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San Jose Workers' Compensation Blog

Workplace injuries and death from construction falls remain high

Californians who work in construction understand the risks they face as a natural byproduct of the work. They are required to work at significant heights, use heavy tools with sharp edges, trust other workers using vehicles and equipment and place themselves in harm's way every day. However, employers are obligated to have as safe a working environment as possible and, as new information shows, one of the biggest dangers - falls - has yet to be taken as seriously as it should.

In a new report, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) says that workers falling from heights is still the biggest reason for worker death in construction. 42 percent of fatalities from 1982 to 2015 were due to falls. More than half did not have a personal arrest system. 20 percent of the deaths came about when the worker was in their first two months on the job. More recent information from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says that falls will remain the most common reason for workplace death in 2017 and 2018.

A job in law enforcement can challenge your health

If you are a police officer in California, you will have to take special care of your health because your job poses many hazards. Along with the expected physical risks as you go about your days, the demanding nature of your high-risk occupation can be harmful to your physical and mental health. If you do not take care, you could develop any of the many ailments, illnesses and diseases known to affect those working in criminal justice or criminology.

Researchers say studies show that police work is among the occupations that are more susceptible to a variety of health problems than workers in most other professions are. They say the toll of stress and shift work makes law enforcement workers more vulnerable.

Man run over by forklift dies in fatal construction accident

Construction work is one of the most dangerous types of jobs a Californian can do. While it is a respectable job with good wages and benefits, there are inherent risks facing a construction worker each day they head to the job. Some of these accidents result in serious injuries that spark major medical expenses, lost time on the job and innumerable challenges. In the worst-case, people can lose their lives. Those who have been affected by a construction accident must think about the future and whether a legal filing is necessary to receive compensation.

A fatal construction accident claimed the life of a 19-year-old man. The accident happened in the morning before 10 a.m. Emergency services were called after a worker was hit by a forklift. The project is an apartment complex. It has just started. The worker operating the forklift accidentally ran the other worker over when he backed into him. Emergency crews found the man unconscious. He was helping the worker operating the forklift as roof trusses were being moved. The driver did not see the other worker and hit him. The injured worker was given CPR and taken to the hospital. He died there. The investigation is continuing.

What can you expect from your boss after an on-the-job injury?

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health requires all employers to provide safe work environments that are free of known hazards. You must be equipped with the necessary personal protective equipment and receive adequate safety training -- including the safe operation of PPE. Compliance with the safety standards as prescribed by Cal/OSHA and federal safety agencies is crucial.

Your employer must carry workers' compensation insurance, which will cover you in the event of an on-the-job injury. It is a no-fault system, meaning that even if you were partially to blame for your injury, you would be eligible for benefits. It also means that you cannot sue your boss for your injuries, except if you can prove gross negligence.

Fatal work-related accident from tire explosion kills man, 37

Workers in California who are tasked with operating heavy machinery, being around large vehicles, handling complex tools, and completing difficult tasks will put themselves in harm's way simply due to the nature of the job. Even when all the necessary precautions are taken, there can still be work accidents in high risk occupations. Unlike many jobs where a work accident does not run a significant risk of severe injuries, those who work in occupations with major risk can suffer catastrophic injuries and death.

An understated job related to air safety is the ground crew. These workers must make sure that planes - private and airliners - are in shape to fly and land. Part of that is ensuring the tires are fully inflated and in working shape. There are also tires on equipment at the airport when attaching the jet bridge to the plane. When filling up any tire, there is a chance of it exploding. These can cause injuries and death. One such incident resulted in a worker being killed in California.

Workers' compensation and disputes over a medical assessment

California workers who are injured on the job and seek workers' compensation benefits may forgo paying for a legal professional to help with their case, as is their prerogative. However, many people who are facing workers' compensation concerns may end up regretting not having legal assistance, especially when there is a dispute about the injury or occupational illness and the worker is not sure as to what the alternatives are. Understanding how to handle a disagreement with a doctor's assessment and what the claimant says he or she can do is a key part of a case.

A work accident victim can ask for qualified medical evaluator (QME) to evaluate the case in the following situations: if the claim is subject to delay or denial and the evaluation is needed to determine if the claim should be paid; to determine if the worker has a permanent disability or if future medical treatment will be needed; or if the worker disagrees with the treating physician's assessment. The worker should remember that the QME cannot make a comment on any request to have medical treatment.

Machine activating with man inside results in worker death

Any job in California can be dangerous, but people who work with heavy machinery are at significant risk of being in a fatal work-related accident. Although they and their families know the danger, it is still a shock to receive that call saying that there was the loss of a loved one in an incident on the job. There are many considerations after this type of accident. People who have been impacted by such a tragic occurrence must remember their rights to be compensated for all they have lost. A law firm that is experienced in assisting people after work-related accidents and death can be critical when considering a legal filing.

A man who was inside an industrial machine died when the machine activated. The accident happened at around lunchtime. The business handles assembly and machinery for aerospace companies. The man was said to be in his 50s. When emergency crews were called, they were told that a man was stuck in a machine. When they got to the scene, they found they were unable to help him. It is believed that he was performing maintenance on the machine. It turned on and he was killed. The man had worked with the company for approximately a year. The investigation into the circumstances of the incident is continuing.

Workers' Compensation vouchers and returning to work

When California workers are injured and have a permanent partial disability, they are frequently concerned about how the Workers' Compensation program will provide for them. Since those who have permanent partial disabilities can often do certain jobs but not others, there are times when they cannot get back to their old job. This is where vouchers are useful. Vouchers are part of supplemental job displacement benefits.

Once the worker's status has been changed from temporary disability to permanent partial disability, SJDB can be provided to pay for the person to receive educational retraining, skill enhancement or both. It will pay for tuition, fees, textbooks and expenses that are needed to complete the retraining. Up to 10 percent can be used for counseling. It ranges from $4,000 to $10,000, depending on the person's level of disability.

Workers' compensation and offers of work from the employer

Workers' compensation benefits in California are an integral part of worker rights. When a worker is injured on the job, suffers a condition or becomes ill from the work they do, workers' compensation can provide for medical care, lost wages and more so they can focus on improving. Knowing what to do if the employer offers work and what the parameters are based on the workers' compensation case is imperative.

The claims administrator in the workers' compensation case will send a letter to the worker saying that there is work available. The employer could offer one of the following: regular work; modified work; and alternative work. Regular work is the same job the person did before. It should last for at least 12 months and pay the same amount the worker earned before they were injured. It must be a reasonable distance from where the person lived at the time of the injury.

Why did my employer's insurer deny my workers' comp claim?

There are few in California who can afford to take time off work, especially when that time relates to a workplace injury or illness. If you are in this situation, you are certainly facing medical bills and other expenses related to your condition in addition to lost wages. Because of this, you may be shocked to learn that your employer's workers' compensation insurer denied your claim for benefits.

A denial for coverage for your injury or work-related illness can be a devastating blow. You may have reasonable concerns about how to keep your family afloat while you recover. You may even wonder if you will be able to continue with the necessary treatments and therapies your condition may require for a healthy quality of life. Your first step is to understand the reason why the insurer denied your claim.

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