Employers in California are responsible for the safety and health of employees. Safety protocols must be established, and supervisors must monitor employees to ensure compliance with the rules. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health provides comprehensive safety guidelines and regulations, and compliance can prevent workplace injuries. Potentially hazardous tasks must be appropriately planned to mitigate injury risks.
While those who live in the path of the devastating wildfires in California fear for their lives, brave firefighters work to protect property and lives. In many cases, firefighters from other states come to help, as is the case with the Woolsey Fire that erupted on Nov. 8 in Southern California. These workers battle the fires for hours on end without rest, sometimes leading to tragic workplace accidents.
The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health reports that it is investigating a recent incident that caused critical injuries to a worker in Fremont. The agency notes that it now has two construction workers' accidents under investigation in which employees of the same company suffered serious injuries. In the previous instance, a worker who was caulking fell from one floor to the lower one in June.
The fact that employee fatalities are so rare in the California wine country might bring about complacency in employers and workers. However, workplace accidents do occur, and it appears the recent death of a worker at a vineyard in Napa is the first since another fatal incident last spring. In that accident, a Fairfield man became trapped underneath a tractor in a vineyard in Sonoma Valley when he was crushed while cleaning an implement on the machine.
Following the National Healthy Lung month of October, workers in California might benefit from the awareness campaigns that were run to underscore the hazards posed by silica and asbestos. However, employers have known about the dangers and the high risks of lung cancer, but workers' compensation claims continue to be filed by workers whose health and safety were not protected. Workers do not always realize that they can insist on personal protective equipment if they work in hazardous conditions.