The risks to California employees in the workplace are increasing. Now, workers need to worry about additional harms at work that they never had to worry about before. While the coal mining industry is perceived as dangerous, recent reforms have made it safer. Accordingly, other businesses have much that they can learn from coal mining.

After recent disasters, Congress passed laws to make life safer for coal miners. As a result, the industry has an abundant amount of safety inspectors, more so than almost every other blue-collar field. In addition, workers have the right to refuse work if they believe it unsafe. In any other profession, OSHA rules only allow workers to turn down an assignment if they feel that there is an imminent danger of serious injury or death. Many companies are firing workers who stay home out of fear of being injured, and there is little that employees can do about it.

In general, the OSHA regulatory system is not protecting workers as well as in the past. Declining budgets and relaxed enforcement have contributed to less safety for workers on the job. Unlike the coal mining industry, where the number of workers’ deaths is falling, American workers in other industries are at increased risk. However, many companies are letting workers go who stand up for their rights.

Employees in high-risk occupations who have sustained a workplace injury can file a claim for workers’ compensation. They must prove their injury and the fact that it was caused by something that happened at work. Injured employees should contact and retain a workers’ compensation attorney to learn more about the process and how they would go about filing a claim. The attorney might assist them in assembling and documenting their claim. If a hearing is necessary, the attorney could represent their client.