Michael Burgis & Associates, P.C.

Los Angeles Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Workplace injuries caused by heat exposure are preventable

Safety authorities say thousands of workers nationwide suffer heat-related conditions each year, including in California. Sadly, dozens of those victims do not survive the workplace injuries and illnesses caused by heat exposure. Although construction workers are most vulnerable, farm workers, warehouse workers, roofers and other outdoor workers are also at risk.

While excessive sweating can cause slippery hands, increasing the risks of workplace injuries or accidents, it also causes dehydration if the worker does not replace the fluids that are lost through sweating by taking in enough liquids. Workers should not wait to feel thirsty before they drink water. Telltale signs of dehydration include dizziness, weakness, muscle cramps, dry mouth, light-headedness and even fainting.

Potential symptoms of post-traumatic arthritis

If you injure your knee at work, especially in a job that puts constant stress and strain on your joints, you could face risks of post-traumatic arthritis. While many people think of arthritis as something that simply impacts your body as you grow older, this is a specific type of disorder that occurs after a knee injury. Examples of potential injuries include:

  • Ligament injuries
  • A torn meniscus
  • A knee fracture

One key thing to keep in mind is that it can happen years later. This is why it's so important to have proper medical documentation. You may think that you overcame the injury, and the initial injury may very well have healed. That does not mean you will not face more physical challenges down the road.

Workers' compensation: Did your injury happen at work?

The insurance premiums that California business owners have to pay are directly tied to the number of claims they file for occupational illnesses and injuries. For this reason, some employers attempt to avoid filing workers' compensation benefits claims, and some workers fear retaliation if they report work-related injuries. Unfortunately, the risk of even more serious injuries is exacerbated by allowing an injured or ill worker to continue working without medical treatment.

What happens if a worker is injured on his or her own time? This can also adversely affect a company's bottom line. The injured employee may have to take some of his or her vacation days or sick days, and the employer might have to get a temporary worker to avoid production losses. This, and the fact that the replacement worker will not be as experienced as the injured worker will cost the company even more.

Do female workers get fired more than male workers?

After two years on the job, you get fired. You're one of the few female workers at the company, but you're the only one who they let go. It's a crushing blow to your career.

As you think about it a bit more, you realize that there were just three female employees when you started. Another one got fired about a year before you did. In all that time, none of the male workers lost their jobs, but the company now fired two-thirds of its already very small female workforce.

How can LOTO compliance prevent workplace injuries?

California workers in manufacturing or other industrial facilities are likely all aware of the fact that lockout/tagout devices are required on machinery and equipment. But what is LOTO and how can it prevent workplace injuries? It involves the control of hazardous energy and protocols to disable equipment and machinery while maintenance servicing and cleaning take place.

LOTO involves two procedures; the first is the lockout process that uses a device to de-energize machines and prevent movement of its parts by isolating them from the source of power. The second step is adding a tagout device that shows all workers that they are prohibited from operating a tagged machine. Strict compliance with LOTO regulations can prevent incidents in which workers are pulled into machines and lose body parts or their lives.

Efforts to limit workplace injuries in older workers

The demographics in California workplaces have undergone significant changes over the decades. People live longer and with improved education levels and fewer physical demands in many jobs, the percentage of men and women in the U.S. workforce who are older than 60 is said to have grown to 63 percent. Employers can limit the number of workplace injuries among older workers by considering some changes in safety protocols.

Deteriorating eyesight and physical strength of older workers might make them less steady on their feet and more vulnerable when it comes to slip-and-fall hazards. Frequent safety inspections are crucial, and even replacing a light bulb that has blown out can prevent falls. Other risks include snaking electric cords across walkways, loose or frayed mats, and slippery or wet floors.

Repetitive-strain injuries: More damaging than you may believe

Injuries don't always happen due to a single traumatic incident. Some of the most painful, longest-lasting injuries result from repetitive strain. Take, for example, the grocery cashier who runs items over the scanner for several hours every workday.

That same movement, performed for many days, weeks, months or years, can add up. The strain on the wrists, shoulders and arms, the back or other parts of the body can eventually lead to an injury.

Workplace accidents involving emergency vehicles are prevalent

Data gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration led to concern over the high number of emergency vehicles that crash while responding to crises nationwide. In California and elsewhere, a significant amount of fatal workplace accidents involve ambulances, fire trucks and police vehicles. The fact that these vehicles often need to travel at high speeds in response to emergencies increases the risks of crashes causing severe or fatal injuries.

Safety authorities are focused on gaining a better understanding of contributing factors to help in finding ways to protect emergency workers and their patients. The problem is significant, and data shows that an estimated 6,500 ambulances are involved in crashes nationwide each year. Reportedly, more than a third of those accidents result in injuries or fatalities.

Síndrome del túnel carpiano causado por el trabajo

Existen varios tipos de oficios o trabajos en donde las personas son más propensas a tener accidentes o lesiones mientras realizan el mismo. Un brazo roto por una caída de un techo, una lesión en la espalda por levantar objetos pesados o el síndrome del túnel carpiano son ejemplos muy comunes. Sin embargo y por varias razones, muchas veces no se le da la importancia necesaria a este último.

You don't have to do an unsafe job

Your employer tells you to do something that you know is clearly unsafe and puts you at serious risk. Maybe they want you to work near live power lines, for instance, or maybe they tell you to use a 40-foot ladder that is clearly rusted, broken and neglected. Regardless of exactly what the risk looks like, it all comes back to the fact that you know you could suffer serious injuries -- or even lose your life -- if an accident happens.

But what can you do? Your boss is in charge, and he or she told you to do the job. If you refuse, you think they'll just fire you. Is it worth your career to avoid a dangerous situation? Are you even allowed to refuse the work, or is this just what you signed up for when you took the job?

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