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Los Angeles Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Help from a Whittier construction accident lawyer

California law mandates that all employers provide a safe work environment that is free from unreasonable hazards. These laws also apply to construction companies. When an employee is injured at a California job site, Dixon & Daley, LLP, is available to assist with filing a workers' compensation claim. Dixon & Daley, LLP, focuses its practice on the Southern California area.

Due to the dangerous nature involved in the construction industry, employees who are hurt may suffer catastrophic injury. An employee may fall from substantial heights while working on scaffolding or be permanently injured due to an equipment malfunction. In order to prevail with a workers' compensation claim, an intensive examination of all supporting evidence could be conducted in order to bolster the case. This may require an attorney to review medical records, witness reports and accident reports. In some situations, expert testimony may be sought in order to determine which party was at fault for the accident.

Construction company criminally liable for worker's death

The California Occupational Health and Safety Administration issued 14 citations to a construction firm that was recently found criminally liable for the death of one of the company's employees. The employee, a 39-year-old Hayward man, was killed in an accident at a home construction site in Milpitas on Jan. 28, 2012. Cal/OSHA is also seeking more than $168,000 in fines from the Fremont-based firm following the fatal accident.

On Aug. 11, authorities said that a grand jury in Santa Clara County indicted the construction firm for the worker's death. The grand jury also indicted the owner and chief executive of U.S.-Sino Investment Inc. as well as the company's project manager. The 52-year-old CEO is believed to be in China; both he and the 36-year-old project manager are being charged with involuntary manslaughter.

Cal/OSHA probes 2 firms after fire injures 8 workers

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health is investigating two construction firms that were renovating the former Renoir Hotel in California when a fire began and injured eight workers. The incident was reported just after noon on August 6, and it took more than three hours to extinguish the fire.

Kor Group bought the eight-story McAllister Street property in 2012 and is renovating it into an updated hotel. A representative of Cal/OSHA says that the general contractor is Pacific Structures and the subcontractor is Emerald Steel. Fire officials say that there were about 24 workers in the former hotel when the fire started. Eight people suffered minor injuries, but only seven of them were hospitalized for smoke inhalation, as the eighth worker refused hospital transport. The Cal/OSHA representative said that several of the injured people work for Emerald Steel, and they were fitting studs on an existing structure at the time of the incident. The agency is looking into whether that work triggered the blaze.

EPA finalizes risk assessment of TCE

California regulatory agencies have considered the chemical trichloroethylene to be a health hazard for some time. Now the federal Environmental Protection Agency has issued a finalized risk assessment of the chemical that identifies serious health risks for consumers using products containing TCE and employees working in industries utilizing it.

The EPA findings demonstrate that toxic exposure may result from using TCE in workplace settings. It is commonly used as a spot cleaner at dry cleaners or as a degreaser. It is also used in spray fixatives. The EPA report finds that the chemical has been linked to kidney toxicity, immunotoxicity, liver toxicity, neurotoxicity, heart malformations in exposed fetuses and multiple forms of cancer.

Accident in California kills 1 worker and injures another

One worker died after being electrocuted, and another worker suffered major injuries during an accident at a California high school on July 17. Emergency responders declared the worker, who was in his 20s, dead on the scene. The other worker was taken to the hospital and was in critical condition on the day of the accident. The two men were standing on a scaffold, helping a booster club to put up a banner, when the incident occurred.

An eyewitness at the scene said that the coworker who had not been electrocuted got badly injured after trying to administer CPR to the other construction worker. According to accounts by the eyewitness and an Orange County Fire Authority spokesperson, the construction worker fell approximately 25 feet to the ground after his body came into contact with an electric wire, and his hand and hip was set on fire. The man was treated for serious burns and injuries from the fall after the accident.

Funding and manpower issues limit number of OSHA inspections

Los Angeles residents may be interested in a story detailing some of the manpower issues that one government workplace safety agency is facing. These issues stem from inadequate funding and may affect employees' safety on the job.

Even as workplace accident and injury cases have declined over the years, a large deficit remains in the prevention of future workplace injuries. Reports indicate that the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is facing budget and staffing shortfalls that impede its ability to put a focus on prevention. Instead, the majority of OSHA's manpower is centered on responding in the wake of accidents. This response often takes the form of inspection and fines in connection with any violations found.

Fire in confined space injures worker in California

On Dec. 17, 2013, a 37-year-old worker was severely burned while working for a California company in a confined space, according to Cal/OSHA. A confined space is one that is defined as big enough for a worker to get in, but possessing limited exit and entry openings as well as the potential for danger from area and atmosphere.

On the date of the accident, the worker was inside a big steel tank and was spraying the interior with a flammable coating. A portable halogen light that he was using ignited a flash fire that caused serious burns. The worker was in the hospital burn unit for three days recovering after he was rescued from the tank.

Higher-risk workers do not see correspondingly higher pay

Los Angeles has its fair share of construction workers and truck drivers who pass through the area, and both of these professions are among the five most dangerous in the country, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Aircraft pilots and flight engineers, farmers and ranchers and anglers occupy the other three most dangerous jobs based on fatal injury work rates.

Although employees in these professions are at a higher risk of death or injury, people in the fields of construction work or fishing earn about the same median pay as do secretaries or administrative assistants. Although aircraft pilots and flight engineers make more money than the national average, as do farmers and ranchers, these jobs require more education or experience and those with these jobs would likely be paid at a higher rate even if there was not a higher risk of accidents.

Busy California highway shut down due to construction accident

On June 18, three 50,000-pound steel beams fell onto the southbound lanes of Interstate 405 in an accident that shut down the busy highway in the Los Alamitos area and injured a worker, authorities reported. As part of a project to build a new overpass in the Rossmoor area, construction crews were setting the 130-foot beams into place when the accident occurred.

Authorities said that a beam on a crane tumbled onto the roadway after it knocked over two beams that had already been set in place. Reportedly, the injured construction worker was on the inchoate overpass when he too fell onto the interstate. While the extent of his injuries was not clear immediately following the incident, the injured man required immediate hospitalization.

California building explosion, fire burns 2 contractors

The Santa Monica Fire Department confirmed that a five-story building near the pier was involved in what appears to be an electrical explosion, which was followed by a fire. There were two contractors working on the building when the incident happened just before noon on June 10, and both were hospitalized for burn injuries.

The fire department reports that the two contractors were working in the basement where the explosion occurred. It took first responders only three minutes after being dispatched to find the pair. Firefighters were able to keep the explosion and fire contained. They also searched the area and ventilated it. No one was allowed to enter the building until crews from Southern California Edison arrived.

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