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Citations may prevent California workers' compensation claims

California workplaces are expected to maintain certain health and safety standards in order to prevent workers from getting sick and injured. If a workplace violates these standards, citations and fines may be the result. In addition, health and safety violations put employees at risk, increasing the likelihood of workers' compensation claims. For example, Cal/OSHA recently fined Corona Regional Medical Center after receiving complaints about asbestos.

The medical center received three citations in recent weeks, all related to a current renovation project involving asbestos materials. The most recent citation was for the medical center's failure to adequately inform employees of the presence of asbestos at their workplace. The two other citations were issued because there was no education offered to employees about handling exposure to biological hazards and airborne pathogens.

A spokesperson for Corona Regional Medical Center stated that the hospital intends to cooperate with Cal/OSHA on these issues. The hospital received a fine of $755 for two of the violations and $700 for the other, but it has the option of filing an appeal. According to reports, workers at the medical center have complained in the past about health and safety conditions.

As long as a California employer makes a good faith effort to correct any Cal/OSHA violations, employees can feel confident that they are not being unnecessarily put at risk for illness or injury. However, if an employee is affected by any health and safety violations, he or she may find it beneficial to seek assistance when applying for workers' compensation benefits. This not only makes the process less stressful, but it may also ensure that the sick or injured employee gets all the benefits to which he or she is entitled.

Source: The Press Enterprise, CORONA: Hospital cited for health and safety violations, Suzanne Hurt, Dec. 20, 2013

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