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Avoiding workplace injuries in confined spaces

Workplace injuries may be considered an inevitable part of working in industrial fields, but employers are nevertheless required to implement safety standards for workers. Employees may be especially susceptible to workplace injuries because of air quality issues when working in confined spaces. Because of this risk, employers or project managers must adhere to strict safety protocols.

California has certain laws in place to protect the health and safety of all workers required to be in small or closed-off spaces. Employers must have a written plan, clearly marking all confined spaces. The air quality should be tested on a specific schedule to ensure that workers are not exposed to dangerous or toxic fumes and gases. 

Sufficient training is required to be given to California employees who are assigned to work in a confined space. By having rescue procedures, safety training and hazard controls, employers can protect the safety of those they employ. When an injury does occur in a confined workspace, medical expenses and lost wages may be covered through workers' compensation benefits. These benefits are typically granted regardless of the risk, unknown hazards and circumstances of a workplace accident. 

Workers' compensation law is a complex legal field and sometimes a claim is disputed or denied. Those who have suffered from workplace injuries suffered in confined spaces have the right to seek legal counsel in order to better understand specific legal options. When employee rights have been violated and/or a workers' compensation claim is appropriate after an on-the-job accident, it can be useful to seek assistance from a lawyer.

Source: dir.ca.gov, "Confined Space Emphasis Program", Dec. 29, 2014

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