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New law hopes to make night agricultural work safer

| Jul 8, 2020 | Workers' Compensation

Many Californians work in agricultural jobs. While this type of employment is relatively plentiful and can be rewarding, that does not diminish the dangers these workers face on a daily and nightly basis. The inherent risks that are part of this job can be mitigated by employers taking the necessary steps with protective equipment, safety initiatives and compliance with state rules. Still, accidents can happen. Workers may miss time on the job and need medical care. This is when workers’ compensation benefits come to the forefront.

The state has implemented new safety standards for nighttime agricultural workers. Many accidents and injuries occur due to problems seeing. With that, there are now lighting standards. These are designed to help avoid mishaps with those who are operating vehicles, harvesting and performing other critical duties from dusk till dawn. The head of the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) pointed out the greater risk of accidents and injury for these workers when they are having visibility issues. The simple act of making it easier to see with enhanced lighting is expected to improve safety.

CAL/OSHA will enforce the new requirements. It will be up to the employers to determine the necessary amount of light, make sure the area is safe and take the job-specific steps for worker safety. There will also be safety meetings led by those supervising the projects to tell workers what to watch out for. Outdoor lighting has been a longtime challenge for agricultural workers. Work at night led to fatalities and injuries. These new rules are in place to address the known problems with these jobs.

Proper safety procedures are undoubtedly important in any job. For farmers and agricultural employees whose duties sometimes require them to work overnight, this is especially true. When considering the litany of factors that place workers in jeopardy, it is a sad fact that accidents are still likely to happen even with employers adhering to the new state law for nighttime agricultural work. After an injury, it is natural to be concerned at to what the future holds. People who work in labor-intensive jobs may not have the safety net others do, so getting wage coverage and medical care after an injury takes on greater urgency.

A fundamental part of getting workers’ compensation benefits is to file the claim in a timely manner, apply for every possible benefit available along with workers’ compensation, appeal if there is a denial or a dispute, and get all the necessary treatment and care to either get back to the old job or receive training for a new job. Of course, in some cases, people are so severely injured that they cannot get back to work at all. Having legal assistance with a workers’ compensation claim can be beneficial to maximizing benefits. Calling for a consultation can help.