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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.