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.
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.
While each industry poses unique safety hazards, the risk of falls seems to be present in all workplaces, regardless of whether it involves falling to lower levels or the same level. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says falls continue to be a primary cause of workplace injuries in California and other states. Safety advisers say addressing fall hazards involves a three-tier approach.
Workers in every industry face some type of occupational hazard. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health warned about a hepatitis A outbreak in California last month. This is a virus that attacks a person's liver, and it is highly contagious. Employers must take preventative measures to protect employees from workplace injuries or diseases.
Working alongside cobots, aka collaborative robots, will soon be par for the course in manufacturing facilities in California. Robotic technology has come a long way since the first robot was installed in a General Motors plant in the 1960s. That was a monstrous, caged machine that followed human commands. In contrast, cobots share the workspaces of humans and perform memorized tasks. They can even be programmed to respond to what is happening around them -- but will they pose a threat of workplace injuries?
Any California worker who is unable to return to work for a long time after an on-the-job injury will likely be concerned about the financial consequences because, along with regular bills, there will now also be medical bills with which to cope. A delivery man miraculously survived an incident that caused him major workplace injuries. Reportedly, the incident occurred in Santa Rosa on a recent Thursday.
Electrical workers in California face many deadly hazards on every shift they work. Some workplace injuries are caused by the failure of employers to comply with the safety regulations as prescribed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Causes can include companies allowing unqualified employees to do electrical work, failure to provide appropriate training or failure to enforce compliance by employees.
Workers in California may be surprised to learn that the only workplace injury or illness that is more common than back injury is the common cold. The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics says over 1 million workers nationwide suffer the consequences of back injuries -- accounting for almost 20 percent of all workplace illnesses and injuries. Many work hours and wages are lost due to temporary disability caused by back injuries.
Industries nationwide, including in California, spend billions of dollars on workers' compensation claims for back-related injuries every year. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says one in five claims for workplace injuries involve back injuries. Records also show that the majority of back injuries are suffered during materials handling -- mainly lifting -- and three in four of these damage the lower backs of employees.
"Get up and get moving" is common advice for people in California who suffer the consequences of a sedentary life. However, if a large portion of that sedentary life is spent at work, it may be difficult to incorporate such advice into the day. Studies continue to confirm that many workplace injuries and illnesses occur due to the very nature of some jobs.