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Encino California Workers' Compensation Blog

Does California grant workers’ compensation for fights?

Not everyone is out to make friends in the workplace. Despite the training and warnings you receive from your superiors, sometimes you cannot stop co-workers who want to speak with their fists rather than their mouths. Whether it is from a sense of competition or a growing tension between two uncooperative co-workers, fights that can break out from your workplace typically end with neither side winning.

If you get into a brawl on your company’s property, you are probably wondering if it is possible to acquire coverage for your injuries. Even though the damage came from raw emotions instead of an accident, you still got hurt on company property. Like most workers’ compensation cases in California, the answer is not straightforward. However, you should be aware of what’s needed to receive compensation.

What workers' compensation benefits can an injured worker expect?

Workplace injuries always come unexpected and bring with them unanticipated medical expenses and lost wages. California workers in all industries might find comfort in knowing that the state-regulated workers' compensation insurance program will provide financial assistance. All the medical expenses of an injured worker will be paid within three to seven days, and if the worker can return to work within that time, the workers' compensation benefits will cover medical expenses only.

If a worker's injury prevents the return to work, disability benefits come into play. Temporary total disability benefits are paid to workers who are unable to return to work at all until they have recovered. However, if a worker can return to work to do other tasks at lower wages until he or she recovers from the injury, temporary partial disability benefits will be paid to cover a portion of the lost income. Benefits will continue until the worker recovers enough to return to his or her regular job.

The hazards of health care work

Every occupation comes with risks and dangers. Surprisingly, health care workers face more safety hazards than most other professions. California employees in this industry are fortunate because they might be more protected than health care workers in most other states. However, they face such a range of hazards -- many of them unexpected -- that injuries remain prevalent.

Nursing is a physically demanding occupation that requires health care workers to spend almost all their work hours on their feet. The physical strain they endure includes lifting and moving patients, pushing wheelchairs and more. The fact that understaffing is prevalent in this industry increases the workload of the limited numbers of workers per shift. This also leads to excessive overtime demands on nurses who are already exposed to overexertion.

Fatal fall might lead to workers' compensation claim

According to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, a significant number of workplace fatalities follow fall accidents. This is likely also reflected in the claims filed for workers' compensation benefits each year. One such a claim might be submitted by the surviving family members of a Caltrans worker who recently died in a work-related accident.

According to the California Department of Transportation, the deceased man was a 57-year-old maintenance worker with 19 years of service in the department. An incident report indicated that he was a member of a work crew doing street sweeping and landscaping on the southbound side of SR-163. Under circumstances not reported, the man fell off the overpass and landed on a grassy patch approximately 50 feet below.

Construction workers: What is silicosis?

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health and federal safety authorities have strict regulations when it comes to silica exposure in the workplace. The risk of contracting silicosis is a reality for all construction workers. But what is silicosis? Silicosis is a deadly disease that results when workers inhale the very fine crystalline silica particles which are present in the dust on most construction sites.

Silica dust accumulates in workers' lungs where it forms scar tissue, which limits the oxygen intake into the lungs. Silicosis develops gradually, and 15 to 20 years of exposure could lead to so much scar tissue that it can cause disability or even death. There is no cure for this disease, and it is crucial for workers to have occasional chest x-rays to ensure timely treatment upon the first signs of scar tissue in the lungs.

How long can disability benefits last in California?

Many workers fear what will happen to their finances after an injury. Medical expenses can be overwhelming, and it can seem impossible to pay off those bills.

To prevent this, California requires companies to provide their injured workers with workers' compensation disability benefits. The amount and length of payments depend on whether the disability is permanent or temporary.

Workplace injuries thrive in U.S. hospitals

Hospitals are meant to be healing environments for patients and community members. However, hospitals are one of the most hazardous places to work. According to the Bureau of Labor, U.S. hospitals recorded 6.8 work-related injuries and illnesses for every 100 full-time employees.

In 2011, hospitals had 157.5 cases per 10,000 full-time workers where employees lost time due to severe injuries or illnesses - which did not include injuries where an employee works on modified duty. Healthcare had more time-lost cases than construction and manufacturing.

Many workers' compensation claims follow fatigue-related injuries

Safety authorities in California and elsewhere recognized the problem of fatigue among truck drivers a long time ago. Although lawmakers have attempted to eliminate trucker fatigue, workers' compensation claims for injuries suffered in truck accidents are prevalent. In fact, safety professionals maintain that fatigue affects workers in all industries.

They say the challenges related to occupational fatigue extend beyond the transportation industry. Safety managers in all industries can improve production, work quality and profits by assessing the impact fatigue has on their particular business fields. One adviser says it is a growing problem that adversely affects many businesses.

Health care workers in various fields face multiple hazards

Some workers in California spend their lives caring for others, often putting their health and even their lives on the line. They are the health care workers in the various fields of this industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says hospital workers suffer more occupational illnesses and injuries than other high-risk occupations, with most injuries involving musculoskeletal disorders caused by lifting and moving patients and slip-and-fall accidents. Violence is said to be the primary hazard for those working in psychiatric hospitals.

When it comes to home health care workers, strains and sprains are par for the course because they typically work with disabled, elderly or convalescent patients in their homes. They have to lift and move patients without the help of slings, ceiling lifts or other devices that are typically available in hospitals. Other hazards home care workers have to deal with include domestic violence, animal attacks, driving accidents and slip-and-fall accidents.

What can put construction workers at increased risk for falls?

Falls are among the harmful accidents that sometimes occur at construction sites. It is pretty common for construction workers to being doing work from heights. This includes things like roof work, working from scaffolding and working from ladders. Suffering falls when doing such work can expose construction workers to major harm. In 2016, falls to a lower level were behind over a third of construction worker deaths in the United States.

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