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San Jose Workers' Compensation Blog

Research considers how age can affect workplace accidents

When there are workplace accidents in California, many people can be affected. That includes the individual who was hurt or suffered a condition, as well as their family members. All should be aware of various trends that could be influential in the incident and its causes. For example, age-related variables might be important when there is an investigation as to how the accident happened and other circumstances surrounding it. For example, recent statistical analysis indicates that the age of the U.S. workforce has been rising in the past 20 years and its effect on workplace safety has been both positive and negative.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that just shy of 12 percent of the labor force was 55 or older in 1994. Now, however, the age of workers is on the rise and people 55 and older are expected to constitute close to one-quarter of the workforce six years from now. Age can influence workplace injuries and the chances of them happening. Risk consultants believe that various factors like the environment, repetitive movement and the amount of force that is used can be more problematic for older people.

Court decision could mean workers' compensation for contractors

In the past, there has been a relatively clear classification of employees in California and employers have used that to their advantage when using independent contractors. While a prior post here examined how important worker classification is when a person is injured on the job and is seeking workers' compensation benefits, the laws in the state regarding that classification might be changing. This is important for those who are part of the so-called "gig" economy and who suffer injury or illness from their work and are concerned about the possibility of getting workers' compensation benefits.

A California Supreme Court decision has stated that employers will be required to treat workers who perform duties that are related to the company's "normal course of business" like they are employees, instead of contractors. This can be a complicated issue to understand, but an example where a contractor would not be considered an employee based on this decision is if a plumber is called to fix a toilet and the business is not a plumbing business. If, however, a company hires someone to perform work that is linked to its main business, then this person would be viewed as an employee and get all the benefits that an employee would.

Fatal work-related accident crushes and kills vineyard employee

Northern California is known for its wineries and vineyards. With that comes the need for workers to do the difficult jobs that are unique to the industry. Oftentimes, this involves heavy equipment and physical labor. Given the dangers of the job, it is inevitable that accidents will happen. As with all high risk occupations, there is a chance that there will be worker death after an accident. These can have significant personal and financial implications for the worker's family and a wrongful death lawsuit is often needed to recover compensation to move forward.

According to a recent report, a worker at a vineyard died when a piece of equipment fell on him. The man was found when another worker got to the vineyard not long before 8 a.m. The worker was underneath a tiller attachment on a trailer. When emergency personnel arrived, they investigated and believe that the tilling lines of the tractor became tangled with the vineyard wire. As the worker tried to separate them, the attachment fell on top of him and he was crushed. The California Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the incident. If there were any violations regarding safety, Cal/OSHA can cite the business within six months.

Your job could be the cause of your breathing problems

Do you find yourself coughing and wheezing when you are at work? Do you also suffer breathing difficulty or tightness in your chest? If you experience none of these symptoms over weekends or when you are working in other areas at your job, you could have work-related asthma.

Occupational asthma is a lung disease caused by exposure to specific substances at work, furthermore, it can exacerbate an existing asthma condition. Exposure can occur by both skin contact and inhalation of irritants, and symptoms may appear immediately or after several hours. You could suffer an allergic reaction, an irritant reaction or an asthma attack that results from a buildup of chemicals in the lungs.

High risk occupations in California and how dangerous they are

Many workers in California have jobs that others perceive to be dangerous. Independent of how skilled the worker is and the amount of caution he or she takes, these types of jobs place them at risk simply by their duties. When there is a work accident with injuries, it is important for workers and their families to understand the process to receive workers' compensation benefits. If there is a worker death, it becomes even more vital. Knowing the kinds of jobs that are at the top of the list for being high risk is also wise because people can be better prepared for the worst-case scenario.

On average, there will be around 350 fatalities on the job in California per year. Most will happen in a relatively limited number of jobs. Loggers are the most at risk for a fatal workplace accident. The California Department of Industrial Relations states that between 2012 and 2016, there were 15 fatalities among loggers. When broken down, that comes to a worker dying for every 600 that do the job.

Work accident occurs at Tesla plant during Cal/OSHA investigation

Businesses in California are responsible for the safety of their workers. When there is a work accident, it is likely that the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration will investigate. For companies that are already under scrutiny for past issues, workplace injuries take on greater relevance. Those who have been injured on the job should be aware of how OSHA examines the incident, what the basis for a legal filing is and seek assistance from an attorney to attempt to make certain that they receive all the benefits and compensation they are entitled to.

The car company Tesla, Inc., which had its safety record called into question with an investigation by Cal/OSHA, had another worker injured in a workplace accident. The man, 30, was a subcontractor at the company's assembly plant. The man had his jaw broken and received a face laceration when a skid carrier hit him. This happened while the safety practices of the company are already being assessed as it is accused of failing to report when workers suffered serious injuries despite the legal requirement to do so. Cal/OSHA conducted two inspections of Tesla within a five-day period. This is happening as Tesla has been pushing to increase its production and is operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to meet its target for a new vehicle it plans to unveil.

Maintenance worker dies in fatal work-related accident

When there are potholes in the street, they must be repaired. If there is a streetlight that needs repair and replacement, that too must be handled. Workers who do these jobs might appear to be part of the landscape and passersby do not often realize how risky it is, but accidents happen and maintenance can be one of the most understated high risk occupations for people to do. When there is an accident, it can lead to injuries and death. Those who have been injured will have the right to workers' compensation. Those who have lost a loved one in a fatal work-related accident should know they may have the right to seek compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit.

According to a recent report, a 30-year-old man was repairing a streetlight when he was killed in an accident. The man was reportedly electrocuted. Emergency personnel were called, he was taken to the hospital, but he died. The man worked for the city for a total of six years. First, he was a maintenance aide. He left for five years and returned as a maintenance worker. The light had been removed from its base and was being held by a truck as the investigation into the accident commenced. Joining local officials in the case is the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Did your job affect your hearing? You have rights

California workers know that when their jobs leave them injured or sick, they have the right to seek benefits through their employer's workers' compensation insurance. This is also the case if you experienced partial or total hearing loss because of your job.

Loss of auditory capabilities is a serious issue because it is difficult to treat, and often, it is permanent. If your job requirements ultimately harmed your hearing, you have the right to seek financial support. Like others who need the financial support available through a workers' compensation claim, you may find it beneficial to seek guidance as you navigate this process.

Denied workers' compensation and grounds for reconsideration

Since workers' compensation can be such a necessity for California workers who have suffered a workplace injury, a denied claim can lead to great uncertainty for the future. People who have had their workers' compensation claims denied often do not realize that they can take steps to try and get a reconsideration of the decision from the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board. This is even true after a judge has decided the case and denied the claim. People who are confronted with this problem should be aware of their rights to seek reconsideration and what the grounds are for doing so.

The WCAB can hear a case whenever it decides to and take the case from a judge. It will generally act only after the workers' compensation judge has decided. This is the definition of its reconsideration process. It is only possible for a final order to be subject to reconsideration. This can only be granted on its own motion within 60 days of the final decision having been filed. Most often, it will act when a party has filed a petition.

Who puts their lives on the line every day? Linemen

Every household and business in California relies on a constant supply of electricity for the smooth running of his or her lives and businesses. However, not many of those people stop to spare a thought for you and your co-linemen who do one of the most hazardous jobs in the country. You risk your lives every day to ensure uninterrupted utilities.

They might not even realize that you risk burns, electric shocks, falls and other occupational hazards -- many of which could be fatal. You will likely recognize the importance of taking every possible precaution to ensure your safe return to your family at the end of every day.

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