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.
Not all agricultural groups support the proposal. Some say the modifications required to illuminate equipment will void warranties while providing engine-powered lighting will increase emissions. They argue that this could be detrimental to the health and safety of nighttime workers.
While this proposal is in the pipeline, workers on nighttime crews in California who suffer workplace injuries must report them to the supervisor or employers as soon as possible. This can set the ball rolling for workers' compensation benefits claims. The task might seem daunting, but legal counsel can assist throughout the claims process that typically involves administrative and legal steps. An experienced attorney will focus on ensuring that each injured worker receives all of the benefits to which he or she is entitled under applicable laws.