Contra Costa County and Tri-Valley Workers' Compensation Blog

Workers' compensation: Ambulance workers at highest risk

According to a study recently conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, two in 100 workers in all occupations suffer workplace injuries that need hospitalization. However, workers' compensation claims show that the numbers for ambulance workers are significantly higher. For them, as many as eight or nine in every 100 end up in hospitals nationwide, including California.

The physical demands of their work pose the most significant hazards for Emergency Medical Technicians and paramedics. Their frequent bending, kneeling, pushing, pulling and lifting patients onto and off stretchers make them prone to sprains and strains of muscles and ligaments, as well as various back injuries. The NIOSH study shows that most of the musculoskeletal injuries occur when ambulance workers lift patients.

Understanding the connection between cancer and firefighting

Firefighting is a profession that comes with inherent risks. Firefighters have to put themselves in very dangerous situations so that they can bring others to safety. This is stressful from a psychological perspective, but the nature of firefighting also puts stresses on the body. One of the main reasons for this is because firefighters are often exposed to dangerous fumes.

Some of the chemicals that firefighters are often exposed to are known carcinogens, and this means that firefighters have a higher risk of developing cancer than the population as a whole. If a firefighter or a former firefighter is diagnosed with cancer, they may be able to claim workers' compensation as a result.

Workers' compensation: Father of 2 dies in sawmill accident

California workers in the lumber industry put their lives on the line to care for their families. Sadly, many young children have lost a parent who succumbed to injuries suffered in sawmills. The California workers' compensation insurance system eases the financial burden of thousands of families each year by paying out death benefits.

A 27-year-old sawmill worker recently left behind his mother and two young children when he died in a caught-by accident while working at a Sierra Pacific Industries sawmill in Tuolumne County. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health is investigating the incident. Investigators will work to determine whether this fatality resulted from noncompliance with safety standards.

Workers' compensation: Garbage truck equipment crushes driver

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health will investigate an incident that caused the death of a waste collection truck operator. The wife of the deceased worker says her husband reported a malfunctioning hydraulic mechanism on the truck several times, but nothing was done about it. If this proves to be the case, she might have grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the employer, along with a workers' compensation claim.

Reportedly, the truck operator was crushed against the truck's body by the mechanical arm that dumps the trash into the hopper. The video surveillance camera of a nearby home recorded the incident shortly after 3:30 p.m. on a recent Monday. A passerby who suspected that something was wrong called 911 almost an hour later and deputies arrived in response at 4:26 p.m.

Confined space injuries give rise to workers' compensation claims

Confined spaces are work areas that provide enough space for a worker to perform work but have restricted or limited points of access and exit. They are typically not suitable for extended periods of occupation. These dangerous areas are present on various work sites in California, and noncompliance with prescribed safety standards can lead to workers' compensation claims for serious injuries or worse.

Dangerous confined spaces include utility holes, vats, tanks, tunnels and various other spaces that pose threats of entrapment, asphyxiation and other potentially deadly consequences. Employers must ensure that employees know the dangers posed by these areas. A permit requirement process must be in place, along with proper safety training, personal protective equipment and the necessary monitoring devices.

Chemical exposure could lead to workers' compensation claims

Exposure to industrial chemicals can have severe consequences. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has strict standards in place to protect those who work in industries where they could be at risk. Despite these regulations, the California workers' compensation program continues to receive benefits claims for workers who were affected by hazardous industrial chemicals.

Hazmat units recently rushed to evacuate more than 20 workers from a metal finishing facility after they were exposed to toxic fumes. Reportedly, the situation developed when 55 gallons of ammonium chloride were transferred from one drum to a second container that still contained remnants of another chemical. The combination caused hazardous fumes to develop.

How much can you receive for temporary disability benefits?

When you get hurt and you are suddenly unable to continue working, you may not be ready to absorb the loss of your income. An injury won't care that you have a mortgage and other bills to pay. Most people don't have enough money in savings to cover their monthly expenses for as long as it can take to heal from a back injury or a broken bone.

Regardless of how much money you have in savings, if you get hurt on the job, you may be able to qualify for temporary disability benefits to help protect you from the financial consequences of not being able to work. The entire point of workers' compensation insurance is to protect workers from financial devastation after a job-related injury or illness.

Workers' compensation can ease money concerns after injuries

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health has launched an investigation into possible safety violations at an air conditioning company. This follows a severe workplace injury that sent a worker to a Sacramento hospital with life-threatening injuries. The state-regulated workers' compensation system will likely ease this victim's concerns about finances and his ability to care for his family.

Reportedly, the man tripped and fell through a skylight, landing on a truck approximately 35 feet below. Co-workers came across the worker who appeared to be unresponsive and not breathing. Fortunately, even though he also struck a metal toolbox, he survived the fall. However, his injuries are expected to prevent him from returning to work for a year or longer.

Workers' compensation covers heat-related illnesses

Safety and health authorities say hundreds of heat-related deaths occur nationwide every year, including in California. Many of the workers' compensation claims for heat illness involve outdoor workers who were exposed to excessive heat. Although employers are responsible for the health and safety of their employees, workers must know the danger signs to look for in themselves and their co-workers.

Special precautions must be taken, especially during July and August when heat waves pose additional threats. Excessive sweating causes the loss of salt and minerals, and frequent intake of water or sports drinks can rehydrate them. Signs of dehydration include heat cramps in muscles of the abdomen, arms and legs. Failure to rehydrate can lead to heat exhaustion with symptoms like nausea, vomiting, increased thirst, excessive sweating, weakness. I3t could lead to the loss of consciousness.

Critically injured tree worker can claim workers' compensation

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health has launched an investigation into an incident that caused critical injuries to a tree worker on a recent Monday. Whenever California workers suffer work-related injuries, they are typically entitled to workers' compensation benefits. Basic benefits cover at least medical bills and lost wages, and additional benefits might be awarded. 

Reportedly, a crew of tree workers in the employ of a contractor was tasked with trimming trees that were getting too close to electrical power lines. Workers were lifted in the buckets of cherry pickers to reach the high branches. This is an extremely hazardous job because accidental contact with the high-voltage power lines could cause electrocution.

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