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Los Angeles Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Complex and accumulated trauma: A threat to victims

When you get hurt, you know what the injury is and how it affects you. You may go through physical therapy or have surgery to repair the damage to your body. While that may help you heal, there is no guarantee that the injury you suffered won't come back to haunt you later.

Many injuries begin to accumulate. For example, if you hurt your rotator cuff on the right arm, you might begin to feel trouble in your neck or other shoulder. Why? The body isn't working in the way it was intended, and other parts have to take on more work.

Negligence with nail gun causes serious workplace injuries

Each industry has its own set of dangers, and the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health provides safety guidelines to mitigate most risks. However, many workplace injuries are caused by just two factors -- a lack of training and complacency. Workers who have worked with specific power tools for years become complacent and disregard safety rules. However, preventable injuries will continue to happen if workers do not receive training to teach them about potential hazards and how to protect themselves.

Cal/OSHA recently cited a Santa Margarita company after the agency completed an investigation into an April workplace accident. Reportedly, a carpenter suffered a serious injury when he accidentally discharged a pressure-powered nail gun. According to the Cal/OSHA release, the worker held his finger on the trigger of the nail gun that he carried. The nail that was shot plunged into the worker's arm.

Disabled workers have the right to some employer accommodations

Just because someone has a disability does not mean that they are incapable of performing skilled jobs. In fact, many workers with physical disabilities work hard to educate themselves as a means of offsetting the difficulties caused by a disability.

Unfortunately, some employers can't see past the physical trappings of a disability to the potential of a worker perfectly suited for their company. When a company chooses to overlook the skills of a disabled employee or potential new employee because of their disability, it may due to purposeful discrimination; a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The time is right for fulfillment center workplace injuries

Very soon e-commerce fulfillment centers in California will be hives of activity with incoming stock to be ready for the demands of seasonal shoppers. Risks of workplace injuries will be higher throughout this time because it will not be long before product picking, shipping and constant replenishment of stock will take place. The fact that seasonal -- often inexperienced -- workers may come in could increase the potential of injuries.

Safety authorities say forklift accidents make up a significant portion of the number of workplace accidents in this industry -- and many of them are fatal. They say precautions include allowing only certified operators over the age of 18 to work on forklifts. Proper equipment maintenance and daily safety checks are essential. Furthermore, strict speed limits must be in place, along with clear rules about lifting, lowering and stacking loads with the forklift.

Spinal cord injuries you suffer at work could end your career

The human spine is critical for your brain's ability to communicate with the rest of your body. Your spinal cord transmits electrical impulses from your brain to your nerves and muscles, allowing you to move and maintain motor control over your body. When the spinal cord gets damaged, it can have a long-term impact on somebody's overall health, as well as their mobility.

Many people associate spinal cord injuries with car accidents. While it is true that the human body is not built to withstand extremely high impact, damage to the spine can happen in many other ways, as well. Workplace spinal injuries are also relatively common, even among people who do not drive for a living. People can hurt their spines on the job in a number of different ways, all of which can have career-ending consequences for the victim.

Workplace injuries: Refinishing baths can be deadly

Employers in California are responsible for the health and safety of their employees. They must inform workers of the hazards posed by their jobs, and teach them how to protect themselves from suffering workplace injuries. Safety authorities note that exposure to methylene chloride kills workers each year. It is a dangerous chemical substance used for the refinishing of baths.

Those who died were overwhelmed by methylene chloride fumes because they worked alone in bathrooms with poor ventilation and without adequate respiratory equipment. Methylene chloride is an organic compound that is volatile, and the hazardous vapors build up rapidly in small areas. The evaporated chemical can gather in the bathtub, and it could replace oxygen.

Workplace stress could lead to a heart attack or stroke

Worries about workplace safety often focus too heavily on the potential for a traumatic injury. After all, dramatic workplace accidents are much more likely to receive media attention and result in an investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) than silent and less dramatic medical events that only impact one employee. After all, falls or machinery failures can indicate a culture of carelessness that can endanger other workers as well.

This doesn't mean that employers or employees should ignore the medical implications of job-related stress. Stress related to workplace issues is also a major health concern for professionals. Far too many people neglect the health consequences of stress, only to end up suffering with serious medical issues.

Commercial drivers suffer injuries from repetitive work

If you ask the average person what kind of injuries a truck driver risks as part of their profession, most people would rattle off common injuries associated with collisions.

Statistically, truck drivers are less likely than the people in the smaller vehicle involved in a crash to get hurt in a collision. The biggest risks to truck drivers, other than the sedentary lifestyle trucking involves, all deal with the repetitive strain involved in a driving job.

Workplace accidents: 18-year-old dies when trapped in machine

Families who see their loved ones off to work in the morning, never to see them again, naturally experience incredible trauma. In many cases in California, fatal workplace accidents affect entire communities. Such fatalities seem even worse if the deceased worker is not even 20 years old yet, with his or her whole life ahead.

Authorities recently reported such a fatality in Santa Ana. The rescue teams of Orange County Fire Authority responded to the premises of Aardvark Clay and Supplies after receiving an emergency call. According to an incident report, an 18-year-old employee was trapped in the workings of equipment used to mix the clay. The cause of his entanglement was not reported.

Do you believe you have grounds for a wrongful termination case?

There are many different forms of employment discrimination. Some companies discriminate in their hiring processes or in their decisions related to promotions and career advancement. Others may choose to terminate workers for discriminatory reasons.

Losing your job is a disheartening experience, especially if you believe that discrimination played a role. Workers who lose their jobs because of protected characteristics, including their age, race, religion or disability, may have grounds to pursue a wrongful termination lawsuit. It's important that you understand how California views employment and what responsibilities fall to you as someone attempting to prove wrongful termination.

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