Van Nuys Workers' Compensation Blog

Amazon may have issues regarding workers' compensation

Amazon has become a household word and one-stop-shop for almost any item one can think of. Not only does the  massive e-commerce company have almost everything a person could possibly be looking for, it promises to deliver the products in record time. What gets lost in all of this is the people who are working to fill those orders in fulfillment centers in California and other locations under what some have described as less than optimum working conditions. Many injuries ultimately require workers to file for workers' compensation.

One of these workers is a young woman from a Latino family with the dream of becoming a teacher. She had worked other retail jobs and hoped to pursue her education while working for Amazon. She worked as a packer and then a picker. Packing involves packing boxes and moving them along an assembly line. Picking involves heavier work, pulling packages weighing up to 29 pounds out of cubbies and going up and down ladders to reach the cubbies.

Tesla seems to have a workplace injuries issue

Tesla is a big name in California. It brings to mind new-age vehicles that run on clean electricity and pave the way to cleaner transportation in California and around the country in the 21st century and beyond. The factories for the new sedan, the Tesla 3, were meant to be a beacon of progress with the most automated assembly system in existence. Sadly, that has not happened, and the Fremont plant is instead the target of many safety investigations. Recent workplace injuries included one that resulted in a severed finger tip.

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) revealed that the company has been cited in 24 investigations resulting in fines for 54 violations over the last five years. New penalties that are not yet counted in that number have resulted in fines totaling $236,730. One of these fines resulted from a glove getting caught in a piece of equipment that resulted in the severed finger tip. The Fremont plant has the most workers of any current U.S. auto manufacturer, 15,000 full time and contract workers.

Tunnel work presents risks for workplace accidents

Construction work can be dangerous in California. That is one reason organizations such as the California Occupational Health and Safety Administration (Cal/OSHA) exist. While construction work anywhere presents certain risks, working in a tunnel with large equipment can be particularly dangerous and the risk of workplace accidents is an ever-present danger. The margin for error is reduced by the relatively tight space, and being properly trained in safety measures is critical for one's safety.

In a recent accident in the Twin Peaks Tunnel, a worker died when a crane inside the tunnel knocked a beam causing it to fall and hit the worker who was walking below. The crane operator is believed to have had insufficient training before operating the crane inside the tunnel. He had received only on-the-job training and had operated the crane only two other times.

Workers' compensation: Important things to know

Workplace safety is a frequent concern for both employers and employees. In recent years, many companies have taken measures to improve workplace safety in California. Even with a company's best efforts, accidents can still occur and may leave an employee needing workers' compensation benefits. There are steps a person can take to protect oneself, and in the event of an injury it's important to know what to do.

An employee should be aware of the safety measures in place and seek to abide by them at all times. Many jobs require the wearing of protective gear such as goggles, gloves or helmets. These items are for one's protection and should always be readily available.

Outdoor workers should have proper safety guidelines

Worker safety must be a primary concern for all businesses, but a special emphasis must be placed on keeping people safe who are working outdoors in California. There are several hazards that these individuals face that can be addressed through proper planning.

Many factors come into the picture when a company is setting guidelines and protocol for what is appropriate during shifts that are worked outside. Thinking about things like workers' age and health, environmental conditions and the weather forecast can all help.

Workers' compensation should evolve with changing economy

The world of work is ever changing. Where manufacturing and large corporations used to rule in California and around the country, entrepreneurs and the gig economy are taking over in increasing numbers. Workers' compensation came into existence as a means for providing protection and care regarding workplace injuries and illnesses.

In a recent California Supreme Court case, delivery drivers won a lawsuit making it harder for them to be classified as independent contractors. Typically, independent contractors do not receive the same benefits as employees. One result of the case was a formula, the ABC test, that determines that workers are employees if their activities are controlled by the company, the activities contribute to the core business of the company and the workers don't run an independent business while carrying out the work.

Extreme heat caused workplace illness that resulted in death

U.S. Postal Carriers brave the elements to deliver the nation's mail. Indeed the saying 'neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from their appointed rounds' has been long associated with the postal service. While they brave the elements, they still need to be protected from them. In a California case, a female postal worker contracted a workplace illness as a result of exposure to the elements and died.

The woman had just returned to work in Woodland Hills after a three month absence during which she was recovering from a broken ankle. The temperature reached 117 degrees that day. The carrier was found dead in her un-airconditioned mail truck. She reportedly died of hyperthermia, a condition caused by the body's inability to deal with the extreme heat coming from the environment.

How does workers' compensation deal with pre-existing injuries?

What happens when workers in California suffer injuries that aggravate pre-existing conditions? Are they eligible for workers' compensation benefits? Although the state-regulated insurance program was established to provide financial relief to cover medical expenses and lost wages, some exceptions exist regarding how and when the injuries were suffered. The first requirement is for the victim to be a legally employed worker.

Furthermore, the injury must have been suffered during on-duty activities and be medically confirmed; it must also prevent the employee from working regardless of whether it is an injury that aggravates a pre-existing condition or a new injury. Exclusions include self-inflicted injuries or those suffered while alcohol or drugs impaired the worker. Injuries sustained during altercations started by the injured worker or while participating in criminal activities will not be covered by workers' compensation.

4 hazards that are common in many industries

Workers in various industries all face some of the more common hazards. For employers, knowing what these are can help them to improve employee safety. It is necessary for everyone to embrace the culture of workplace safety.

No matter what type of business you work in, these are some of the dangers and issues that should be addressed by employers.

Heavy equipment can cause fatal workplace accidents

People maintain their vehicles in an attempt to ensure that they are safe to drive. Major parts of a vehicle, such as the brakes, are checked frequently to ensure that they will work properly when needed. Heavy equipment that is used in agriculture also requires maintenance and monitoring to ensure that it remains safe and performs as intended in order to avoid workplace accidents. A recent equipment failure resulted in the death of a worker in California.

The man's brother was informed that the worker had been in the process of shutting down a wind machine. The machine reportedly began to vibrate and the propeller reportedly fell off. The worker attempted to get out of the way but was hit by the 600 pound blade of the propeller. He was conscious following the injury and was transported by ambulance to a nearby school from which he was airlifted to Kaweah Delta Medical Center. He later died as a result of his injuries.

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