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Los Angeles Workers Compensation Law Blog

Unhygienic workplace can lead to work-related illness and injury

Unhygienic work environments in California can have many consequences. They can lead to high staff turnovers. Where there are breeding places for bugs and bacteria, the health of the all the employees can be affected. Work-related illness and injury can also have an adverse impact on a company's bottom line.

If no attention is paid to cleanliness, regardless of whether it is an office environment or an industrial facility, germs will be harbored that can cause the spread of bacteria and viruses. Workplace illnesses can cause time off work that can in turn harm productivity and profitability. The solution is to create a culture of cleanliness and to encourage each employee to clean his or her workspace every day.

Do you know what to do after suffering a work accident injury?

Members of the workforce in California are all at risk of suffering on-the-job injuries, regardless of the industry in which they are employed. Even a slip-and-fall accident in an office environment can cause injuries that might range from bruises to traumatic brain injuries. The reality is that every employee should be prepared and know what to do in the event of a work accident.

Getting the necessary medical care is the first step, even if the injuries seem minor. Some injuries only become apparent later, and a documented record of the medical evaluation will be required for any workers' compensation claims that might follow. It's also crucial to report the incident to the employer. Again, even if the injury seems insignificant and it's possible to go straight back to work, having the episode recorded and documented may become important at a later stage.

Employees: Workers' injuries are expected in hostile workplaces

Many workers in the workforce across the country do not seem to be happy with their workplace environments, nor do they feel safe at work. This was revealed by recent research that was a collaboration between a nonprofit institute and two noted universities. It appears more than half of the respondents nationwide claim to work in unpleasant circumstances in which they are exposed to potentially hazardous conditions with high numbers of workers' injuries.

In 2015, 3,066 people in the United States between ages 25 and 71 were asked about their jobs. Of the 2,066 respondents who were employed at that time, one in five described their workplace environments as threatening and hostile. Furthermore, approximately half of those employees had to put in some of their free time to meet the demands of their jobs.

Strict rules to prevent a work accident in confined spaces

California employees who have to face the dangers of confined spaces in the line of duty would likely rely heavily on their employers to comply with safety regulations. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health Administration has strict rules to keep workers safe when they have to enter dangerous spaces. A work accident in a confined area could have tragic consequences.

According to Cal/OSHA, a confined space is an area into which a person can enter, but the size of the opening will restrict or limit his or her ability to enter and exit. Such areas allow only limited periods of occupancy, and further dangers can exist. These may include hazardous atmospheric conditions, potential entrapment, engulfment or other risks. Employers must identify confined spaces and classify them as "Permit Required."

Studies underway to prevent robot-related industrial accidents

Robots are becoming more prevalent in California workplaces. At this time, little is known about the risks posed by them, and potential industrial accidents that could occur when problems arise. In anticipation, the newly formed Center for Occupational Robotics Research was recently launched by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

The aim is to assess the risks and benefits of robots and to use that information in the development of guidelines for the safe interaction between the machines and people. Although robots have been part of the manufacturing industry for many years, they have evolved into devices that now work alongside human employees rather than in caged isolation. Because it is still a relatively new collaboration, the potential hazards are not yet known.

Wildfire smoke poses workplace illness risk in California

Devastating wildfires have been burning in Northern California for weeks, and more than 40 people have lost their lives. While firefighters risk their lives in the ongoing battle to bring the fire under control, life goes on for workers in all industries. Employees who are exposed to the smoked filled air -- even indoor workers -- can be overcome with an illness that could affect their lungs.

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health warns that wildfire smoke is filled with harmful gases, chemicals and tiny particles that can be inhaled. Exposed workers may experience reduced lung functions, wheezing, coughing and breathing problems. Smoke-filled air can worsen the conditions of employees with existing asthma, lung or heart conditions.

Avoid illness when cleaning up after wildfire property damage

Following tragedies such as the wildfires in California that burned down many properties, it is only natural for homeowners to want to sift through the ashes for anything they might recover. However, these are tasks that are better carried out by qualified workers who are aware of the hazards they may encounter. Officials from the California Environmental Protection Agency say exposure to soot, ash and decomposed products may cause illness and irritation.

Toxic substance officials are typically mobilized to monitor wildfire cleanups. Many of the products kept in homes are toxic substances and chemicals that get only more concentrated when they are burned. It settles in the ash, but any movements make the fine soot particles airborne. When the debris is inhaled, or if it gets onto the skin, the health consequences can be severe.

Negligent operating of machinery might have caused fatality

One of the hazards in many work environments in California is complacency. Employers are responsible for the health and safety of their workers, and that includes frequent safety training sessions to remind all employees of the dangers of their occupations. When nothing goes wrong for some time, it is not uncommon for workers to become complacent about safety regulations. Negligent operating of machinery is often to blame for many on-the-job accidents.

This may have been the cause of a recent fatal accident in the Salinas Valley early on a recent Wednesday morning. According to a preliminary report by the California Highway Patrol, a 36-year-old tractor operator headed east on a dirt road in the agricultural area. They say it was still dark and conditions included dense fog when the crash occurred.

Machinery accident: Worker caught in the way of collapsing rig

There will always be a chance of an unanticipated incident happening at any work site. This was the case in a California high school's parking lot when an employee was injured in a machinery accident on a recent Monday. It happened while a subcontracting work crew was installing solar panels.

According to a report prepared by the fire department, the incident occurred at a school in San Miguel. One of the pieces of machinery necessary for the installation of the solar panels was a hydraulic rig used for drilling. Under the circumstances yet to be determined, this rig toppled over, striking one of the workers who was on site.

Cal/OSHA warns about occupational disease outbreak

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health recently warned employers in some industries about a hepatitis A outbreak in certain counties. They were urged to take preventative measures to protect workers from the virus that could cause a potentially deadly occupational disease. Hepatitis A is highly contagious, and it is typically spread through contact with the fecal matter of an infected person -- even in amounts that are microscopic.

Current locations that were identified as the outbreak sources are places where people live in conditions that are unsanitary such as gathering places for homeless individuals and users of illicit drugs. Employees who are at risk are laboratory or health care workers or those occupied in emergency medical care and public safety. Sanitation workers and janitors in homeless shelters and facilities at which substance abuse is treated are also at a high risk of exposure to the virus.

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