break your hip. You're completely out of commission-unable to work, and unable to do much of anything. So you contact your boss about filing a workers' compensation claim. To your shock, your boss responds that you're not eligible-since according to them-you're not an employee at the company at all, but an independent contractor.

How your employer classifies you is important-and it's to their advantage to classify you as a contractor. An employer's responsibility to an independent contractor is different than to an employee. Under the law, independent contractors are not entitled to workers' compensation or a wide range of other benefits-including overtime pay, paid time off and health insurance. Therefore, hiring contractors instead of employees can save an employer a lot of money-and liability in case of workplace injuries.

Are you entitled to overtime pay in California?

Employees in California are hard-working and they deserve to be compensated for their efforts. Beyond normal wage laws, California employees are generally owed overtime pay for hours worked over 40 per week. However, overtime laws are not as clear cut as this.

Overtime pay applies to most nonexempt hourly workers over 18 in the state of California. If you work over eight hours in a day or more than six days in a week, you qualify for overtime pay. This pay is equal to one and a half times the regular hourly pay rate. If you work over 12 hours in a single work day or over eight hours for seven consecutive days you should be paid double your regular rate of pay. In some cases, salaried employees are also entitled to overtime pay, but this is not always the case.

The difference between permanent and temporary disability

Being injured on the job is stressful. Ideally, every employee will receive the health care they need to fully recover and return to work, but sometimes an injury prevents workers from performing their job duties.

When this happens, it can be overwhelming. How is someone supposed to keep earning money when they can't work?

Las Vegas shooting leads to change in workers' comp for police

Last year's mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas left 58 people dead and 489 people wounded. After the shooting started, many of the more than 200 California police officers at the festival sprang into action. They helped people get to safety, performed CPR and assisted with securing the area around the scene.

Orange County Sheriff Deputy Joe Owen was shot in the abdomen and thigh while trying to usher people to safety. Other officers were shot or injured at the festival.

Workplace accidents: Worker fatally struck by falling steel beam

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health reported that inspectors are investigating the death of a 29-year-old worker in San Diego County earlier this month. As in all fatal workplace accidents, the agency will determine whether safety violations on the work site played a role in this tragedy. The incident occurred in the yard of a metal fabrication business in the region of East County.

According to a report by the medical examiner, the incident occurred at about 10:20 a.m on a Wednesday when a forklift operator placed steel beams onto the bed of a trailer. In the process, he accidentally struck another stack of I-beams that were loaded earlier. Reportedly, the impact knocked three massive iron beams off the trailer, hitting the worker who was at ground level.

Workers' compensation in construction: Your entitled benefits

If you faced a workplace injury, you may see extreme medical costs and a loss of income due to your ailments. Especially if you work as a maintenance worker, work in construction or as a warehouse employee, you may face serious risk of injury during your day-to day job tasks.

If you prove eligible for workers' compensation benefits, the Department of Industrial Relations of California entitles you to multiple benefits packages that will sustain you while you cannot work or reimburse you for your injury costs. No one should fight for their right to benefits alone, and to ensure you have the strongest claim for your required compensation, you want to hire an experienced attorney to aid in bringing a sound argument for your rights to monetary benefits.

Workplace accidents: The hazards faced by janitorial workers

Workers in all industries are vulnerable, and although certain sectors like construction and manufacturing are known for the dangers employees face, workers such as janitors also face risks. Although most of the injuries they suffer would not qualify as workplace accidents, they could cause long-term health problems. The University of California designed a safety training program for janitorial staff to assist employers and employees in maintaining safe work environments.

Most of the duties of janitors involve cleaning, and they often work after hours when office workers have gone home. The fact that they might be alone makes workplace safety even more critical because there might be no one to help in the event of an injury. The most significant hazards include slip-and-fall accidents if they clean floors while wearing inappropriate shoes. Musculoskeletal injuries are also prevalent among janitors because they push heavy carts and lift heavy objects like boxes, equipment and garbage bags.

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Law Offices of Anthony Choe
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