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Glendale California Workers' Compensation Blog

How to avoid a slip-and-fall accident

Slip and fall accidents are one of the common workplace incidents to occur across many industries throughout the country. Whether you work in an office building, a warehouse or at a construction site, there can be situations where a slip and fall accident is inevitable. These types of accidents can be relatively minor. However, they have the potential to cause serious damage and may result in long-term injuries that could affect your life for years to come. While your employer is ultimately responsible for keeping your workplace safe and free from potential dangers that may cause a slip and fall incident to occur, there are things you can do to minimize your risk of becoming involved in such an accident. 

First, be sure that your work area is free from debris that may cause an accident. Keep your floor picked up and free from cords, cables and clutter. If there are items that must be kept in your workspace, make sure they are neatly organized, stacked or arranged in such a way that you will not be able to trip over them. 

Biohazard injuries can lead to compensation claims

When most people think of biohazards in the workplace, what comes to mind usually are hospital and lab employees working around contaminated bodily fluids of infected patients. Certainly, those employees face a higher than average risk of getting injured or becoming ill due to a biohazard exposure in the workplace.

But the reality is that there are many professions where workers are routinely exposed to potentially hazardous biological material. Below are some professions where the workers face biohazard risks of varying degrees.

Can you get lung disease from work?

When you punch into work each day, you may not realize that your working environment can have an affect on your short-term and long-term health. You may be exposed to certain stimuli at work on a daily basis, which could in turn, take a toll on your overall physical wellbeing. One of the most common occupational injuries involves lung disease, asthma, pneumonia, silicosis and COPD. In fact, occupational lung diseases are the leading cause of work-related illnesses in the country, according to the American Lung Association. Yet, they are preventable, and employers are responsible for ensuring workers are able to perform in a safe work environment. 

Many industry workers are at risk of developing an occupational lung disease. For example, if you work in a garage, textile factory, at a construction site or mine, you may be exposed to a wide-range of dust, fibers, asbestos and dangerous chemicals. Your employer should make sure you are equipped with the proper filtration gear that will filter out any of these toxins, as even a single exposure to a hazardous toxin can cause damage to the lungs. 

Are temps in danger of on-the-job accidents?

There are many companies throughout California and across the country that provide temporary workers to companies in many industries. These temporary workers provide additional manpower when other workers are out for medical leave or a company is simply short workers for a period of time. Studies show, however, that these temp workers are injured at a higher rate than regular workers who perform the same duties on a daily basis. It is crucial that temp workers be extra cautious when performing these temporary duties that may be unfamiliar to them. 

A temp company, Priority Workforce, was recently put under scrutiny after a review found that they have been cited for 11 cases of safety violations. In one incident, an employee was killed and four others were injured. A number of these cases involved lack of safety training from the company. When temp workers are hired on for a short period of time, companies may fail to give them the proper training that will keep them safe on the job. As a result, they are more likely to become injured or killed when working around dangerous equipment. 

Returning to work with a TBI: What you should know

Once you have been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury, there are a myriad of issues you must work through to get back on your feet. Depending on the severity of your brain injury, as well as where the injury is located, you may have to go through different types of rehabilitation. You may face issues involving cognitive difficulties, physical weakness, insomnia, trouble communicating, depression, anxiety, memory issues and trouble reasoning or problem solving. In some cases, you may face challenges when going back to work and resuming the tasks that you once completed rather easily. 

Before you go back to work, you may want to work out a plan or schedule with your employer. If possible, ease back into the workplace by working just a few days a week and for shorter hours. Coordinate with your employer to see if they will decrease your workload so you are not overwhelmed when returning for the first few weeks. Be sure to take more frequent breaks at work. 

Trench collapses can be fatal

One of the deadliest accidents on a construction site is a trench collapse. Due to the heavy weight of the soil — as much as 3,000 lbs. for a single cubic yard — few workers survive the experience.

That means that preventing a collapse is even more vital. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), in a single recent year, a dozen construction workers were injured and nearly two dozen died as a result of trench collapses that were almost universally preventable.

What scaffolding hazards should construction workers know about?

 

As you know, construction sites are not uncommon in a busy and growing state like California. A significant portion of construction workers’ duties will take place on scaffolding structures. It is essential for you and your associates to observe safety standards regarding scaffolding, as well as for your employer to ensure safety training and procedures are being met.

What do I do if I disagree with my doctor?

A worker who is injured and seeks payment for medical treatment under workers’ compensation can choose a doctor from a selection offered by the employer’s insurance company. However, some workers may have disagreements with their doctor over a number of different issues. If this is the case for you, you should know that California law provides ways to dispute your doctor’s claims and even allow you to select a new doctor if necessary.

Some injured workers have a problem with the treatment plan recommended by their doctor. According to the California Department of Industrial Relations website, you have the option to change your doctor. The doctor still has to be authorized by the employer’s insurance company, which can be chosen through the medical provider network set up by your employer’s insurance company.

What do safety sign colors mean?

As a California worker, you have likely been instructed on how to keep an eye out for possible danger in the workplace. To help their workers maintain proper vigilance, jobsite management will often erect safety signs to warn employees about dangerous spots and hazards. You can usually tell how severe the danger is just by looking at the color of the sign.

Per Safestart, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that safety signs be designated by certain colors depending on the severity of the hazard. Certain hazards may only present a minor threat of an injury, or injury may result if a worker engages in unsound work practices. In these situations, the workplace will erect a yellow colored sign as a warning.

Developing a safety management program that works

Many California companies recognize the seriousness of a workplace accident and openly acknowledge that extreme incidents could immediately compromise their organization. To mitigate the risks of hiring employees and relying on them to assume responsibility for operating critical parts of the company, corporate leaders often go to great lengths to develop and implement a functioning safety management program. 

While the concept is promising in that it suggests a mechanism for providing education about avoiding dangerous behaviors, such programs are actually quite useless unless they have been developed with the unique circumstances of an organization in mind. When a company is able to identify the risks that are unique to both its industry and its individual processes, they can much more effectively develop a program that addresses each risk and hazard with critical attention to detail. 

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