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Chula Vista California Workers' Compensation Law Blog

1 suffers serious harm in fall-related workplace accident

Falls from heights continue to be one of the leading causes of serious injury for workers in California and across the nation. A fall from even a lesser distance can cause injuries that have a lingering impact on a person's life, and those that involve greater distances could lead to life-altering consequences. A man in another state reportedly suffered severe injuries during a workplace accident that took place at a construction site.

The accident is said to have taken place on a recent Saturday as the man was performing job-related tasks at the site of a building under construction. While lifting materials on the roof of the structure, he suddenly slipped through a hole and fell nearly 30 feet to the ground below. According to reports, the hole was left in the roof after an air conditioning unit was removed.

Workers' compensation benefits for repetitive motion injuries

California workers should not be in pain when they clock in, but this is reality for many people. Job duties and workplace accidents cause much of this daily pain. Like other people in California, you are a hard worker and want to do your best to keep going, but this can make an already bad situation so much worse. Instead, you might be able to access workers' compensation benefits while you recover.

Workers' compensation benefits are for more than just traumatic injuries that land people in the hospital for weeks on end. In fact, musculoskeletal disorders are the most common types of workplace injuries. Although you can develop a MSD in a serious accident, you are probably more likely to develop one just by carrying out your regular work duties.

Personal injury: Yosemite Park might face liability claims

Yosemite National Park in Central California is known for its magnificent waterfalls, but almost 200 recent visitors to the park will remember it for another reason. Many employees and visitors who spent time in the park in early January suffered personal injury when they contracted a gastrointestinal illness. Park officials say most of the victims reported symptoms suggesting norovirus, and some of those who became ill were diagnosed with the virus.

Investigations to identify the source of this highly infectious virus is ongoing. Norovirus can spread rapidly in various ways. Consuming food or beverages prepared by an infected person is one way of spreading the virus, but touching contaminated surfaces or direct contact with someone who is already infected can also cause infection. The symptoms typically appear 12 to 48 hours after the victim was exposed.

Having the world on your shoulders, a common feeling for truckers

Not only do truckers earn their livings in one of the most dangerous occupations in California, but surveys and workers' compensation data also show that they experience injuries that keep them away from work at higher rates than any other job. Although shoulder injuries come second after back injuries on the list of most common injuries among big rig operators, they cost more in time and money. It is not surprising that the term for one type of musculoskeletal shoulder injury is "trucker shoulder."

If you spend most of your working hours driving an 18-wheeler, you will likely be all too aware of the pain caused by trucker shoulder. Your daily loading and unloading of cargo, chaining, tarping, and getting in and out of the truck's cab are all repetitive motions that cause chronic inflammation in the shoulder joint.

Are sleep disorders covered by workers' compensation?

Workers in a variety of occupations in California are candidates for sleep disorders caused by shift work. While workers' compensation might not cover the disorder as such, workplace injuries and certain illnesses that could be caused by the lack of sufficient sleep will likely be covered. Workers who are at risk include police officers, firefighters, paramedics, nurses, doctors, office cleaners and factory workers.

Shift work, both permanent and on a rotation basis, can leave workers in a permanent state of fatigue and sleepiness. Statistics show that shift work disorder can lead to higher rates of injuries and absenteeism. In many cases, shift work affects the worker's ability to focus and can impair his or her memory, increasing the risks for injuries.

Beware, this life-saving device can be life-threatening

If your occupation has you working at heights, you might find comfort in knowing that your fall arrest system will prevent you from falling to your death. However, did you know that the danger continues even after the fall harness arrested your fall? That same device that just saved your life can be deadly if you remain suspended even for a few minutes.

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health has strict standards with which your employer must comply. Your employer's responsibilities include adequate safety training to teach workers not only about the proper use of a fall harness, but also the need for a quick rescue to prevent suspension trauma.

Scaffold injuries feature among top workers' compensation claims

Safety authorities in California and elsewhere point to the fact that scaffold-related violations dropped from number one to number three on the list of most frequently cited safety violations. However, it remains at number three, which is still concerning. They say the number of workers' compensation claims for falls from scaffolds can be significantly reduced if employers provide adequate safety training and frequent refresher sessions to prevent complacency. That requires a competent person on site who can not only assess the safety of scaffold structures but also provide the necessary training.

Safety standards require all workers on scaffolds to have fall protection if they are at levels higher than 10 feet above lower levels, and they must provide safe means of access whenever platforms are two feet or more below or above access points. Climbing cross braces pose significant risks, and jumping from levels higher than two feet can lead to knee and ankle injuries. Hook-on or portable ladders, ramps, personnel hoists, or other safe scaffold access must be provided.

How many workers' compensation claims will follow holiday sales?

With the frantic pace of holiday shopping, workers in various occupations across California will face higher injury risks than at other times of the year. Retail and wholesale workers, including those in warehouses and fulfillment centers, and transportation workers will be at risk. Many of them may need to file workers' compensation claims during or in the aftermath of the holiday shopping season.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and other safety authoritiehave urged employers not to lose sight of the fact that many seasonal workers are inexperienced. Without adequate safety training and supervision, preventable injuries, and even deaths, can occur. Along with the risks posed by their specific tasks and duties, seasonal workers must learn how to manage crowds of shoppers.

Workers' compensation: Lead exposure can cause irreparable harm

Many California workers are exposed to dangerous levels of lead, often without their knowledge. A new law was recently enacted to provide protection. Elevated lead levels in a worker's blood can cause irreversible heart disease and neurological damage. The risk of permanent damage increases when exposure is prolonged, and this is where the new law comes in -- but how does workers' compensation treat occupational illnesses caused by lead exposure?

According to the law, exposed workers will be monitored, and timely action will be taken whenever overexposure or high lead levels are reported. According to the California Department of Public Health, 2017 data revealed that over 6,000 workers statewide were found to have elevated levels of lead in their blood. Typical consequences include kidney disease, hypertension, cognitive dysfunction and more.

Forestry is a 4-D job -- dirty, difficult, dangerous and deadly

Forestry is one of the most dangerous industries in California. If this is how you earn your living, compliance with safety standards is crucial. Along with proper safety training, supervision, and providing the necessary safety equipment, there is not much more your employer can do to keep you safe.

Your part in staying safe as a logger involves complying with safety protocols, looking out for yourself and your co-workers, and never becoming complacent. Too many lives are lost in this industry because workers who have labored in the forests for years without adverse incidents think they are invincible and that all their experience would keep them safe.

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