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San Diego Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Workplace injuries at California explosives plant results in fine

One would expect an explosive plant to have the utmost concern and care for safety procedures, given the significant risk to employees should things go wrong. The California Division of Safety and Health agrees. That's why Pacific Scientific, a California explosives plant, was cited and fined over $293,000 for an accident that resulted in serious injuries for one employee. Cal/OSHA concluded that the workplace injuries were inexcusable considering the circumstances that led to the explosion that seriously injured one worker. 

A female employee was loading a tray with 79 tubes containing explosives known as SCID. She had mounted the tubes onto aluminum support brackets on an aluminum metal tray. While attempting to tape the tubes to the tray, almost all of the tubes exploded, seriously harming the worker. 

You have a lot on your plate if you suffer a restaurant injury

Working in a California restaurant can be exhilarating. You may enjoy interacting with the customers and the high-energy pace of the dinner hour, especially when a customer leaves an appreciative tip. However, restaurant work carries a high rate of accidents and injuries.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic received reports of about 190,000 restaurant-related injuries in a single year. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration encourages restaurant managers to create a safety-conscious environment among their workers. If you are aware of the potential dangers on the job, you may be more able to avoid becoming a victim of a workplace injury.

Disability benefits are earned benefits

The idea of Social Security is to provide a safety net to the elderly, the disabled and families who have lost the primary breadwinner. The benefits are in place to provide a safety net for vulnerable people across the country who need it most. A recent article talking about the disability insurance portion of Social Security Disability Insurance shares information that many people in California may find interesting. 

SSDI is an earned income benefit. Workers pay into the Social Security fund through tax withholding on their paychecks. In order to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance workers have to work for 10 years, the same as regular Social Security and Medicare coverage, although the number or work credits is adjusted for younger disabled people. 

Warnings about workplace injuries at California store ignored

An employee has a right to safety as well as a responsibility to report dangerous conditions on the job. Improper training, ignorance of safety protocols and poorly maintained equipment can lead to injury or even death for workers. When an attentive employee reports such violations to leadership, the expectation is that the dangerous situations will be rectified. In California, one man was recently killed and another man fired as a result of safety issues at a popular retail donation store. 

The fatal event happened as a result of a man being crushed by heavy equipment. The man was checking the alignment of a bin when the driver of a truck suddenly released the heavy bin and crushed the young man's head. His co-worker, who witnessed the accident, alleged that employees were not being properly trained regarding the safety protocols of using the heavy equipment. 

What happens if a claim for workplace injuries is denied?

After being hurt on the job, many California employees file claims to have their medical and other costs paid for -- just as they were told to do. They begin to receive medical treatment and take time off work to recover only to find out that their claims for workplace injuries were denied. Panic sets in since medical care is expensive, and they wonder about running out of sick time. Fortunately, there is an appeals process for denied claims.

Any worker who receives a denial of his or her workers' compensation claim needs to act quickly. There is a deadline for challenging the claim administrator's decision. After filing an Application for Adjudication of Claim with the appropriate office, a worker receives a notification that the claim was received. Thereafter, a Declaration of Readiness to Proceed must be filed in order to schedule a mandatory settlement conference with an administrative law judge.

What are your rights after silica exposure in the workplace?

Some California workers face various risks every time they show up for work. From using power tools to slip-and-fall accidents, there are many ways that a person could suffer an injury in the workplace. Just as dangerous are the environment hazards that may eventually lead to pain, suffering and serious illness, even decades in the future. 

Silica exposure is a potential hazard for individuals who work in a wide range of industries, but many of these workers are unaware of the danger or impact on their health until years later. Silica dust can cause serious problems, and if you believe that you are a victim, you may find it beneficial to know how to protect your rights and financial interests.

Excavator operator suffers fatal workplace injuries

Construction company owners in California are responsible for the safety and health of all their employees. This includes making sure that operators of all equipment are properly certified to work on the machines to which they are assigned. Employers who fail to comply with the safety regulations as prescribed by the California Division of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration may create circumstances in which serious workplace injuries can be suffered, and even deaths.

It is not clear whether a recent fatal accident in Corona involved any safety violations, but that might be determined by an investigation by Cal/OSHA. Authorities say an incident that claimed the life of a 59-year-old employee of a construction company occurred at approximately 8 a.m. on a Tuesday in early May. Their reports indicate that the man was operating an excavator that tumbled over when it traveled over the edge of an embankment.

Workplace injuries: Summer heat threatens California farm workers

Reportedly, high temperatures are expected early this summer, and the California Division of the Occupational Health and Safety Administration urged owners of farms and supervisors to take care of agricultural workers who are exposed to excessive outdoor heat. The agency used a recent heat safety-training program to remind employers of the farmworker who succumbed to the effects of heat exhaustion last year. The training aimed to make crew bosses and supervisors aware of the symptoms they need to look out for to prevent heat illness, which can be as dangerous as any other workplace injuries.

To avoid heat illness, farmworkers must have access to shaded areas wherever they work. Where no shade is available, areas must be erected to provide shade, and employees must be allowed to take frequent breaks to cool down and go to the bathroom. Cool water must also be abundantly available to workers, and supervisors must encourage them to drink water more often than they would usually drink.

Workplace violence: A real threat to your safety at work

Workers’ compensation benefits are for individuals who suffer injuries while at work or as a direct result of their work conditions. Workplace violence is also a valid reason to seek compensation, yet many people are either unaware of their right to financial support or unaware of the fact that anyone in any profession could find themselves the victim of violence at some point.

While no California workplace can be completely immune from violence, employers bear the responsibility of eliminating as many risks and threats to safety as possible. If you are the victim of workplace violence of any type, you will find great benefit in seeking legal help in order to discover your legal options and secure the compensation you deserve.

Are you an employee or a contractor? It matters in workers' comp.

It's called employee classification, and most people don't know the first thing about it. You see on your paycheck or W2 that you're an "exempt" employee -- what does that mean? Your boss says you're an independent contractor -- but are you?

It's confusing, but it's important. Whether you're an employee or a contractor in California is determined in large part by an IRS checklist, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and California's Employment Development Department and Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. These are primarily focused on the classifications for taxes and whether wage, hour and overtime rules apply, but they also matter for workers' compensation purposes.

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