Studies have found that a significant number of workplace injuries in California and elsewhere involve new employees. One such a study concluded that the risk of occupational injuries for new workers within their first month on the job is three times higher than for those who have more than 12 months of service. Sadly, according to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, most workplace injuries that lead to workers' compensation claims are preventable.
California workers who collect recyclable materials and other refuse face multiple safety risks every day. Workers' compensation records indicate that waste collection is one of the most hazardous jobs nationwide. Common dangers they face include chemical poisoning, exposure to vermin and injuries caused by sharp objects. However, safety authorities say ergonomic injuries are the most common occupational hazards in this industry.
Employers in California must protect their workers from harm. The responsibility includes informing employees of the work-related hazards they might encounter, and safety training on how to mitigate the dangers they face. It applies to all workers, regardless of whether they work on or off-site. This is to prevent workplace accidents, and although workers' compensation benefits can provide financial assistance to injured employees or the surviving family members of deceased workers, it could never replace lost lives.
The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health reported that an investigation was launched into an incident that sent four construction workers to the hospital. Reportedly, the injuries were caused by the partial collapse of a building under construction. Although nobody suffered life-threatening injuries, workers' compensation claims are likely to follow.
During the recent National Forklift Safety Day, safety authorities nationwide urged employers in California and other states to review their safety programs and modify them where necessary. Many workers' compensation claims involve workers who were on foot when they were injured in forklift accidents. For this reason, safety training for pedestrians in manufacturing facilities, warehouses and fulfillment or distribution centers is crucial.
Safety authorities in California and other states will use the third week in June to focus on trench safety. A significant number of workers' compensation claims each year result from excavation-related injuries and fatalities. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health Administration notes that cave-ins can be prevented.
Last October, a 49-year-old worker in a Napa vineyard lost his life in an on-the-job accident. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health investigated the incident, and in April, the agency proposed penalties totaling almost $38,000 for safety violations. However, the Cal/OSHA Bureau of Investigations has reportedly taken over the inquiry after the vineyard owners file an appeal against the proposed penalties. This does not have an impact on any workers' compensation claim that the surviving family members of the deceased worker might have filed.
Very soon, California workers will be exposed to the heat of summer, and they will rely on their employers to protect them from excessive exposure. Outdoor workers such as those in the construction, landscaping and agriculture industries are protected by the safety standards of the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health. However, indoor workers file many heat-related workers' compensation claims each year, and the safety agency is working on developing standards to protect these workers from heat stress as well.
The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health has launched an investigation into an incident that caused the death of a farm worker. The safety agency reports that emergency workers were called to a fruit packing facility on a recent Tuesday evening. They arrived to find several workers who appeared to have been exposed to ammonia gas. This incident will likely lead to a workers' compensation death benefits claim.
Following years of complaints and reports about exposure to lead dust at a gun range in Santa Clara County, California's Department of Toxic Substances Control and the county's Environmental Health Department inspected a gun range. This was to determine the levels of lead to which workers and patrons are exposed. Victims of work-related lead poisoning file many workers' compensation claims each year.