Law Offices of Anthony Choe
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Los Angeles Workers' Issues and Personal Injury Blog

Garbage collectors put their safety on the line every day

Although the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health does not have specific safety standards to regulate sanitation workers and vehicles, employers must comply with general safety standards to keep employees in this industry safe. Although automated side-loaders have made a significant difference in the exposure garbage collectors face, these workers continue to come in contact with garbage and multiple other hazards. Collectors of refuse and recyclable materials without proper safety training face life-threatening risks.

If you are a garbage collector in Los Angeles or elsewhere in California, your job will expose you to lifting dangers and contact with hazardous contents of garbage bags. Besides, your movements in and out of traffic will add even more occupational hazards.

Robotic co-workers pose new threats of workplace injuries

More and more workers in California have to get used to dealing with robotic co-workers and the threats they pose. New risks need new precautions, and employers must provide the necessary safety training to ensure that employees can recognize hazards and know how to mitigate them. Following two robot-related workplace injuries gave rise to new recommendations regarding employee safety when working around demolition robots and laser-guided forklifts.

One of those incidents involved the accidental bump of the remote control of a demolition robot. It caused the robot to move unexpectedly, and crush the worker between the outrigger boom and a wall. Co-workers managed to free their unconscious colleague. His injuries were severe, and he was unable to return to work for several months.

Recycling safe for planet and often dangerous for workers

California has long taken a leading role in protecting the environment, and a lot of us love to reduce, reuse and recycle. The recycling industry can be hard on workers, however, and the dangers can be as varied as they are concerning.

The task of taking everything we discard and trying make use of as much of it as possible is a big challenge. Everybody seems to have a different idea of how and what to toss into the waste stream. Since they keep the environment safe, keep them safe with these tips.

Emphasis on prevention of heat-related workplace injuries

National Heatstroke Prevention Day was held on July 31. Underscoring the dangers of heat-related workplace injuries at this time makes sense because of the heatwaves that have threatened many outdoor workers so far this summer. The issues highlighted by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health include the fact that a significant percentage of heat-illness incidents involve workers on their first day of work.

Cal/OSHA's guidelines suggest employers allow workers to acclimatize for up to seven days to build up resilience to heat. When workers are ready to work full shifts in the heat, employers must provide adequate water and shade. They must also provide the necessary protective clothing and equipment to prevent heat exposure and allow workers to take frequent rest breaks throughout each shift.

Janitors face multiple risks of suffering workplace injuries

Janitors and cleaners often put their safety on the line. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that tens of thousands of workers in the janitorial services industry in California and other states suffer workplace injuries every year. However, safety authorities say most injuries are preventable by taking necessary safety precautions. Although employers are responsible for the health and safety of employees, janitorial staff often work off site, putting the burden of safety on themselves.

Janitors work in various environments, some of which are more dangerous than others. The most hazardous workplaces for janitors include construction sites, waste management facilities, warehouses and medical offices. Although offices pose fewer risks, a slip-and-fall accident can cause serious injuries. It is crucial for janitors to be alert and continuously be on the lookout for potential hazards.

Hollywood magic makes janitor exploitation invisible

The big-screen movie theater experience has struggled to survive in recent years. We’re often told that the main culprits are the huge screens now available in many people’s homes and the vast ocean of content now on streaming services.

These allegedly declining profit margins are taking a toll on movie theater janitors and their families, according to a months-long investigation by Variety.

New rule to prevent workplace injuries caused by wildfire smoke

Safety authorities have taken steps to protect workers in California from the hazards of wildfire smoke. This emergency regulation comes at the height of the wildfire season, and it will likely become effective in August and stay in place for one year. The rule serves to prevent smoke-related workplace injuries that are common at this time of the year.

The regulation requires employers to protect workers from exposure to airborne wildfire particulate matter by checking the Air Quality Index at the start of each shift and at frequent intervals throughout the workday. If the AQI for Particular Matter 2.5 is measured at a level of 151 or higher, workers must be relocated to an area with an AQI below that level. If that is not possible, they must be moved to an indoor area where the air is filtered.

What to do if your workers’ comp claim is denied

Workers’ compensation insurance is designed to protect employees that get injured on the job. Employees are eligible for medical expense coverage, lost wage reimbursement and rehabilitation cost coverage due to illness or injury caused by work-related incidents.

If you get injured while doing your job, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation and expect coverage for your medical expenses and lost wages—but your claim could be denied.

Workplace injuries to hands and fingers can be life-changing

California employers might not pay enough attention to hand safety. Workers need their hands for every job they do, and workplace injuries that cause amputations can jeopardize their ability to return to the same position. Even the loss of one finger can be life-changing. However, it is not only the obvious hazards that can cause serious workplace injuries.

While unguarded moving machine parts pose significant amputation hazards, workers in other industries also face hand injury risks. Those in admin or call centers who type on keyboards and manipulate a computer mouse for hours on end can suffer repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome, which can cause chronic wrist pain. One precaution is to take frequent breaks from repetitive motions, and do frequent finger, arm and shoulder stretch exercises.

Common workers compensation claims and causes

Workplace injuries are exactly that; common. Strains and sprains top the list at 30% of filed workers compensation claims. The most injuries occur between June and August. This isn’t a revelation as those months produce consistent work-inducing weather from coast to coast.

The Travelers Companies conducted research that identified the most common injury styles and causes that led to workers comp claims. Other than strains and sprains, the top five injuries included cuts and punctures (19%), contusions (12%), inflammation (5%) and fractures (5%.)

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Law Offices of Anthony Choe
3700 Wilshire Blvd
Suite 260
Los Angeles, CA 90010

Phone: 213-986-8498
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