Contra Costa County and Tri-Valley Workers' Compensation Blog

Workers' compensation: Contract worker overcome by ammonia

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health has launched an investigation into an incident that caused the death of a farm worker. The safety agency reports that emergency workers were called to a fruit packing facility on a recent Tuesday evening. They arrived to find several workers who appeared to have been exposed to ammonia gas. This incident will likely lead to a workers' compensation death benefits claim.

Reportedly, six employees in the area where ammonia gas escaped from a leak in the cooling system were affected. They complained of feeling sick, and emergency workers transported them to a hospital. Although five of them were release after medical treatment, one worker succumbed to the ammonia gas poisoning, and he died at the hospital.

600 truckers die each year due to their career

Truckers keep this country running, but all too often they put their own safety on the back burner in an effort to get the load to the destination quickly. All truckers have risks that they need to think about when they are on the road. The need for safety is also present during the loading and unloading of the vehicles if they are responsible for those tasks.

With more than 600 truckers killed annually while they are doing their job duties, safety has to become a top priority in this industry. These are some safety points that everyone must remember when they are handling hauls.

Workers' compensation: Gun range workers risk lead poisoning

Following years of complaints and reports about exposure to lead dust at a gun range in Santa Clara County, California's Department of Toxic Substances Control and the county's Environmental Health Department inspected a gun range. This was to determine the levels of lead to which workers and patrons are exposed. Victims of work-related lead poisoning file many workers' compensation claims each year.

After discovering dangerous levels of lead dust, the gun range and the adjacent gymnastic training center for youths were ordered closed until the necessary systems are installed to filter and contain lead dust. Reportedly, the results of the tests indicated elevated risks of lead exposure for occupants of the two businesses. Workers, patrons and young gymnasts risked exposure, and another threat is posed by lead dust adhering to clothes that can expose people at home.

Workers' compensation claims despite added safety regulations

On April 28, 1970, the Occupational Safety and Health Act was passed by the U.S. Congress. The Act requires employers in all industries to protect the health and safety of employees. Sadly, despite strict safety standards, the California workers' compensation insurance system has since dealt with thousands of death benefits claims filed by surviving families of workers who died in work-related deaths.

The establishment of this law is commemorated on Worker's Memorial Day each year to honor those who died in work-related accidents. Reportedly, the Injury and Illness Prevention Program, a standard adopted statewide in 1991, and the 2005 emergency heat illness prevention regulation were the first such programs to be developed nationwide. Amendments in 2010 added procedures to protect workers in oil and gas extraction, landscaping, construction and agriculture from high-heat exposure while working outdoors.

Workers' compensation claims for confined space-related injuries

California employees in various industries face the risks posed by confined spaces. It is an occupational hazard that leads to numerous workers' compensation claims each year. It is crucial for both workers and employers to understand when a space qualifies as confined and which of those areas must be regarded as permit-required spaces.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a confined space is an area that is large enough to accommodate a worker to perform tasks for limited periods. However, regardless of the size of the space inside, if there are limited means of entry or exit, it must be regarded as a confined space. Even something as large as a tanker is a confined space due to the small opening that will jeopardize a quick escape in an emergency.

Workers' compensation available for family of crushed worker

Last October, a Northern California family lost a loved one in a preventable workplace accident. Although workers' compensation benefits can ease the financial consequences of such a tragedy, it can never make up for the family's loss. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health says both the farm labor contractor who placed the worker and the walnut shelling plant owner failed to comply with safety standards.

Reportedly, the fatality occurred in an area where forklift operators deposit loads of walnuts into bins, which are then tipped into a hopper by an 800-pound bin dumper. The worker was tasked with cleaning the surrounding area when the massive bin dumper crushed him. It appears he was unaware of the fact that the dumper is automatically lowered to ground level after dumping a load.

Paraprofessionals deserve a safe workplace

In order to function properly and provide students with the learning experience they deserve, schools need a complete team to help the kids. Paraprofessionals are an important part of this team, but they are often overlooked when it comes to the implementation of safety protocol.

Paraprofessionals work closely with the children to help them with tasks throughout the day. While this is necessary, especially for some children who have specialized education plans, the safety of paraprofessionals shouldn't ever be placed on the back burner. One thing that has to be planned for is the risk of harm from the student.

Workers' compensation can help after debilitating injuries

Employees in industrial facilities in California are typically exposed to the hazards posed by heavy machinery and equipment. A significant percentage of workers' compensation claims filed by factory workers involve injuries caused by machinery. However, more injuries are caused by the unsafe operation of equipment rather than by the machines. Although machines are invaluable in the manufacturing industry, it is up to employers to ensure that employees receive proper operation and safety training.

Only workers who have undergone thorough training should operate machines. Along with general safety around machines, operators must be trained to operate the different types of equipment safely. All machines must be fitted with proper guarding devices to prevent contact with moving or rotating parts. Barriers, two-hand operating machines and light curtains can prevent serious, even fatal, injuries.

Workers' compensation benefits crucial for EMS workers

Emergency medical workers, police officers and firefighters in California and across the country, see destruction, death and other emergencies every day. The typical person can become overwhelmed by stress just because of unpaid bills, relationship problems or other personal issues. Multiply that stress level by 100 to even start to understand the stress experienced by emergency services workers; as such, it is crucial for them to receive all applicable benefits under state-regulated workers' compensation laws when needed.

The sad part of this is the fact that excessive stress levels and the extreme emotions with which EMS workers must deal have caused suicide rates to escalate in all public safety professions. Moreover, divorce rates among these workers are growing. Safety authorities say more must be done to address the long hours, extended periods of shift work and other aspects that cause burnout.

Workers' compensation benefits can assist after workplace death

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health reported that an investigation was launched into the death of a construction worker in Sacramento. Although the surviving family members can seek financial assistance through the state-regulated workers' compensation system, it will likely be a challenge to cope with such a tragic loss. The county coroner's office is also investigating the worker's death.

According to officials of Sacramento Metro Fire, an emergency call came in at approximately 10:30 a.m. on a recent Tuesday. They rushed to the scene where they found a worker caught between a Bobcat tractor and its bucket. Unfortunately, the man was a lone worker, and none of his co-workers witnessed the incident. The construction accident happened at the site of an apartment complex at which the man was using the tractor to move dirt to fill a pool.

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