Contra Costa County and Tri-Valley Workers' Compensation Blog

An appeal often follows a workers’ compensation denial

As you stand face-to-face with a workplace injury or illness, you may soon realize the impact it will have on your life in the future. Specifically, it may hinder your ability to earn a living, thus throwing your finances into a state of disarray.

But then you realize that you can file a claim for workers' compensation benefits. You won't receive as much money as you would when working your regular job, but it's better than nothing.

Workers' compensation: Burn injuries can be life-changing

California workers in various occupations risk suffering burn injuries, which are classified according to their severity. Although a victim of a serious burn injury might be in shock in the immediate aftermath of the incident, it is essential to recognize the severity of the injury and the need for urgent medical care. Although some workers are concerned about the costs of medical care, they might find comfort in learning that the workers' compensation system of the state will take care of it.

The least serious burn injuries are called first-degree burns. They affect the outer skin layer, and although the burn site may be painful and red, no blistering will occur; treatment entails over-the-counter medication. However, medical care may be necessary, particularly if the damaged area is in the face or affecting a major joint. The same applies if the burn destroys both the outer and some of the inner skin layers. These are second-degree burns that will cause redness, swelling and pain, and blisters.

Will workers' compensation cover food truck worker's death?

Sometimes, the circumstances under which workplace injuries occur give rise to uncertainty about the rights of injured workers. The California Highway Patrol is investigating a recent accident in which a food truck worker lost his life. It was also reported to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health. Cal/OSHA initially decided to let CHP take the lead. But where does that leave the surviving family members and their rights to workers' compensation death benefits?

According to a preliminary police report, the incident occurred on a recent Friday morning. Reportedly, a worker fell from the truck as it made a slow left turn. Unconfirmed reports indicate that the worker was not safely seated and secured with a seat belt while the truck was moving. Instead, he was busy with food-related duties and might have lost his balance when the driver made the left turn.

How does workers' compensation treat employee burnout?

Incessant workplace stress has become a recognized cause of employee burnout. Workers across all industries in California and the rest of the country are at risk. According to the World Health Organization, burnout syndrome is a diagnosable occupational disease. However, federal and state safety authorities have not yet established safety standards to prevent burnout, nor does the syndrome feature in the list of occupational illnesses covered by workers' compensation.

WHO used the term burnout syndrome in an occupational context as opposed to other areas of people's lives. The syndrome has three identified characteristics:depleted energy, negative mental attitude toward one's job and a lowered professional efficacy. Health authorities note that multiple facets of safety and performance are affected by burnout syndrome.

3 most common workplace injuries leading to missed work

Workplace injuries are serious problems that workers shouldn't have to deal with. Employers must take steps to ensure that they are providing safe places for their employees. Because there are some injuries that are more common than others, it is critical that all employers and employees are aware of how they can reduce the risks.

There are many factors that can impact the injuries that are possible. To determine what needs to be done, employers have to think about the specific risks of the jobs in the company. No matter what industry a company is in, there are some injuries that are always possible.

City worker's death might lead to workers' compensation claim

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health has launched an investigation into the recent death of a city worker in Palo Alto. Reportedly, the 42-year-old worker was one of five city employees who worked on the upgrading of an electrical transformer. He was the only victim of this workplace accident, and a workers' compensation claim will likely be filed.

According to the city, the man was an experienced electrical lineman who had only recently started his job with the utility department of the city. His previous experience included time in the U.S. Air Force, followed by working with PG&E and the municipal utility district of Sacramento. The incident occurred at approximately 9:45 a.m. on a Saturday while the work crew attended to the service request of a nearby church. City authorities are as yet unsure whether electrocution was the cause of the worker's death.

Workers' Compensation claims might result from sleep deprivation

Health care workers, police officers and big rig operators in California might be interested in the results of a recent study in another state. It involved an analysis of data from a National Health Interview Survey, which was conducted among 15,000 adults between 2010 and 2018. The survey participants submitted self-reports of their sleep patterns and duration. Many workers' compensation claims every year follow workplace injuries caused by sleep-deprived workers.

According to the research reports, the percentage of workers who sleep for fewer than seven hours per day rose by 4.7% over the eight-year period. Reportedly, approximately half of the health care workers and police responders to the survey indicated that they sleep for an average of five to six hours per day, while almost one in six firefighters reported that they suffered sleep deprivation. Further results showed that work-related accidents resulting from fatigue and sleep disturbances are par for the course for most shift workers.

Workers' compensation: How many claims will be smoke-related?

Over the past few years, October and November have been cruel when it comes to wildfires. Once again, employees rely on their employers to allow them to work indoors whenever possible and to provide respiration protection throughout the fire season. Most California employers realize that they can keep their workers' compensation premiums down by prioritizing workplace safety.

During a recent road trip through Sonoma County, reporters of the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health noted that, despite the thick, smoky haze, a winery on their route was buzzing with tourists tasting wine. However, they were happy to see no workers in the vineyards in the area. When asked, a worker replied that they were aware of Cal/OSHA's emergency regulations.

Does workers' compensation cover violence against ER nurses?

Nurses from the emergency department of a San Francisco hospital reportedly filed a complaint about safety in their work environment with the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health. The nurses claim they have not received safety training related to workplace violence in the past two years. Further complaints involve the chronic state of understaffing and administration negligence, all contributing to circumstances in which they are exposed to violence, which often lead to workers' compensation claims.

The ER nurses allege that they are discouraged from filing reports about violent incidents. They say a recent incident involved a patient who had a loaded gun, and staff members are frequently hurt and beaten by patients. The spokesperson for the nurses says they do not blame the patients but the continuous state of understaffing instead. Another problem is the overcrowding because of the growing number of drug-addicted, homeless and often mentally ill patients who are admitted without increasing the number of ER nurses.

Workers' compensation: Rhabdo risks faced by wildfire fighters

Every year from September through December, wildland firefighters in California risk their lives as they work to save the properties and lives of others. One of the lesser-known hazards is Rhabdomyolysis -- also known as rhabdo. It is a condition that damages the heart and kidneys, and it likely results in many workers' compensation claims each year.

Rhabdomyolysis involves the breaking down of damaged muscle tissues, a process that releases electrolytes and proteins into the blood. When the blood reaches the kidneys and the heart, it causes severe damage that could lead to permanent disability or even death. If the condition is diagnosed and treated early, the severity can be limited, but for prompt diagnosis, workers must learn about the telltale signs and symptoms to look out for.

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