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.
Co-workers called 911 when they noticed one worker collapsing in the bucket of an elevated lift boom. First responders rushed to the scene and remotely lowered the boom. They found the worker in an unconscious condition, supposedly caused by an electrical shock. After extensive CPR treatment, the man was taken to a nearby hospital in a critical condition.
Although the Cal/OSHA investigators will work to establish the cause and circumstances of the incident, they will also examine the employer's compliance with safety standards. However, the injured worker might be eligible for workers' compensation benefits regardless of the outcome of this investigation. An attorney with experience in California workers' compensation laws can assist with navigating the benefits claims process. If the injured worker is left with a permanent disability, additional benefits like vocational rehabilitation might be awarded. This provides the injured worker with new skills to pursue a different occupation.