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.
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.
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 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.
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 state-regulated insurance program typically covers workers in California. Employers must carry workers' compensation insurance, which pays benefits that include medical expenses and lost wages. Workers who suffer permanent disabilities in work-related accidents might be awarded additional benefits. It is a no-fault program that pays benefits regardless of who was at fault, and workers may only sue employers if there is proof of gross negligence. However, if an independent third party causes injuries to workers, those employees might have grounds to seek damage recovery through the civil justice system.
Most industries have inherent dangers, and the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health prescribe industry-specific safety standards. Employers must take the necessary steps to protect employees from known hazards, even those who are seasoned workers with years of experience. Safety authorities often warn about the dangers of complacency, which is the cause of many workers' compensation claims that are filed each year.
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.