The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health urged employers to heed the high temperatures that have been predicted and protect workers from excessive heat exposure. Temperatures are expected to reach up to 100 degrees in the coming weeks. Taking the necessary precautions can prevent heat illness, and yet, each year the state-regulated workers' compensation program receives benefits claims from workers who were not protected.
Construction workers in California and elsewhere risk their lives whenever they enter trenches. The number of workers' compensation benefits claims that follow cave-ins is concerning, and authorities hope that the upcoming Trench Safety Stand Down from June 17 to 21 would prevent future wall collapses. Although trenches and excavations are both human-made cuts or depressions in the surface of the earth, trenches are those of which the depth is greater than the width, with widths not exceeding 15 feet.
Authorities say a significant percentage of workers suffer workplace injuries attributable to their own fault. Fortunately, the California workers' compensation insurance program is a no-fault system that pays benefits regardless of who caused a work-related accident. Benefits claims data shows there are some contributing factors that lead to many preventable work injuries.
First responders in California and elsewhere face severe consequences due to exposure to opioids such as fentanyl. Although they are covered by the state-regulated workers' compensation insurance system, the risks could be life-threatening. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health says emergency workers could inhale aerosols or powders, ingest them or they could come in contact with mucous membranes, particularly involving the eyes.
During the preparation of the grounds at the Empire Polo Club in Indio in the week leading up to the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, a tragic workplace accident claimed the life of a stagehand. Although his family will be eligible for financial assistance with the funeral and burial costs through the California workers' compensation system, nothing can ever make up for a loved one's death. The deceased worker was a 49-year-old San Diego man.
California workers in all industries will be aware of the many safety hazards they face every day. While each job might have unique dangers, safety authorities say there are a few basic hazards that threaten employees in all work environments. These are hazards that cause millions of non-fatal injuries nationwide each year, giving rise to workers' compensation benefits claims.
A California father of an electrician assistant says the fact that his deceased son's employer received a fine of almost $40,000 does not provide him comfort because the incident that caused his son's death should never have happened. He might feel the same way about the workers' compensation death benefits for which the surviving family members might be eligible. The man says the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health is glossing over his son's workplace death without providing answers about why the tragedy happened.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a report last October that shows an alarming rise in fatalities among heavy-duty truckers. While 3.5 deaths occur per 10,000 workers across all professions, 26.8 in every 10,000 truckers die in traffic accidents. That represents a 25 percent increase since 2011. These numbers will likely also reflect in the claims for survivor's benefits that are filed with the workers' compensation program in California and other states.
The flu season typically peaks in February, and it has already claimed several lives in California. Every year, a significant number of flu-related workers' compensation claims are filed. Workers in hospitals and other health care facilities face higher risks of exposure than most employees in other industries. Employers are responsible for the health and safety of their workers, and because vaccinations are not guaranteed to be effective, they might have to provide additional protection.
Employees in California might not be aware of the deadly hazards posed by dust accumulation. According to the Chemical Safety Board, data for the period 2006 through 2017 shows that incidents involving combustible dust caused 337 injuries nationwide, and it also led to 66 fatalities and many workers' compensation benefits claims. Oxygen, fuel, ignition, dispersion and confinement are the five elements that combine to cause a dust explosion.