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Encino California Workers' Compensation Blog

Prompt workers' compensation benefits can speed up recovery

Workers in all industries in California face occupational hazards, and they all need to recover from workplace injuries as soon as possible and return to work. Knowing that the state-regulated insurance system is there for them might provide comfort. However, not all workers' compensation benefits claims proceedings go smoothly. A Triple Crown-winning jockey recently reported the challenges he experienced in his dealings with the California workers' compensation system.

The insurance provider that specifically covers California racetrack employees initially allowed in-home care services and physical therapy, which are crucial for riders who suffered spinal or brain injuries. Then, without prior notice, these treatments were halted. The jockey says although he ultimately managed to get permission to continue the services, stopping the treatment had an adverse impact on his recovery.

Explosion causes serious workplace injuries at cannabis facility

With the rapid expansion in the marijuana industry, safety authorities have to establish safety standards to govern the cultivation and processing facilities. In the meantime, employers must comply with the general standards as prescribed by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health. Noncompliance by an employer led to citations issued by the safety agency after a June 2018 incident in which a worker suffered serious workplace injuries.

According to an incident report, an explosion occurred while a lone worker was using propane inside a portable storage container. The employee was busy with a process of extracting cannabis oil from the leaves of the plants when the ignition of the liquefied petroleum gas exploded. The worker was rushed to a hospital for treatment of serious burn wounds.

Machine guarding can limit robot-related workplace injuries

For workers in the manufacturing industry of California, having robotic co-workers is no longer the stuff of science fiction. Robots are used in many industrial facilities, and safety authorities have to establish new standards as technology advances and new safety hazards become evident. Some of the significant safety concerns when it comes to advanced automation are proper guarding and barriers.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration say analysis of accident data has helped to identify the most common robot-related workplace accidents, which helps with establishing safety standards to mitigate those hazards. Accidents involving collision or impact happen when components in a robot malfunction, or when unanticipated program changes take place. This could cause unpredicted movements of its peripheral equipment or arm.

Workers' compensation: Trouble for PG&E lineman

Working as a "troubleman" for the Pacific Gas and Electric Company could be hazardous, as proved by an employee who was recently rushed to the hospital for treatment of burn injuries. Although the California workers' compensation benefits will likely cover his medical expenses, burn injuries sometimes leave permanent scars. A PG&E spokesperson says the term "troubleman" is used for workers who serve as first responders to reports of electrical problems.

Reportedly, the worker was called out to attend to a voltage problem at approximately 9 p.m. on a recent Wednesday. The employee was in the bucket of a lift truck from where he attended to the problem. A transformer failure at approximately 10:15 p.m. caused an explosion that set the PG&E truck, a second vehicle and the power pole on fire.

National legislation introduced to protect health care workers

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, health care workers nationwide, including in California, are involved in almost as many workplace violence incidents that lead to serious injury as the combined number of such events in all other industries. Now, a federal bill to protect social service and health care workers by preventing workplace violence has been introduced. Under this legislation, OSHA will be mandated to establish national safety standards that will require employers in these industries to develop and implement comprehensive plans to prevent workplace violence before it can occur.

Workplaces that will fall under this bill will include more than hospitals. Residential and non-residential treatment facilities along with treatment centers for substance use disorders and psychiatric treatment facilities will be included. Also, emergency services, federal health care facilities, community care centers and fieldwork setting will have to implement prevention plans.

Workers' compensation benefits: Vocational rehabilitation

Workers who suffered debilitating workplace injuries might not be aware of their rights to vocational rehabilitation. As part of the workers' compensation benefits program, California workers who are unable to return to their regular jobs can request vocational rehabilitation anytime within 15 years after the injury date. The costs will be for the account of the employer's workers' compensation insurance provider.

Based on regulatory and statutory regulations, workers will be entitled to practical training to master new skills that will enable them to return to jobs that will accommodate their work-related disabilities. The program might offer assistance with finding new employment by helping with the drafting of a resume, job hunting and making applications. Participants in the program might also learn skills and techniques to help them when they go for job interviews.

California construction industry focuses on wildfire safety

Within the last year, California has seen more wildfire damage in its forests and houses than ever. Millions of acres and homes were burned to the ground in just the last couple of months alone. One of the industries most affected is the construction industry. Despite their commitment to build thousands of more houses for current and future Californians to live in, many experts are advising them to avoid building houses in fire-prone areas.

However, several construction companies plan on continuing their work in these conditions. As a construction worker, now is a good time for you to review your wildfire safety protocols for work. While most of the wildfires happened during the latter half of 2018, there were many more throughout the year. With how increasingly unpredictable fires are becoming, you need to be ready to respond to the threat in a moment’s notice.

Trench collapse in Glendale traps 2 construction workers

On Oct. 31, a construction accident on the campus of the Glendale Community College in Los Angeles County caused a dangerous gas leak that required the evacuation of the entire campus and the suspension of classes. Just more than two weeks later, on Nov. 15, another incident sent one of two construction workers who was trapped in a collapsed trench to the hospital. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health has initiated a full investigation, part of which will involve the construction company's compliance with safety regulations.

Reportedly, the most recent incident involved two members of a construction crew who were in a trench on the Verdugo Campus and were busy with the installation of a sewer line. It is unclear whether the trench was secured as required by safety standards, but the walls collapsed, burying two workers. One construction worker was trapped with soil up to his waist, and rescue workers struggled for more than 30 minutes with the painful extrication process of this worker.

Health care workers' injuries can also harm patients

Patients in California hospitals will always be at risk of infections, medication errors and more. However, few people realize that the hazards faced by health care workers can ultimately harm the patients. Manual lifting forms a significant part of any caregiver's day, and the musculoskeletal injuries they suffer could put patients at risk of bruises, fractures and skin tears suffered from falls.

Along with their duties to lift and turn patients, health care workers face hazards like falls from slips and trips, needlestick injuries, and exposure to hazardous chemicals. Furthermore, they work in an unpredictable environment in which combative and agitated patients and visitors threaten their safety. Most caregivers will risk their own health and safety to help patients because their ethical duties will not allow them to harm patients.

Can I get a new job after filing a workers’ compensation claim?

Getting a severe injury at your job can be a traumatizing experience. Not only could you be permanently disabled for the rest of your life, but you may be unsure about wanting to return to your own job even after you are done healing.

After filing a claim for workers’ compensation, you may be impatiently waiting to return back to your old job or acquiring a new one. Before you think about doing so, you should know about what can happen to your compensation benefits if you choose to leave your old job while on recovery.

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