Outdoor workers in California are familiar with the threats posed by the harsh heat of the sun every summer. However, with the many devastating fires raging across the state, workers are now also exposed to the hazards of smoke. While poor air quality and inhalation of smoke can cause serious workplace injuries through illness, it was observed that outdoor workers appeared a whole lot better prepared for the problems associated with heat exposure.
First responders and law enforcement in California never know where their next call will take them, nor do they know to what they will be exposed. A sheriff's deputy in Mendocino County recently suffered temporary disability after he was exposed to a dangerous type of pesticide. The exposure happened during the execution of a search warrant.
Public parks in California such as Capitol Park in Sacramento have become areas where homeless individuals spend their nights. The garbage and debris they leave behind are causing problems for workers who have to clean up. Reportedly, a director of public employees filed a complaint on behalf of employees who fear they could suffer serious workplace injuries due to their exposure to fecal matter and blood.
Workers in California, especially those who are new to the workforce, may not be aware of the hazards unique to the summer. While employee training might cover the various workplace injuries that can happen, the risks of working outdoors at this time of the year must be underscored. Those who work alone are most vulnerable, and they will need to take additional precautions to stay safe from a variety of seasonal hazards this summer.
Forklifts are common pieces of equipment in warehouses and distribution centers in California. Unfortunately, the hazards they pose are not always recognized. Accidents involving forklifts are common, and the resulting workplace injuries are often catastrophic. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health reportedly launched an investigation into one such accident that occurred on a recent Wednesday.
Summer has barely started, and California has already been hit by a heat wave. Every year, the consequences of excessive heat exposure see many employees having to file workers' compensation claims for medical expenses and lost wages due to heat illness. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health already urged employers to be prepared after temperatures in some areas soared to more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the second week of May.
The Tesla assembly plant in California already employs over 10,000 workers, and a report about the manufacturer's effort to significantly increase production will see many more workers taken on. This might lead to even more workplace injuries than those of which the company is currently accused of not reporting as required. The Center for Investigative Reporting recently published these accusations, although the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health had apparently already launched an investigation at the plant before publication of the allegations.
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.
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.
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.