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How to help prevent workplace injuries among older workers

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that by 2015, employees over the age of 65 will represent 20 percent of the American workforce. Twenty-five percent of the workforce will be past 55 years of age by the year 2020. In the interest of decreasing the chance of serious workplace injuries, Los Angeles construction and industrial companies should start considering how to best accommodate older workers.

The good news for employers is that older workers are often safer workers. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health reported that older employees experience workplace injuries with less frequency than younger employees. The difference may be due to older workers having more experience or to their tendency to exercise greater caution. However, when older workers do get hurt, their time of recovery is usually longer.

5 workers injured in gas plant explosion

Some Southern Californians may have heard that an explosion disrupted life in a small town in Washington recently. The blast occurred in Plymouth, a small town near the Washington-Oregon border, at the storage facility of Williams Northwest Pipeline. The plant houses liquefied natural gas. Five workplace injuries were reported and around 400 people who live within 2 miles of the plant were evacuated.

Regulators, both federal and state, as well as the Benton County Sheriff's Department began investigating the plant the day after the event. The blast apparently injured five plant workers. According to a deputy, one worker was receiving treatment at a Portland hospital for burns he suffered on his hands and face. The other four injured workers were given treatment and subsequently released from a hospital in another town.

Concern over construction site falls prompts stand-down

California construction workers can attest that much of construction work is done off the ground. Even when working on a single-story building, construction workers may find themselves elevated 30 feet or more. Construction on a skyscraper may entail working hundreds of feet in the air. A fall from virtually any height has the potential to cause physical harm. Therefore, it is not surprising that many of the most serious construction injuries are the result of falls.

According to the assistant secretary of labor for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, more than one-third of construction industry deaths are attributed to falls. In response to this issue, OSHA recently announced the initiation of a national stand-down to promote greater fall awareness.

Potential hazards at California refineries may go unchecked

Employees at Los Angeles area oil refineries are well versed on potential dangers inherent in their work environment. Due to the combustible nature of the chemicals involved in the process of refining crude oil, vigilant adherence to safety regulations is paramount to ensure worker safety at refineries. Any sort of breach may cause toxic exposure to those working in the vicinity.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is tasked with conducting inspections to ensure refinery safety conditions are up to standard. However, OSHA is currently suffering from a dearth of inspectors. This inspector shortfall is cited as a cause for alleged lax safety standards at many of the nation's refineries, including those located in California.

Los Angeles airport accident puts focus on worker safety

Airfield workers at commercial airports often must endure strenuous conditions in order to do their jobs. They may have to move heavy luggage for passengers. They can be constantly subjected to the roar of jet engines as planes take off and land. In short, they face the risk of injury on a daily basis. Workers’ compensation is a necessity for anyone injured on the job. This is especially true if an injury has long-term complications requiring extended periods of time away from the job or expensive rehabilitation.

Those living in Los Angeles may be aware of a fatal accident at the Los Angeles International Airport. This tragedy demonstrates the importance of employers making every effort to minimize the chance of workplace injuries by maintaining the highest possible safety standards.

Research indicates possibility of non-concussive brain injuries

Those who work in hard-hat areas and other dangerous environments in Los Angles are well aware that a sharp blow to the head can cause a concussion. A concussive impact to the head is a serious form of physical trauma. This trauma can actually alter the manner in which the brain functions.

But new research indicates that non-concussive brain injuries could also lead to functional impediment. The discovery of this possibility is owed to a study conducted on military veterans who have endured blast exposure.

California refinery refuses industrial accident investigation

When an accident injures workers, research must follow to determine the cause. Knowing the cause of an accident can ensure workers are better protected in the future. Ideally, the company would welcome a properly run investigation.

Refinery workers and those employed at similar Los Angeles job sites may have already heard of the current situation unfolding at the Tesoro refinery in Martinez. Federal officials allege Tesoro's management is blocking an inquiry into an industrial accident. The accident at the refinery occurred on Feb. 12. Equipment attached to a large process tank experienced a mechanical breach. The tank housed concentrated sulfuric acid as well as flammable hydrocarbons. The breach resulted in approximately five gallons of sulfuric acid to leak per minute.

Construction worker recovering in Los Angeles hospital

Working on a Los Angeles construction site requires that employees have physical stamina as well as requisite skills to do a job safely and competently. This owes to the fact that construction work has dangers inherent to its environment. One second a worker may be concentrating on hanging Sheetrock or pouring concrete, the next second he might find himself the victim of a construction accident. Life-altering occurrences such as this happen with disturbing regularity.

In Duarte, a construction worker is facing the potential of losing his left arm following an accident involving a forklift. The incident occurred in the City of Hope Hospital parking lot. Initial reports from fire and sheriff’s officials of Los Angeles County indicate the man, a contracted crew member, suffered the injury as he helped offload a forklift that was on a truck.

Toxic metals found in southeast Los Angeles County air

Los Angeles County residents have reason to feel concern about a recent series of air quality tests conducted in Paramount. The tests’ results show a disturbing level of toxic metals polluting the air. Carlton Forge Works, a local metal manufacturing company, has been pinpointed as the source of the problem. The levels of toxicity are likely warrant further studies into the possible risks of toxic exposure to those in the facility’s vicinity.

Test results concluded that dangerous levels of several toxins, including nickel, permeated the air. Nickel is a carcinogen known to damage lungs, and to cause bronchitis and asthma. The South Coast Air Quality Management District, which released the findings, has issued Carlton an order to submit an emissions inventory.

Workplace accident hospitalizes California worker

Los Angeles residents may have read about the San Bernardino warehouse worker that was hospitalized after her hand was caught in a conveyor belt’s roller. The workplace injury occurred at the Amazon distribution center, located east of Los Angeles County. The facility has been open for just over a year. A Cal/OSHA representative said the incident happened in early December.

The incident is mentioned on OSHA's website. The Amazon worker received treatment at a hospital emergency room and was eventually admitted. The worker was fortunate enough to not lose her hand, however, she did require a skin treatment. Since the woman was hurt on the job, she should be entitled to receive workers' compensation, particularly if the liability is found with the distribution center.

Dixon & Daley, LLP

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