Weather forecasters are predicting California temperatures exceeding 90 degrees for the next few weeks. This leaves many outdoor workers at risk of suffering heat-related illnesses. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health has urged employers to comply with heat illness prevention standards. Employers must protect construction workers and other employees who work outdoors from known hazards, one of which is heat exposure.
Federal and state occupational safety and health agencies use one day in June each year to remind employers and workers of the dangers of working on and around forklifts. Carbon monoxide is one of the deadliest workplace hazards because the presence of this toxic gas often goes undetected. On the National Forklift Safety Day, employers nationwide, including California, are urged to refresh safety training to prevent complacency among workers and supervisors.
Safety authorities use one week in June each year to remind employers and employees in the construction industry about the potentially deadly hazards of working in trenches. Even after years of holding the National Trench Safety Stand Down, cave-ins continue to occur. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 75% of the trench-related accidents that claim the lives of construction workers involve wall collapses, which are preventable by compliance with federal and California safety standards.
Each year, a significant number of California workers have been found to have elevated levels of lead in their blood. Although workers' compensation covers their medical expenses, the workers carry lead dust home and put the health of their families at risk. If a recently proposed bill is passed, The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health will have the right to enforce safety regulations in workplaces and issue citations and fines for violations.
Following the tragic loss of lives after a crane collapse in another state, concern was raised about safety issues nationwide. One individual has more than 40 years of experience in the industry, including some years working as a crane operator and technician. He was certified as an inspector by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health and also by the safety authorities of the state in which the recent collapse claimed the lives of construction workers.
Prompt treatment of heat stress symptoms can prevent it from developing into a life-threatening condition. Every year, thousands of California workers file workers' compensation claims for preventable work-related health issues. It is crucial for workers in all industries to learn how to recognize the telltale signs of heat illness in themselves and their co-workers.
Safety authorities say many workplace accidents nationwide, including California, happen as the result of unsafe practices rather than hazardous work environments. Fortunately, the state-regulated workers' compensation program is a no-fault system that pays benefits regardless of who was at fault. So even if a worker makes a mistake that causes an injury, he or she will likely still be eligible for insurance benefits.
As California palm trees grow, the older fronds are typically removed when they turn brown. This is a dangerous task, and many palm tree trimmers have suffered severe injuries while working at heights often exceeding 25 feet. When the dead fronds are cut or pulled off, other fronds could collapse onto the worker. The excessive weight of those fronds could trap the worker and cause suffocation.
Outdoor workers in California are often exposed to insects of various kinds, and some may not be aware of the health risks insect stings pose. Even workers who experienced no adverse effects for years could develop allergies to certain types of insect venom and might need to seek financial assistance through the California workers' compensation program. Although mosquitoes are often regarded as the most prevalent insect sting threat, the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology says honeybees, wasps, hornets, fire ants and yellow jackets also pose significant risks.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says recent incidents prompted a reminder to employers nationwide, including California, about the hazards posed by carbon monoxide exposure. The agency says all employees, including general laborers, construction workers and others, face the risk of being overcome by this deadly gas -- often called the silent killer. Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas that is odorless and colorless, and it can be undetected until it is too late to escape.