Michael Burgis & Associates, P.C.

Los Angeles Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Pregnancy discrimination could hurt or even end your career

Thanks to years of pioneering efforts by brave women and legal changes at the state and federal levels, it is now possible for female workers to accomplish more than ever before. Employers can no longer consider gender as a factor when determining whom they hire. The same is also true for consideration relating to promotions, wage increases, and layoffs or terminations.

Unfortunately, many companies still subtly discriminate against women, especially those who are or eventually will become pregnant. Federal law extends protections to pregnant women in the workplace.

Inexperienced new hires often suffer workplace injuries

Safety training is one of the most crucial aspects of any company's quest to protect the health and safety of workers, regardless of the industry. Too many workers in California suffer workplace injuries within their first few months on the job because employers did not provide safety training from day one. The first thing new hires should learn is that safety comes first -- always.

Employers can test new hires to determine how much they know about the safety requirements of their jobs. Training can then be focused on the necessary aspects, and some employers use their experienced workers to guide new hires. Assigning each new worker a safety-conscious buddy who can provide valuable guidance that is based on experience can help employers to monitor new workers and correct their mistakes.

Even desk jobs can cause serious health problems

You know that working in a physical profession carries certain health and safety risks. Construction workers, loggers, deep-sea fishermen, landscape professionals: All of these people face a great risk of getting injured on the job.

Many people think they'll avoid work-a-day hazards by getting an office job; siting at a desk all day, working on a computer. It seems safe. It seems healthy. But the numbers of people reporting injuries resulting from office work continues to climb every year. 

Workplace accidents: 2 workers crushed to death on Fresno ranch

California employers are responsible for the health and safety of employees. They must ensure that workers are aware of the hazards posed by their jobs, and safety training must be provided to prevent on-the-job injuries. Sadly, not all employers prioritize employee safety, and lives are often lost in preventable workplace accidents.

A recent industrial accident caused the deaths of two workers at a ranch in Fresno County. An incident report indicates that two workers, ages 66 and 31, were declared dead upon the arrival of Cal Fire and paramedics. Reportedly, emergency workers responded to the ranch shortly after 11 a.m. on a recent Saturday.

Workplace injuries include high rate of carpal tunnel syndrome

Authorities in California expressed their concern over the number of workers in the state who are victims of carpal tunnel syndrome. The California Department of Public Health says over 139,000 such cases were reported in the seven years from 2007 to 2014. Ligaments and bones form a rigid tunnel through which tendons and nerves run between the wrist and the hand. The tendons are used to bend the fingers, and the feeling in specific parts of the hand is provided by the median nerve. Repetitive use of the hands can bring about extremely painful workplace injuries.

Occupations with high rates of carpal tunnel syndrome include electronics and electrical workers along with electromechanical assemblers, attendants in coffee shops, cafeterias and food concession facilities, telephone operators and more. However, workers' compensation data shows that women are more susceptible to these workplace injuries, with high incidence rates among women working in facilities that process food and manufacture apparel, as well as administrative workers. Health authorities say this could be because the carpal tunnel in women is smaller than those of men.

How often do UPS trucks crash?

Do you ever feel like you see an incredible number of package delivery trucks on the road - particularly during the holiday season? You're not wrong. UPS alone has around 119,000 vehicles. That's an average of 2,380 trucks per state --- though they are, of course, not spread out evenly. Now add that number to FedEX, DHL and other delivery services and the numbers of mid-size package delivery vans crowding our residential neighborhood streets increases every year. 

After all, with online shopping more common than ever before, someone has to move all of those packages around the country. But with the increased convenience also comes an increased number of accidents on our roads. 

Some uncommon workplace injuries are compensable

Although the manufacturing and construction industries in California are regarded as the most hazardous work environments, other sectors also pose risks. While struck-by accidents, slips and trips that lead to falls, overexertion, and falls from heights are frequently reported workplace injuries, other not-so-common hazards exist. Lost work time usually means lost wages, which could threaten any worker's financial stability.

Delivery persons, repair technicians and others whose jobs require them to visit clients' homes face dog bite hazards. Dogs are unpredictable, and they can attack when least expected. Not only can dog bites cause severe physical injuries, they can also cause psychological harm. Colds and flu are illnesses that are not typically regarded as work-related, but a significant number of cases arise where many people work in close contact such as in call centers.

Restructuring can be an excuse to retaliate or discriminate

The biggest lie in business is that "Nothing will change after the merger or reorganization." Any experienced employee knows that things restructuring inevitably means that some jobs or even whole departments will no longer exist at the company.

Restructuring is a strategic decision that businesses undergo in the hope of minimizing operational costs and maximizing employee output. When properly performed, restructuring can benefit everyone, including management and staff. However, companies may also use restructuring as an excuse to get rid of employees that they otherwise could not terminate without claims of discrimination.

Near-miss reporting might limit workplace accidents

Not all employers in California recognize the importance of near-miss reporting. Near-misses are those incidents that could have resulted in serious workplace accidents but did not. Some see them as valuable wake-up calls to hazards that might have tragic consequences the next time they happen. It provides the opportunity to establish preventative measures to make sure there is no next time.

Employers who encourage near-miss reporting might find that it helps to maintain an effective safety culture. Workers must be encouraged to look out for near-misses, and they must not fear reprisal if they report these incidents. Some businesses allow anonymous reports to be filed. If affirmative action is taken to mitigate the hazards that led to near-miss incidents, workers will see that reporting them can protect them from suffering injuries.

Cashiers are at risk of a painful cumulative trauma injury

Grocery store workers have difficult jobs dealing with people who aren't happy for any number of reasons, including just not wanting to do their shopping that day. When something is out of stock, it can mean unjustified anger toward anyone who happens to be stocking shelves nearby or the person at the cash register.


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