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California task force works to reduce workplace injuries

A multi-agency task force entitled the California Department of Industrial Relations is conducting inspections throughout the state. The task force is working to reduce workplace injuries and wage and hour complaints by proactively inspecting businesses and citing them for any apparent safety and wage violations. So far, citations were issued to 83 percent of the businesses that have been inspected.

The task force, which includes agencies such as Cal/OSHA, the Attorney General's Office and others was formed last year to identify employers engaged in unscrupulous practices. These practices range from failing to ensure the safety of workers to not paying workers what they are owed. As it turns out, the construction industry has emerged as the most predominant offender.

There is no data yet regarding how effective the inspections have been in correcting the issues cited. However, an argument can be made that if only one life is saved, it was worth the effort. Employers that do not value the safety of their employees ought to be held accountable -- and not just after workers have been injured or even killed due to an employer's negligence.

Issues regarding pay are important, but the prevention of workplace injuries could make the most difference. Even companies that care about the health and welfare of their employees run the risk of accidents. However, the odds of an accident occurring are lower than at a company that does not share that stance. Workers' compensation benefits are available for California workers that are injured and families of workers that have died on-the-job, but it would not be far-fetched to assume going home in one piece each day is preferable to everyone.

Source:, No place to hide for scofflaw California employers, No author, Nov. 29, 2013

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