Employers nationwide, including California, must comply with federal and state safety standards. Sometimes, the most basic safety violations cause fatal workplace accidents, and many of them involve electrical hazards. It is crucial to perform a hazard assessment to identify electrical hazards before starting a work project.
Loggers, tree fellers, landscapers and even those who only trim the branches of trees must never lose sight of the hazards of their jobs. Too many lives have been lost in preventable workplace accidents in this industry. The utility provider Pacific Gas and Electric Company recently reminded California tree workers to research and identify high voltage power cables before they start to fell trees.
Carbon monoxide is an occupational hazard in many industries in California. Facilities at which forklifts or other equipment that is powered by liquid petroleum gas are used are most hazardous. Internal combustion engines of LPG-powered devices emit carbon monoxide, a toxic gas that could cause fatal workplace accidents.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Construction workers in California face so many hazards that they might not always take the necessary precautions. Some incidents that cause occupational injuries might not even be considered as potential risks. This often applies to cases in which workplace accidents are caused by third parties with no links to the same employer.
Lives of firefighters are put on the line during devastating wildfires in California every summer. Workplace accidents in these circumstances are not surprising because of the unpredictability of the fires. This year's blazes have already claimed the life of one firefighter, and flags in California's capital are flying at half-staff in honor of the deceased man.
The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health requires all employers to take responsibility for the health and safety of their employees. All fatal workplace accidents are investigated by the safety agency to determine whether deaths resulted from noncompliance with safety regulations. The conclusions of one such an investigation were recently reported.