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Los Angeles Workers' Issues and Personal Injury Blog

This lifesaving device can cause your death

According to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, falls make up a significant percentage of workplace injuries and deaths in the construction industry. If your job takes you to elevated areas, are you confident that your fall arrest equipment will save you? Do you realize that, even if it arrests your fall, you can suffer suspension trauma and die?

It might be a good idea to look at your employer's rescue plans for such incidents because what happens in the minutes after a fall is critical. If you are suspended after a fall, your life could be on the line in as little as 10 minutes.

Workplace injuries: Batteries pose an endless list of hazards

Safety authorities in California say every employee who works with batteries needs adequate safety training. Batteries come in power equipment on construction sites, in tractors, trucks and automobiles, and most of them contain hazardous substances like lead and sulfuric acid. Unless workers who maintain, recharge, and operate batteries know the risks and how to mitigate them, they can suffer severe workplace injuries.

The highly corrosive electrolytes -- or sulfuric acid -- in batteries can cause respiratory irritation, eye damage, skin irritation, and it can even erode tooth enamel. Workers in marine environments must learn about the dangers of allowing saltwater to mix with battery solution. Dangerous chlorine gas can develop, and other battery-related byproducts of chemical reactions include hydrogen and oxygen gas, which pose explosion hazards. Flammable gases also form when batteries are overcharged.

Automated laser-guided vehicles can cause workplace injuries

Employers in California are responsible for the health and safety of employees, even when robotics and automated vehicles have replaced many human workers. In facilities where motorized laser-guided vehicles are used, employers must incorporate the safety requirements of the LGV manufacturer into the safety management of the company. Furthermore, human workers who share their workspaces with LGVs must receive safety training on how to avoid workplace injuries.

To demonstrate the dangers posed by LGVs, safety authorities recently described an accident that claimed the life of a warehouse worker who was struck by a driverless forklift. The way these LGVs work in this warehouse involves lasers that are mounted on the vehicles and strategically placed reflectors throughout the warehouse. The driverless forklifts move pallets in the warehouse, and whenever a lift's sensors detect obstacles or objects in the way, it would sound an alarm and remain stationary until workers remove the obstruction.

Medical housekeepers face many workplace safety hazards

Everyone knows that nurses, doctors, and other care providers in medical facilities in California face multiple safety hazards. However, the dangers faced by those responsible for housekeeping and cleaning in such facilities might not receive enough attention. If your job involves medical housekeeping, your employer must inform you of all the hazards of your occupation. Safety training must teach you how to mitigate those hazards.

Blood and other potentially infectious materials (OPIM) pose significant threats wherever your housekeeping tasks take you. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the hepatitis B virus can survive as long as seven days on contaminated equipment, surfaces or wherever dried blood is present.

Unsafe ladder use cause many construction workers' accidents

According to safety authorities, falls remain the leading cause of fatalities in the construction industry in California and across the country, and the unsafe use of ladders are often the cause. In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration says almost one-third of the annual fall-related deaths in construction involves ladders. Ladder safety should be practiced throughout the year and not only during the National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction.

Workers must understand that the height from which a worker falls does not always determine the severity of the injuries. Even falling from the second or third rung of a ladder can be deadly -- depending on how and where the worker lands, and what is struck on the way down. Safety authorities say before ladders are used, alternatives must be considered because ladders are not necessarily always the best option.

Missing machine guards can cause catastrophic workplace injuries

According to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, the point of operation of equipment and machines in all industries must be protected against any injury risks. Adequate, and properly installed safeguarding is crucial, and it must be emphasized that workers should never remove or tamper with safety devices like sensors or machine guards. The lack of machine guards can cause catastrophic injuries.

Even when guards are installed, workers must understand the dangers posed by pulleys, gears and other moving or rotating parts. Most vulnerable are those working in metal fabrication, auto workshops, welding shops and manufacturing or mechanical facilities. Hazards can be posed by anything from a simple box fan or table saw to robotic equipment and procedures that involve hazardous chemicals.

Steps to reducing fatal accidents on construction sites

Construction is a type of job that comes with inherent risks. After all, the men and women who work in this type of job are with, on or around heavy machinery, moving vehicles, powerful tools, and heights. It is not surprising that construction workers can suffer severe or fatal injuries when there is an accident on a jobsite.

Construction employers and site managers have an obligation to help make job conditions as safe as reasonably possible for employees. One way they can do this is by working hard to reduce hazards and being vigilant about safety rules and regulations. Another thing that is immensely helpful is to learn more about the most common reasons fatal construction accidents occur and how to prevent them. 

Workplace injuries more likely when workers are fatigued

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is focusing on an initiative regarding the impact of worker fatigue. The agency urges employers in California to limit fatigue-related workplace injuries by establishing less demanding schedules. Irregular shifts and long, demanding work hours are not uncommon in modern workplaces, causing increased stress levels, poor health and worker fatigue.

According to the assistant director of the OSHA training center, worker fatigue puts not only the affected workers at risk but also co-workers. Reportedly, more than 10% of workplace injuries nationwide are fatigue-related, and more than four in 10 Americans say their ability to function at work is jeopardized by tiredness and fatigue. Some catastrophic industrial disasters like the 2005 explosion at the Texas City BP oil refinery and nuclear accidents such as those at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl were linked to worker fatigue.

Forklifts may be small, but they carry huge risk for injury

While the potential for an accident at work exists in every industry, some jobs carry a higher-than-average risk. If you work in a California warehouse or distribution center, you are among those who are more vulnerable to injury because of the nature of your job and the type of equipment you use.

Forklifts, for example, can be deceptively dangerous. They are small and compact, but the job they perform requires them to be extremely heavy. A forklift accident can happen in the blink of an eye, and if you are involved, you have the chance of suffering a life-changing injury.

Another fatal Disney construction workers accident reported

Earlier this year, in March, a worker lost his life while working near the France Pavilion at the Epcot Center, located in the Walt Disney World Resort. Another construction workers accident, this time in California, claimed a second life on a Disney property on a recent Thursday. This time, the Anaheim paramedics that had to rush to Disneyland in response to a workplace accident.

Reportedly, the incident occurred early in the morning in an area where HVAC pipes were being installed. According to a Disneyland official, a temporary wall fell over, striking one of the construction workers on-site. The wall fell over after a large portion of HVAC pipe struck a supporting crossbeam. This happened while the pipe was suspended from a crane.

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