Most California construction companies and their subcontractors do what they can to ensure the safety of their workers. Even so, no amount of safety policies, procedures or equipment can remove every hazard from a construction site. Even under the best circumstances, a job site accident can cause serious injury or death to a worker.
For example, the California Division of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently began investigating an accident at a road construction site on Highway 4. A man at the site was directing traffic around the construction. Somehow, he slipped, which caused him to fall into an auger -- a large piece of equipment used to drill into the ground -- that was in operation at the time.
The man became trapped in the auger, and he had to be freed from the machine. Once extricated, he was taken to an area hospital by helicopter. Due to the severity of his injuries, medical personnel found it necessary to remove one of his legs. At last report, he remained hospitalized. It is not known when any further information regarding the incident or Cal/OSHA's investigation will be released, though the agency generally has up to six months to complete its investigation.
Due to the amputation of his leg, this man's life is undoubtedly changed forever. Workers' compensation benefits will be essential in helping this man with the financial issues that he -- and likely his family -- will face in the future. Benefits can cover his current and future medical needs and his loss of income during his recovery from this job site accident. However, in this case, he may also receive other benefits such as vocational training and quite possibly permanent disability. It may be beneficial for this man to have a clear understanding of his rights and responsibilities under the workers' compensation system to enable him to pursue all of the benefits to which he may be entitled.
Source: Concord, CA Patch, "Construction Worker Injured On Hwy 4 Undergoes Amputation; Investigation Proceeding", Susan C. Schena, Nov. 17, 2014