This past week, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health urged employers in Riverside and other areas in the Inland Empire to protect employees against the sweltering heat. Expected triple-digit temperatures led to the High Heat Advisory and the potential for temporary disability of workers. Workers who are exposed to temperatures that rise above 100 degrees are at significant risks of suffering heatstroke. Recognizing the risks is crucial because heat exhaustion that is not treated promptly could quickly become life-threatening.
The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health recently enacted emergency wildfire smoke regulations. Along with all the threats of workplace injuries wildfires pose, the health damage caused by wildfire smoke can have long-term consequences. Although the regulations apply where the Air Quality Index for airborne particulate matter is 151 or higher, employers with workers in areas with reasonable chances of exposure to wildfire smoke must also comply.
Workers in California who were injured in work-related accidents will likely have to deal with more than just the pain. Serious injuries that cause temporary disability can happen in all industries. They typically bring about mounting medical bills and lost wages, all of which can affect the worker's ability to take care of his or her family.
The National Fire Protection Association reports that the average number of on-duty deaths of firefighters in California and across the country has remained steady at 70 per year, although the number was below 70 through the past five years. Some of the incidents in which firefighters suffered fatal workplace injuries in 2018 include two wildfires in which four firefighters died and a collapsing floor in a structure fire that claimed two more lives. Two fatalities occurred in a crash when firefighters responded to an automobile accident.
The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health recently cited a solar panel installation company after concluding an investigation into an incident that occurred last December. A 15-foot fall resulting in serious workplace injuries gave rise to the investigation. Cal/OSHA proposed fines of almost $194,000 and a citation for a serious safety violation among others.
Following warnings of high temperatures in California by the National Weather Service, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health reminded employers of their responsibility to protect workers from known hazards. Having a prevention plan to prevent heat-related workplace injuries is one of the requirements included in the Cal/OSHA safety standards. By assessing each employee's level of risk based on his or her duties and exposure to heat, appropriate steps can prevent heat illness.
Although the sixth annual National Forklift Safety Day was held on June 11, safety authorities remind employers that it is not a single-day problem. Forklift accidents in California and other states claim lives and cause permanent or temporary disability throughout the year. The day of emphasis is there to underscore the importance of compliance with state and federal safety standards, and to remind employers to provide safety training and enforce safety rules.
No one should be exposed to conditions that are so unsanitary that workers are infected with bacteria that cause typhoid fever. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health issued a fine that exceeds $5,000 after inspecting workplace conditions to which Los Angeles Police Department officers were exposed. Reportedly, some officers were diagnosed with Salmonella Typhi. The investigation took place last November, and their medical expenses will likely be covered by workers' compensation claims.
With the imminent end of the school year, thousands of high school and college students in California will be looking forward to reporting for their summer jobs. This could be the ideal start of a planned career or just a way of earning an income, but workers must never lose sight of safety hazards that could lead to workplace injuries. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires employers to prioritize employee safety, regardless of the age or level of experience of workers.
As the California workforce grows, so does the number of serious and fatal workplace injuries. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health says that all workplace accidents are preventable, and it is the responsibility of employers to provide safe work environments. They must also comply with safety standards, failing which might lead to third-party cases in which employers are accused of negligence.