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San Diego Workers' Compensation Law Blog

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.

Workplace injuries: Carpal tunnel syndrome difficult to prove

California workers who spend hours on assembly lines, repeating the same movements over and over again, are at risk for developing repetitive stress injuries. This group of workplace injuries affects muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves -- often very painful. Even office workers who spend hours typing or doing other repetitive work can face difficulties.

The most common repetitive stress injury is carpal tunnel syndrome. The carpal tunnel is a gap within the wrist through which the median nerve between the forearm and the hand travels. Repeated use of the wrist can inflame tendons in and around the carpal tunnel, gradually compressing the tunnel and often resulting in excruciating pain. Although it can be a temporary problem, in many cases it is permanent.

Too many workplace injuries in California tree trimming industry

The nature of the work of tree trimmers in California will always put them at significant risks. According to the California Division of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, four workers suffered fatal workplace injuries within a six-week period starting on Dec.1. On that day, a branch struck and killed a tree trimmer and suffocation by palm fronds caused another worker's death three days later. After falling 60 feet, a trimmer died on Jan.6, and an employee who was clearing a tree away from a power line was struck and killed on Jan.9.

Further information provided by Cal/OSHA reveals that the agency investigated almost 70 tree-related workplace accidents in the two years leading up to Sept. 30, 2016. About three in every four of these recorded incidents resulted in the hospitalization of injured workers, and 12 of those did not survive their injuries. The analysis shows that falls, chainsaw accidents, electrical shocks and ladder accidents proved to be the primary causes of fatalities and injuries in this industry.

Resolving your workers' compensation case

You know that if you suffer injuries while on the job in California, you have the right to certain benefits and support through your employer's workers' compensation insurance. Applying for these benefits is just the first step in the process, however, and fairly settling your case may be a key component in your full and fair recovery.

When workplace injuries have fatal consequences

A California man was recently killed while on the job. He is not the first and, sadly, won't be the last. When workplace injuries have fatal consequences, it can leave surviving family members emotionally and financially devastated. Thankfully, work comp death benefits may be able to help in the aftermath.

One of the most recently reported fatal workplace accidents occurred in Northern California. A construction worker was hit by a truck while working on a mudslide clean-up job on Highway 17. A dump truck working at the site is said to have backed over the victim. One other employee was injured in the incident. His current condition is unknown.

Need to know some facts about workers' compensation?

Whether you suffer an injury or just want to know what happens if you do, the information below provides an overview of the workers' compensation system. With this knowledge, your worries about what happens after an injury might go away.

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