Many people associate traumatic brain injuries with car accidents and contact sports. However, a significant percentage of workplace injuries in the construction industry nationwide, including California, cause TBI. In fact, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health tracked work-related fatal brain injuries from 2003 through 2010.
Wildfires in California are not uncommon between May and October each year. In the most recent Apple Fire, an estimated 7,800 people and 2,600 residences were evacuated. While thousands of people flee from the fire, firefighters have to go into it and risk severe workplace injuries or even death. Reportedly, the fire is raging over an area of almost 27,000 acres.
Hand injuries occur in all industries and occupations in California. A significant percentage of workplace injuries harm workers' hands, and not enough attention is paid to preventing hand injuries. Typical hazards include the exposure to grease, solvents, chemicals and extreme weather conditions.
A fire broke out in a workshop on a recent Wednesday. Reportedly, one worker suffered burn injuries. Most workplace injuries are preventable, and the cause of the fire is being investigated. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health will likely also assess the employer's compliance with fire safety standards.
There is a significant drop in the number of firefighters who died work-related deaths in California and across the country in 2019. Compared to the average number of fatal workplace injuries among firefighters in recent years, the number of deaths dropped from 65 to 48. Compared to the 1970s, when firefighter deaths averaged over 80 per year, the latest statistics may be encouraging. However, each firefighter's death is one too many.
The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health announced new safety standards for nighttime workers in the agricultural industry. The need for new rules arose from the high number of workplace injuries that occur during night shifts. These are the first safety regulations issued specifically for farmworkers who work from sunset to sunrise.
The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health has launched an investigation into the circumstances that led to the death of a vineyard worker. Reportedly, the incident that occurred on a recent Friday involved tree removal. Rescue workers from Cal Fire also responded after receiving an alert about a worker who suffered critical workplace injuries.
Each year, when the hot California summer months approach, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health urges employers to comply with safety standards to prevent heat illness. Each year, many employees are exposed to excessive heat, and in some cases, lives are lost. The agency's prevention standards are designed to protect all outdoor workers, including those in industries like landscaping, construction and agriculture. Furthermore, any worker who spends a significant part of his or her workdays in a non-airconditioned vehicle is also at a high risk of heat illness.
Along with the risk of falling, tree workers face several other hazards. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health requires employers to protect employees from known hazards. The safety agency has launched an investigation into a case in which a tree worker suffered fatal workplace injuries.
Electricity poses risks to workers in all California industries, from office workers to construction workers. May is National Electricity Safety month, and it will be interesting to see whether the awareness campaign has reduced the number of electricity-related workplace injuries. It is not only electricians who are at risk because all work environments have potential electrical hazards.