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Rancho Mirage Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Data of California workplace injuries reveal interesting facts

Employees in California are said to be much safer at work than they were around the turn of the century. In 2002, almost 695,000 non-fatal workplace injuries were reported. Then there was a significant drop to a low of 441,000 at the midpoint of the recession. Since then the number increased to 471,000 in 2015 and an estimated 466,000 in 2016. However, the low point appears to reflect the lower number of workers during the years of recession.

Analysis of the federal data of non-fatal workplace injuries in California revealed interesting information. For instance, those who are most likely to suffer workplace injuries are males who are from 45 to 54 years old, and they will likely be with their companies for five years or longer. Furthermore, the industries identified as the riskiest are agriculture, logging, mining and construction.

Cal/OSHA: Insect hazards known for causing workplace accidents

Losing loved ones due to fatal on-the-job injuries will always be traumatic experiences, regardless of citations and penalties issued to negligent employers. Following a recent report of citations totaling over $40,000 that were issued to a California date producing company, the sister of the deceased worker said that, although it will not bring her brother back, it might prevent similar tragedies. Safety authorities maintain that most fatal workplace accidents are preventable by complying with safety regulations.

The penalties followed an investigation by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health into the death of a 49-year-old worker following an attack by a swarm of bees. Reportedly, the bees were disturbed when the man sprayed water on the fruit of the date palm, which was close to the beehive. After multiple, repeated bee stings, the worker suffered anaphylactic shock. He died before he could receive medical treatment.

Electronic logging for truckers may limit workplace accidents

A federal mandate for all commercial trucks to be fitted with electronic log machines took effect in December. This will hopefully prevent many fatal workplace accidents that result from fatigued truck drivers in California whose demanding delivery schedules force them to drive for more hours than allowed by safety regulations. Many drivers claim their employers threatened to fire them if they did not falsify their paper logs, which were the only method of record keeping up to now.

An extended investigation by USA Today Network revealed details that were not evident in trucking data kept by authorities. By monitoring vehicles of port trucking companies over a four-year period, it was determined that many companies in the Los Angeles area schedule truck drivers for 20-hour shifts, six days per week. Investigators say these employers caused hundreds of commercial vehicles to be on the roads with sleep-deprived drivers behind the steering wheels.

Workplace accidents at fulfillment centers claim yet another life

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health prescribes guidelines and regulations to keep workers safe in all industries. However, many employers disregard those rules, especially at busy times of the year, and that could lead to workplace accidents. Fulfillment centers are bustling in December, and massive volumes of merchandise are moved in facilities of companies like Amazon.

An employee lost his life at an Amazon facility in Sacramento that opened in October. Reportedly, the worker was rushed to a hospital on Dec. 14 because he was vomiting blood. Authorities say he died the following day. There is no indication of the cause of death at this time.

Workplace injuries: Fighting wildfires is a hazardous occupation

Thousands of firefighters are fighting the devastating wildfires in California, putting their lives on the line to save others. Fighting fires is much more complicated than many people might think. A California Department of Fire and Forestry Protection spokesperson explained the different operations that are involved, and the risks of workplace injuries the firefighters have to face. Changing weather plays a significant role in strategizing, and humidity and temperature are monitored continuously along with wind direction and strength.

Cal Fire says ground crews maintain the front lines of the fire with support by water-carrying fire engines. Simultaneously, hand crews clear the brush that fuels the fire. They use axes and chainsaws to cut vegetation. These crews form the fire line and work to slow down the spread of the fire. In accessible areas, hand crews use bulldozers to clear the brush.

Workplace accidents: Heavy equipment causes employee's death

California employees in the manufacturing industry typically face a host of safety hazards every day -- many of which could be life-threatening. Any owner of an industrial plant has a significant responsibility to protect the safety and health of employees. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health expects employers to comply with the prescribed safety regulations to prevent workplace accidents.

Many of the safety regulations involve the need to protect operators of equipment and machines from injuries caused by moving machine parts, and means such as lockout/tag-out devices and safeguards must be installed. Sadly, not all employers prioritize employee safety, and too many industrial workers lose their lives on the job. A recent incident at an Irvine industrial facility caused the death of a worker.

Fatal workplace accidents prevalent despite strict safety rules

Workers in the oil and gas industry in California and other states frequently put their lives on the line. Fatal workplace accidents continue to happen at oil wells despite the strict safety regulations with which employers must comply. Such an incident claimed the life of an employee in another state on a recent Monday afternoon.

Information issued by the office of the county sheriff indicated that an explosion was reported shortly before 3 p.m. at an oil field where fracking was underway. Apparently, a fitting that held a metal pipe failed, allowing the pipe to detach just when the pressure reached 2,400 pounds. The pipe struck the chest of one worker while another worker was injured by flying debris.

Temporary disability can follow exposure to Valley Fever fungus

Workers in the Central Valley of California are at risk of contracting Valley Fever. The illness is caused by inhalation of microscopic fungus spores, Coccidioides immitis. The fungus is present in this soil of this area, and it becomes airborne when the soil is disturbed. Victims of this illness may suffer temporary disability.

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health recently fined a contractor and five subcontractors for failure to protect employees from exposure to this hazard. These companies were all involved in a solar project in a location that is endemic to this illness. The safety agency prescribes safety measures to prevent exposure.

Third-party cases: Vehicle kills security guard at FedEx center

The vehicular activity at distribution centers such as those operated by FedEx can be dangerous. This was underscored when a man lost his life at one of the company's distribution centers in California. Third-party cases such a this one in which injury or death is caused by the negligence of someone not linked to the victim's employer often end up in civil court.

The fire department of San Bernardino County responded to an emergency at approximately 1:30 p.m. on a recent Friday. Firefighters arrived at the scene to find a man that had been struck by a vehicle. Although someone tried to keep the victim alive by doing CPR, he succumbed to his injuries before paramedics could transport him to the hospital.

TBI prevalent in construction workers' accidents despite hardhats

Employees in the construction industry in California are at a significant risk of suffering work-related traumatic brain injuries. Safety authorities say that construction, agriculture, transportation, fishing and forestry are the industries in which most occupational TBI fatalities occur. While hardhats provide some protection, they do not prevent all head injuries in construction workers' accidents.

The severity of traumatic brain injuries can vary, depending on the type of injury. It can follow a blow or bump to the head, a penetration injury or anything that causes brain movement that disrupts its normal functions. The severity of TBIs can range from mild to severe, with concussions being most prevalent, and while some such injuries heal over time, others could have life-long consequences.

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