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San Jose Workers' Compensation Blog

Some hazards to police officers come from unseen dangers

As a police officer, you accept certain risks. You know that you could find yourself in a dangerous situation at any time. You do what you can to prevent injuries to yourself, your fellow officers and the citizens you swore to protect. Unfortunately, your luck could run out, and you could find yourself suffering from an injury.

When most people in California think about a police officer suffering an injury on duty, they more than likely think about car accidents, shootings and physical altercations. However, other unseen hazards could also put the lives of the state's law enforcement officers in jeopardy -- maybe not today or tomorrow, but at some point.

Who can answer your workers' compensation questions?

As an employee in California, you are likely aware of the insurance coverage your employer is expected to arrange for the company's workers. However, has anybody at your place of employment explained how workers' compensation benefits work? If you were involved in a workplace accident, would you know the procedures for filing benefits claims, which injuries will be covered and when will you receive compensation?

The last question might be the most prominent in your mind because a loss of income can lead to severe financial problems that will also affect your family. Medicare coverage becomes effective after 29 months, and payments from Social Security Disability Insurance keeps injured workers waiting for five months. In contrast, you can expect workers' compensation insurance to pay for your work-related medical expenses immediately, and if you are temporarily disabled, you could receive a wage-replacement package within a week.

Female construction workers' shapes may threaten their lives

If you are a female construction worker in a full-body harness designed for a bulky male, your life may be at risk. Across the nation, including in California, the construction workforce's face is rapidly changing. An ever-growing number of women are building construction careers. However, along with dangers, such as fatal falls, entrapment, electrocutions and more, as a woman, you might face some unique hazards in the construction industry. Unique aspects such as the body shapes and often-smaller physiques of women are but some of the challenges for employers.

When health care workers have to focus on their own health...

Historically, health care workers are noble and altruistic, and their patients come first. As a health care worker, would you like to get back to those times when doctors, nurses, aides and more could focus on healing or improving the health of their patients without fearing for their own safety? Sadly, with changing times, new laws are being passed to keep health care workers safe.

While much attention was paid in recent years to the threat of back injuries for hospital workers when moving and lifting patients, those who work with outpatients are facing risks of violence. The California Office of Administrative Law recently approved an update to the standards of safety and protection for health care workers who do their bit by caring for patients away from hospitals. Starting April 1, new rules about reporting and other safety issues will come into effect.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administrations says four times more violent workplace incidents occur in the health industry, compared to private industry. Alarmingly, in most violent incidents against health care workers, the patients are the sources of the violence.

Are Workplace Injuries Part Of The Job Requirements When You're A Nurse?

Nurses, nursing assistants and other health care professionals, have occupations that require caring daily for others. But what happens when as one of these professionals, you get hurt on the job?

Unfortunately you're often not given proper care in return, and workplace injuries are checked off as unsubstantiated.

Can I Get Workers' Comp If I Had A Pre-Existing Condition?

Workers' comp seems fairly simple: You are injured on the job and you receive benefits for medical care. But what if you aggravate an old injury at work rather than get a new injury? Can you still receive workers' comp in cases where you have a pre-existing injury?

Preexisting injuries are one of the main reasons that insurers deny workers' compensation claims. Typically, the insurer will claim that the injury either occurred outside or work or happened before the claimant took the job. So, if you had a history of back pain after an old sports injury, would you be able to get workers' comp if your job at a grocery store aggravated the old injury? The answer is: It depends.

18 LA-based Garment Companies Fined $682,000

The California Labor Commissioners Office has fined $682,000 to 18 garment companies in Los Angeles for violated labor laws. This is not the first go-round for Los Angeles-based businesses - along with garment workers, other locally exploited professions include those who work in or at car washes, restaurants, construction sites and landscaping.

The garment companies were cited for not having workers' comp insurance, not providing itemized time sheets that accurately show hours on the job and/or they didn't properly register with the state as an entity that is doing business.

Women face an uphill battle in getting workers' comp benefits

The battle over gender equality in the workplace has long been an important subject. Sadly, women face an unlevel playing field in far too many industries. They also often encounter discrimination when it comes to getting workers' compensation benefits - an issue made clear in a class-action lawsuit filed last summer.

The case involves several female employees who filed claims for work injuries ranging from carpal tunnel syndrome to job-related cancer. Their claims were reduced or denied based on gender-related grounds that should never have factored into the equation.

Avoiding heat-related on-the-job injury

The summer months in California bring intense heat and an increased chance of heat stroke and other heat-related injury or illness. At this time of year, it is critical for workers to know how to protect themselves from an on-the-job injury and how to proceed in case they find themselves hurt or sick. Preparation is key for both heat safety and a full understanding of worker rights.

Employees should be fully aware of their rights when working in extreme temperatures. If an individual is required to be outside for his or her job, they must be provided with a shaded area for breaks and provided with free, unlimited water. Employers can also provide snacks and sports drinks to keep electrolyte levels up, and there should be a dress code of light-colored and lightweight clothing. 

California refinery investigated after workplace injuries

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board recently released a report that is the product of an investigation reaching back several years. The Tesoro refinery in California received a critical analysis of its safety procedures following a series of workplace injuries that prompted the investigation. Tesoro spokespeople deny the allegations and insist they are committed to the safety of their employees.

In 2014, four Tesoro employees were burned by exposure to sulfuric acid. Despite the fact that the workers were airlifted to a medical center, the refinery described the incident as minor. The accident launched an investigation by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health along with the CSB. Tesoro apparently fought the investigation, but a month later, two more refinery workers were burned by acid. CSB determined that the injuries were part of a pattern, and that no changes had been made to improve safety following the injuries.

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