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Rancho Mirage Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Workplace accidents: Assistant electrician suffers electrocution

Following the sad news of the death of a Modesto city employee, a spokesperson for the city manager's office said this appears to be the first on-the-job fatality of a city employee. Although the city will conduct an investigation, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health will launch a separate inquiry to determine the cause of the worker's death, as it does after all fatal workplace accidents in the state. The deceased man was a 30-year-old maintenance worker.

Reportedly, the man started with the city as a full-time electrician assistant in 2014, after working in a part-time capacity from 2007 through 2009. Authorities say the incident occurred in the late morning on a recent Monday while the worker was busy with streetlight maintenance. No details about the event were reported, except that his cause of death was electrocution.

Abandoned well causes landscaper's temporary disability

When a California landscaper recently disappeared from where he was doing landscaping, others thought he was napping -- it was in the early afternoon. However, some became aware of his calls for help later and discovered that he had tumbled down a well the existence of which was unknown. Rescuers from Santa Barbara County Fire Department rushed to the scene shortly after 3 p.m. to rescue the man, who is happy to be alive, although he has to deal with a temporary disability due to a fractured leg.

Even the residents who had been renting the property for 15 years did not know about the well. Firefighters arrived to find that a temporary concrete covering the abandoned well had collapsed, leading to the landscaper's 60-foot fall. They sent a rescue worker down to assess the situation. He could communicate in Spanish with the victim. Reportedly, he was up to his chest in water when the rescuer reached him.

Architecture and safety collision causes workplace injuries

In Cupertino stands the house of pane, which is part of the new Apple Park campus. The impressive circular building consists of curved glass panes that offer an open design that seems spectacular. However, the architectural design failed to address employee safety. Some time ago, an official at the building raised concerns about the potential threat of workplace injuries if employees walked into the glass, and the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health recently ordered the company to take preventative steps.

One danger area that was initially identified was the cafeteria where employees were having trouble distinguishing between the automated sliding doors and the fixed glass panes. Several workers were injured after bumping into solid glass panes, and decals were placed on the glass in that area. However, the danger remained in the rest of the building.

California big rig driver suffers workplace injuries in rollover

Operating a big rig requires specialized skills, and when things go wrong, the consequences can be severe. Drivers of large commercial vehicles are exposed to a variety of workplace injuries, and crashing such a large truck could be life-threatening. The California Highway Patrol reports that the swift actions of an off-duty firefighter and a deputy recently saved the life of a big rig driver after his vehicle rolled over.

Reportedly, the rig carried a load of granite and marble slabs in a shipping container. Authorities say the truck was exiting Highway 1 near Watsonville when the driver lost control, causing the rig to roll over shortly before 8 a.m. on a recent Wednesday. The driver was pinned inside the cab, but the off-duty firefighter and sheriff's deputy who passed by were on the scene immediately after it happened.

New anti-violence laws to limit workplace injuries in hospitals

In 2014, legislation was enacted in California that directed the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health to establish a standard to prevent workplace violence. By April 1 of this year, all the health care employers in the state that are covered must submit plans by which they intend to protect workers from workplace injuries caused by violence. At the federal level, a similar bill was introduced by lawmakers on March 8 requiring the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to oversee the creation of unit-specific violence prevention programs nationwide.

Rep. Ro Khanna, from California, introduced the bill in the House of Representatives. He says doctors, nurses and other health care workers are always at risk of being punched, kicked and strangled, or subjected to other violent attacks. These violent incidents often result in serious injuries and even death. The prevention plans must address specific incidents of violence as well as threats so that issues can be addressed immediately.

Construction workers' accidents: Second HSR incident in 4 months

Concern was expressed about the compliance with workplace safety regulations at the site of the high-speed rail project in California. Construction workers' accidents at these sites can have devastating consequences. Following an incident in which a rebar tower toppled over on an HSR site last November, an accident on a recent Tuesday afternoon caused catastrophic injuries to a 48-year-old construction worker.

Reportedly, the critically injured worker was rushed to a Fresno hospital where he underwent spinal surgery. Authorities say a metal wall of rebar crushed the man. A spokesperson for the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health said the rebar wall was dropped by a hoist of which the rigging failed.

Workplace accidents: High-voltage electricity kills tree trimmer

Employees of landscaping companies in California often put their lives on the line. Not only do tree trimmers work at dangerous heights, but they are also exposed to the hazards posed by equipment such as chainsaws, wood chippers and other machines. Employers must prevent workplace accidents by protecting the health and safety of employees, and an essential part of that responsibility is providing adequate safety training.

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health will likely launch an investigation into the recent death of a tree trimmer. According to an incident report, an emergency call was received by the San Jose Fire Department shortly after 1:30 p.m. on a recent Monday. Emergency workers and firefighters arrived at the scene to find a landscaper that had been electrocuted.

Construction workers' accidents: Man saves sibling's life

The love of a construction worker for his younger brother was demonstrated on a job site in California on a recent Tuesday. The incident involved electricity, which is a hazard that causes many construction workers' accidents. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health has launched an investigation into this nearly fatal event.

An incident report indicates that the two brothers are co-workers, and they were part of a construction crew that was moving a scaffold when the structure made contact with an overhead power line. The electricity was conducted down the metal pole, and although one other worker managed to get away from it, the shock caused one to fall with his whole body onto the electrified pole. His brother says he hesitated for only a moment, but when he saw his sibling's entire body catching fire, he tried to free him from the pole.

Workplace injuries nothing unusual among restaurant workers

The restaurant industry in California, just like most other sectors, poses its own unique safety hazards for employers and employees to consider. With its typical hustling and bustling of workers scurrying about to keep guests happy, many workplace injuries that occur involve the floor. Spills on the floors of restaurants are not unusual, especially in the kitchens.

Safety authorities say a significant number of slips and trips lead to days off work among restaurant workers every year. The typical heat and condensation, along with accidental spills, cause restaurant floors to be damp almost all the time. Add to those hazards the prevalence of sharp tools in this environment, and the consequences of falls can be devastating.

Workplace accidents: Unguarded wood chipper kills tree worker

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health prescribes strict safety rules for the tree services industry. Wood chippers are a significant threat to the safety of tree trimmers. The Department of Industrial Relations says workplace accidents linked to wood chippers within the state since 2012 caused one fatality and four serious injuries.

Cal/OSHA recently reported the outcome of an investigation into the death of a 24-year-old tree worker in Napa County last August. Reportedly, the worker became entangled in a rope that was used to lower the tree limbs from the aerial bucket. Inspectors found that the wood chipper caught the rope, causing the entangled worker to be pulled into the machine.

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