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Chula Vista California Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Workers' compensation: 40-foot fall kills California ironworker

In what must have been a traumatic experience, teachers, school staff and co-workers recently an ironworker fall 40 feet to his death. The incident occurred on a construction site at a high school in San Diego. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health has launched an investigation. Falls form a significant percentage of the death benefits claims that are filed in California each year.

According to an incident report, the 30-year-old ironworker from Bakersfield was working on a beam that was attached to a platform, 30 feet above ground level. At approximately 2 p.m., one of the beams that the worker was connecting fell, and he was knocked down. He was rushed to a hospital but succumbed to the injuries he suffered.

Shopping injuries can be quite dangerous

When you go to a California grocery store to pick up food for dinner or you head to your favorite retail store to do some shopping, you probably don't feel like you are doing anything dangerous. In fact, you may not think you are at any kind of risk for an injury or an accident, but every day, people suffer physical harm while simply visiting a store. Injured shoppers can experience serious injuries, debilitating pain and expensive medical bills as a result of their shopping accidents.

If you suffered injuries while you were out shopping, do you know what is to blame? You may assume that your accident was the result of your own inattentiveness, but it is possible you are the victim of circumstances beyond your control. You may have grounds to pursue compensation through a personal injury claim.

Workers' compensation: The hazards faced by retail store workers

Workers in retail stores nationwide, including California, face many more safety hazards than most people would expect. Many workers' compensation claims filed each year involve injuries suffered by employees of retail stores. The risks they face were recently underscored by an $898,682 fine proposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration concerning four different Dollar Tree Stores in another state.

Reportedly, inspectors determined that employers in these stores knowingly exposed workers to safety hazards, despite previous citations for the same violations. OSHA says the investigations followed reports about inappropriately stacked boxes toppling over and falling onto an employee. The worker suffered injuries in that incident, and investigators say a similar incident occurred during an inspection at another Dollar Tree branch, with a worker barely escaping injury at that time.

Will your social media pages hurt your workers' comp claim?

Perhaps you are one of those people who use Facebook or other social media to express your daily frustrations at work, with traffic or anything that disrupts your day. On the other hand, you may see social media as a way to spread positive feelings, so you post only those events in your life that might inspire someone else.

No matter the role you see for social media, if you have recently filed or intend to file a workers' compensation claim, you may want to be cautious about what you post. As innocent as your comments or pictures may seem to you, your employer or the workers' comp insurer may interpret them differently.

Workers' compensation: Fall protection violations

Falls are some of the most significant hazards to which workers in all industries are exposed. Unfortunately, many employers fail to prioritize employee safety, which was underscored at a safety congress that was recently held in San Diego. As in the previous eight years, the most frequently cited safety violations in the fiscal year 2019 were related to fall protection. It would be interesting to know whether the lack of fall protection also features near the top of workers' compensation claims in California.

The matter gives rise to significant concern because the number of citations for fall protection was 85% higher than the violation that is number two on the list: hazard communication. In fact, the number of hazard communication citations was 6,000 fewer than fall protection citations. The remaining eight places on the list showed little variation from FY 2018, with only respiratory protection swapping places with lockout/tagout violations, which climbed from number five to number four.

Will workers' compensation cover a work-related stroke?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says cerebrovascular accidents, or strokes, rank in the top five major causes of deaths and serious disabilities nationwide, including California. Various studies have indicated that working extended shifts could increase stroke risks. Those at risk might have questions about their chances of receiving workers' compensation benefits should they suffer strokes at work, or even at home, but as a result of long working hours.

CDC data shows that more than 790,000 strokes are suffered by people across the country each year. International researchers report that job strain, night shifts and other irregular work shifts cause unhealthy work conditions. Survey results showed that almost 30% of the participants who worked extended hours were at an increased risk of strokes. The percentage increased to 45% for employees who worked such hours for more than 10 years.

Did you develop a problem with opioids after a work injury?

Opioid addiction has been a hot topic for some time now. The over-prescribing of these powerfully addictive medications has come under fire from a variety of sources.

One area where you may personally have experienced issues with these drugs is through a work-related injury. Evidence suggests that the prescribing of pain relief medications in the workers' compensation arena has contributed to the opioid crisis.

Advocates startled by more falls killing workers

San Diego-area residents who follow the news are familiar with deaths from workers falling from a height.

In April, a worker fell to his death setting up a concert stage. The same month, a memorial service was held for a state transportation worker who died last year in a Kearny Mesa fall. In late July, a landscaper fell from a palm tree in La Jolla.

Personal injury: California dog owners strictly liable for bites

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, approximately 4.5 million reports of dog bites are filed nationwide each year, and an insurance provider reports that most dog bites occur in California. Not all dog bites are cause severe personal injury, but authorities say about one in five bites requires medical care. Victims can seek recovery of damages.

The insurance provider says about half of all dog-bite victims are children, followed by the elderly who are also more vulnerable to attacks by dogs. Although many of the victims are not strangers to the dogs that attack them, mail carriers are at an elevated risk, and they are high on the list of dog-bite victims. Certain breeds of dogs, such as pit bulls, are said to be more likely to attack somebody, but then so are Chihuahuas, but because they are so much smaller, their bites seldom cause severe wounds.

Workers' compensation: The threats of occupational cancer

Safety hazards exist in all industries, and most workers in California face risks of suffering physical injuries or contracting diseases. Workers' compensation claims are proof that some workers in some industries face cancer risks of which they are not aware. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the American Cancer Society, and international authorities have identified occupations that pose exceptional cancer risks.

The first one mentioned was the danger posed by UV radiation, threatening workers who spend extended periods in the sun, with particular mention of pilots and lifeguards. Hairdressers are exposed to over 5,000 chemicals that are present in hair dye, many of which are known cancer-causing agents. Authorities say workers in nail salons work with polishes and astringents that contain more carcinogens than products with which workers in oil refineries and auto garages have to deal. Painters are also exposed to arsenic and fumes of benzene and other chemicals that pose risks that include lymphoma, leukemia, bladder or kidney tumors and multiple myeloma.

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