Contra Costa County and Tri-Valley Workers' Compensation Blog

Is 3rd party personal injury claim viable for defective tool?

Construction sites nationwide, including in California, are dangerous and wrought with safety hazards with which workers must contend. With all the inherent personal injury risks, the last thing workers need is malfunctioning and dangerous power tools. A recent recall underscores the importance of examining equipment properly before use to identify potential injury risks.

Black & Decker recently recalled one model of the company's power drills due to malfunctioning handles. Reportedly, the particular VSR 2-Speed Black & Decker Hammer Drills are equipped with black plastic side handles that could break or slip. In fact, 11 such malfunctions have been reported to the company, one of which involved a torn rotator cuff injury.

Overexertion injuries eligible for workers' compensation benefits

A significant percentage of the workforce in California suffer overexertion injuries because they attempt to do more work than certain body parts are capable of handling. Sprained ligaments and strained or torn tendons and muscles caused by lifting, pushing and pulling objects give rise to many workers' compensation benefits claims. The best way in which workers can prevent such injuries is by knowing and respecting their physical limits, and listening to their bodies when they warn them to stop.

Different types of exertion can cause damage, the most common being high force demands during lifting, pulling, pushing, gripping, carrying and using heavy tools. Reaching, twisting, kneeling and bending often force workers' bodies into awkward postures. If they must remain stationary in such positions, their bodies will be taxed even more.

Workers' compensation: The threat of lead poisoning in gun ranges

Gun ranges nationwide, including in California, pose lead poisoning hazards for both workers and customers. Fortunately, affected employees can claim workers' compensation benefits. A gun range in another state that opened only four months ago recently received a warning citation after high lead levels were identified in the firing range area and also the merchandise area that is frequented by customers. The business owner explained that a defective air filtration system caused air from the range to flow into the showroom. A separate system in the firing range area pushes lead-laden air out.

Workers who are exposed to excessive levels of lead could suffer lead poisoning, which can cause damage to the nerves, brain, reproductive system, kidneys and red blood cells. Exposed workers who experience abdominal pain and cramping, stool that is tarry or black, nausea, vomiting, headaches, stupor or confusion might have been poisoned by lead. Other symptoms include jaundice and a sudden decrease in the volumes of urine passed. A doctor's examination and a lead level test is crucial if any of these symptoms are experienced after working or visiting a gun range.

Personal Injury: Wrong-way driver survives DUI crash that kills 3

A California family is struggling to cope with the consequences of a fatal crash that occurred on a recent Sunday evening. Dealing with personal injury caused by an alleged drunk driver is bad enough, and when three family members lose their lives in one crash, the trauma is naturally overwhelming. Reportedly, the alleged drunk driver survived the accident.

According to a preliminary accident report, the California Highway Patrol says two sisters along with the daughter of one of them were traveling along Highway 99 on their way home after a visit to other family members in Modesto. At approximately 7:30, they were struck head-on by a car driven by a 22-year-old driver who was reportedly heading in the wrong direction on the highway. All three the women in the one car died at the crash scene.

Medical workers often find themselves in need of medical care

People typically go into the medical field because they want to help others live their best lives. Unfortunately, along with the responsibility for the care of other human beings, medical workers often have higher risks of on-the-job injuries than other kinds of employees.

While few people think of hospitals as innately dangerous, there are many work-related injuries in hospitals across the country every day. From combative patients to accidental needle sticks, there are myriad ways in which hospital workers can end up severely injured or sick. The good news is that medical professionals, like other employed adults, have the right to seek workers' compensation after a serious injury at work.

Workers' compensation benefits could cover psychological injuries

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health has strict regulations related to working at heights, and compliance can save many lives. Many workers' compensation claims are filed each year by fall accident victims that were not wearing fall harnesses. A securely anchored safety harness can arrest a fall before the victim strikes a lower level, and providing the worker is not left suspended for too long, he or she might walk away unscathed.

The efficiency of a fall protection harness was recently demonstrated in Anaheim at the Disneyland "It's A Small World" ride. Reportedly, rescue workers from the fire department rushed to the entertainment facility in the early morning hours of a recent Friday. They responded to a call about a worker who had fallen from an elevated level after slipping.

Workers' compensation: Struck-by incident kills steel worker

Occupational hazards exist in all industries, and often the only way to avoid injuries and fatalities is by absolute compliance with safety regulations. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health reported that it is investigating an industrial accident that occurred at a steel fabrication company in Spring Valley. This incident claimed the life of one employee, and a workers' compensation claim for death benefits will likely follow.

According to a Cal/OSHA spokesperson, the accident occurred shortly before 10:20 a.m. on a recent Wednesday. A worker in his 20s suffered severe injuries when some iron beams struck him. Reportedly, this happened when the beams fell off a truck in the yard of West Coast Iron.

Personal injury and wrongful deaths suits might follow I-5 crash

A multi-vehicle accident caused delays on southbound Interstate 5 in Woodland on a recent Thursday afternoon. The aftermath of this fatal crash might lead to a personal injury and a wrongful death claim. Although California Highway Patrol officers say drug or alcohol impairment was suspected on the part of the driver who crashed into the other vehicles.

According to a crash report prepared by CHP in Woodland, the accident occurred shortly before 4 p.m. where two sedans and an SUV were stationary in the far-left southbound lanes of Interstate 5. The reason for the stopped vehicles is unknown. Reportedly, a 36-year-old man from Olivehurst was headed in the same direction in a pickup truck. CHP says this driver failed to slow down, move over to another lane or stop as he approached the three stopped vehicles.

Workers' compensation: Hearing loss claim could be challenging

Federal safety authorities say millions of workers nationwide, including some in California, are exposed to excessive occupational noise every year. While there are strict limits to the decibel levels that are allowed and the hours of exposure, not all employers comply with the safety regulations. Those could also be the employers who might want to prevent affected workers from claiming workers' compensation benefits for employees who suffered occupational hearing loss.

Safety regulations mandate that average noise levels should not exceed 85 decibels over eight-hour shifts. Furthermore, employers must be proactive in protecting employees. Facilities with high noise levels must establish Hearing Conservation Programs that measure and manage noise levels. They must also offer employees free hearing tests at least once a year along with free ear protection.

Workers' compensation claims for HAVS might be challenging

Employees in the landscaping industry in California face multiple safety hazards, one of which is the frequently overlooked threat of hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS). This occupational hazard threatens workers in all occupations in which they use vibrating power tools such as chain saws, grinders, drills and jackhammers. If HAVS are not treated timely and left to develop fully, the harm will be irreversible because there is no surgical procedure or other cure for it. If HAVS can be proved to be work-related, affected employees might be eligible for workers' compensation benefits.

HAVS is an occupational condition that develops gradually, at a rate that depends on the exposure level. Initial symptoms typically include numbness or tingling sensations in one or more fingers or the hands, and exposure to the cold could cause them to go white. At first, these sensations will likely last only minutes at a time.

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