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Los Angeles Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Construction accidents: Man dies after fall

Construction sites in California can be dangerous places. As a result, there are a variety of different safety standards that must be met to help preserve the safety of employees. Unfortunately, safety standards are not always able to protect employees, sometimes leading to construction accidents with serious, even deadly, consequences. For example, one out-of-state man was killed in a recent accident.

The accident happened in mid-May. Reports indicate that a 25-year-old male was working on a building's facade. At the time of the accident, the man was on scaffolding, and it is believed that he fell after losing his footing.

Toxic exposure sends multiple workers to the hospital

Carbon monoxide is known as a dangerous gas. Exposure can quickly become deadly with most people unaware that they have come into contact with anything that could cause significant damage. While people in California and across the country are aware of the dangers associated with exposure, many are unaware when the threat of exposure is imminent. For example, multiple out-of-state workers were recently hospitalized as a result of toxic exposure.

The exposure occurred in May. Reports indicate that a worker in a warehouse was discovered unconscious. While he was being transported to the hospital, paramedics found that he had a high level of carbon monoxide in his system. Tests at the warehouse found that levels were significantly higher than what is considered safe.

California construction accidents: Man dies after fall

Construction plays an important role in the economy of California. It typically indicates growth, expansion and employment. However, many people may not recognize that the construction industry could also pose significant risks for employees. Construction accidents can cause serious injuries, sometimes even death. For example, officials are investigating a recent accident that led to a fatality.

The accident happened one day in late April at a construction site related to a casino. Reports indicate that a 45-year-old victim was an employee of SME Steel Contractors. Officials believe that the man fell two to three stories.

Skin diseases are second most common occupational illness

Major industries in California, such as agriculture, construction and food service, rank high in potential risks for exposing workers to skin irritants. When chemicals and other agents come into contact with a worker's skin, rashes, infections, injuries and systemic toxicity could occur. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, skin diseases caused by workplace activities are the second most common type of occupational diseases.

Although the threat of inhaling hazardous substances has been addressed across many occupations, the CDC states that standardized evaluations of skin problems have not been developed, which impedes assessment of workplace risks. Among skin illnesses, contact dermatitis accounts for the majority of problems. This skin condition, better known as eczema, can be caused by either toxic irritation or allergic reaction. Itching, redness, swelling, pain and blisters indicate the condition. Contact dermatitis alone produces annual costs of over $1 billion.

The prevention of heat-related work injuries

California employees who work outdoors or indoors in hot areas may not be entirely aware of some of the dangers that the heat can present. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, this heat can lead to serious injuries and death if not properly prevented or treated.

In the course of their job duties, many workers may be required to be in high temperatures for extended periods of time. This can lead to a number of heat-related illnesses that can have serious health effects. For instance, heat stroke occurs when the worker's body stops regulating heat. This can lead to their body temperature rising to critical levels, which could potentially cause death. Slightly less serious is heat exhaustion, which can still cause headaches and nausea, among other symptoms. Heat cramps and heat rash are other conditions that can develop while working in the heat.

Exposure to manganese can cause health risks

Welders and other metalworkers in California may not be aware of the effects that welding fumes can have on the body. Most welding fumes contain a small amount of the metal manganese, which, while normally produced by the body's dietary system, can be harmful if inhaled.

Exposure to manganese dust often occurs during ore-crushing, metallurgical operations and mining, along with during the manufacture and production of certain items like dry-cell batteries and pesticides. Working with manganese in an enclosed area can cause more exposure. This exposure can often cause neurological and neurobehavioral issues.

Safety responsibilities of employers

Employers in California and around the country are obligated to follow certain safety guidelines that have been established by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. If these are not adhered to, an employer may be issued citations and fines for the violations by the agency. Records of these citations must then be posted near the unsafe work area until the matter is corrected.

One of the main responsibilities of an employer is to provide a workplace that is free from serious hazards. Employers must also regularly inspect the work environment to ensure that there are no hazards and the area is safe according to OSHA standards. If there are unavoidable hazards that cannot be removed from a work environment, employers must use clear signs, posters and labels to warn workers about the potential dangers.

A look at nursing-related injury rates and how to prevent them

Los Angeles workers may be interested in some information about workplace injuries in the health care field and how they could be prevented. Due to the failure of the state and federal governments to enact legislation, however, these serious workplace issues remain largely unresolved, according to one source.

The rate of on-the-job injury for nurses and orderlies is higher than any other occupation, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many of these injuries are the result of moving patients without the proper equipment. According to a spokesperson from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, this often leaves nurses with shortened careers due to disabilities caused by these injuries. However, studies show that changes in equipment and training can lead to a vast reduction in these types of workers' injuries. One program showed a 40 percent average reduction while another found that injuries were reduced by 80 percent after introducing new equipment for lifting and moving patients.

McDonald's employees allege poor treatment after burn injuries

California residents might not give much thought to the employees behind the counter or drive-thru when ordering a Big Mac and fries at McDonald's, but employees at the huge fast food chain have filed 28 complaints to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The complaints cite working conditions that led to burns along with inadequate treatment after injuries.

Workers in 19 U.S. cities shared their issues about conditions at McDonald's on March 16 as part of a labor campaign led by the Service Employees International Union called "Fight for 15." The employees allege the pressure to work quickly combined with staff shortages has led to grease burns, but the restaurants do not have the protective equipment or first-aid supplies to combat the burns.

Fall prevention at construction sites

As some California workers know, falls may occur when walls are erected during building construction. Workers need to be aware of why falls happen and precautions that can be used to prevent them. After fall protection is in place, workers require training to use such protection properly.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration offers guidelines to help employers keep workers safe. Federal regulations mandate that standard fall protection methods must be used in the workplace. An employer may not be able to provide such protection and must provide reasons why conventional methods will not work. The employer must say in writing why standard fall protection, if used, would cause a hardship or if fall protection presented a bigger threat to worker safety. In such cases, the employer must develop a written plan that meets the specific needs of the work site. Workers are then trained in the use of such safety precautions.