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Workers' Compensation And Personal Injury Law Blog

What are common injuries that firefighters suffer?

Data published by the National Fire Protection Association in 2017 showed how a staggering 58,835 firefighters were injured on the job that year. More than half of these injuries occurred while these individuals were fighting fires. That same report highlights many other surprising occupational hazards that these community service workers face.

At least 44,530 firefighters reported having been exposed to hazardous conditions including fumes, asbestos, radioactive materials and chemicals in 2017. Another 7,345 of these community workers were exposed to infectious diseases such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), meningitis and hepatitis that same year. Many firefighters were injured in the 15,430 automobile accidents in 2017 as well.

There are trends when it comes to manufacturing worker injuries

Data compiled by the National Safety Council (NSC) shows that as many as 100,000 manufacturing workers are injured each year on the job here in the United States. What's concerning about this is that many of the employees in this field have specialized expertise. This means that employers can't replace their workers with just anyone. This loss of labor adversely affects both productivity and profitability. There are some primary causes of manufacturing worker injuries.

Statistics compiled by The Travelers Indemnity Company, the U.S. Department of Labor and the NSC all show that one of the biggest injury threats that manufacturing workers face is getting hurt when making contact with an object. At least 40% of all employees who work in this sector are injured in such incidents each year.

There are many workplace hazards that health care workers face

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) data shows that at least 18 million Americans are employed in the health care sector in the United States. At least 80% of the individuals who work in this ever-growing industry are women. NIOSH data shows that workers in the health care field face one of the highest nonfatal occupational illness and injury rates of all industries.

There are a variety of occupational dangers that put health care workers at risk of getting sick or hurt. There's been an uptick in workplace violence at medical facilities in recent years.

Highlighting the Fatal Four

As most in California already know, workers’ compensation benefits are meant to provide financial assistance to those who have been injured on the job. Those working in industries where employee injuries are common should thus have an understanding of how to secure such benefits if and when they are needed. One such industry is construction, which (according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has 10.3 million practitioners as of 2016. The popularity of this profession remains high even though it is routinely ranked amongst the most dangerous.

Indeed, severe injuries happen often enough in the construction industry that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has compiled enough information to identify a handful of causes determined to be the most common. Dubbed “the Fatal Four,” these include:

  • Falls
  • Being struck by objects
  • Electrocutions
  • Crush injuries

The holiday season is also road trip season

The good times of the holiday season can instantly turn sour if you run into trouble on the road. It doesn't matter if you're traveling locally, across California or to a different part of the country, your safety and well-being should take precedence over everything else.

Here are four common holiday driving hazards you may contend with in the weeks to come:

  • Distracted driving: This is a problem any time you're on the road, and it's even more so the case during the holidays when people are likely to be in constant contact with family and friends. Do your part to prevent distracted driving, while keeping a close eye out for others who are violating the law.
  • Drinking and driving: Many people enjoy drinking alcohol when celebrating the holidays. While it's okay to do so in moderation, it's not okay to get behind the wheel.
  • Drowsy driving: If you're taking a longer road trip, such as to another state, be sure to bank as much sleep as possible before embarking on your journey. Also, regular breaks can help avoid a situation in which you fall asleep at the wheel.
  • Increased traffic: You're not the only one hitting the road during the holidays. Depending on when you're traveling, such as the days around Christmas, you may experience heavy traffic during peak hours. The more vehicles that are on the road, the more difficult it is to remain safe. The best way to protect against trouble is to follow the rules of the road, and, if possible, travel during off-peak hours, such as early in the morning.

Accident during training leaves Marine dead

Many in California no doubt feel a strong sense of security when they are at work. These secure feelings likely come from the assumption that given the control that one has over the tasks related to their job, they should then be able to control the situations that they encounter at work. Yet what about those whose work places them in positions where they could encounter danger (such as those whose jobs involve being outdoors or dealing with tense situations). While one can certainly feel secure in their ability to do their job, they cannot anticipate accidents or threats that might arise during the course of actually doing them. 

One need only look at the case of a Marine who was recently killed during a training exercise in Bridgeport. The man's unit was going through logistical support training when the Humvee he was in was involved in an accident. Specific details regarding were not released; it is only known that the young man was reportedly manning the vehicle's rooftop turret when the accident occurred. No other injuries were reported. Two fellow soldiers from his unit (which the man had only been in since May) attempted to provide him with, yet first reconsiders pronounced him dead at the scene. 

What do you do after a sharps injury?

As a health care worker, you may be at increased risk for a sharps injury. Such an injury occurs when you come in contact with an improperly disposed-of needle that penetrates the skin. Sharps injuries are dangerous because they can expose you to bloodborne pathogens such as hepatitis B or C, as well as human immunodeficiency virus. 

The facility where you work should have safety measures in place to reduce the risk of sharps injuries. However, accidents may sometimes occur despite these measures. If you ever do sustain a sharps injury, the Centers for Disease Control offers information about what your next steps should be. 

Distracted driving bill heads to Governor's desk

Residents in California often find that their state is among the first to enact major legislative changes, especially those designed to improve the environment or protect the safety of its citizens. One area in which California has led the nation is in combatting distracted driving. Handheld use of cell phones was banned in 2009, long before most other states followed suit. Today, there is an effort underway to expand the state's distracted driving laws.

As reported by Good Day Sacramento, a bill has made its way to the Governor's desk in the hopes of being signed into law. If signed, it would add one point on a driver's record for their second distracted driving violation. No point would be added for a first violation. For driver's eligible to attend traffic school, however, the point may be able to be avoided for a second offense but may then be added for a third.

Forklift safety tips: Do your part in preventing an accident

Operating a forklift is a potentially dangerous job, but someone has to do it. As a forklift operator, such as in a warehouse or manufacturing plant, it's critical to understand the steps you can take to prevent trouble.

Here are five forklift safety tips to follow at all times:

  • Inspect the forklift before use: Don't assume that a forklift is in good working condition. Inspect it for defects and damages, and notify your supervisor should you find anything wrong.
  • Wear the appropriate clothing: This typically includes safety shoes, hardhat and a high visibility vest. Also, avoid wearing loose clothing that could get caught on machinery.
  • Know your environment: Don't assume your work environment will remain the same from day to day. For example, there may be new signs in place for clearance heights and driving paths. Knowing your environment also means knowing where your co-workers are at all times.
  • Beware of hazards: This includes but is not limited to objects on the ground, wet spots, uneven surfaces and other vehicles. These hazards have a way of popping up when you least expect it.
  • Check your load: When carrying any type of load with a forklift, it must be stable and secure. Many forklift accidents are a result of improper loading and/or attempting to carry too much weight.

Safety on the manufacturing floor

People who work in jobs in the manufacturing industry in California know that they work in environments in which safety must be a top priority. The machinery and other equipment used in manufacturing can contribute to injuries when not maintained or used properly. This is just one type of hazard that manufacturing workers need to be aware of.

As explained by Travelers Insurance, coming into contact with an object is the most common factor in manufacturing injuries. Overexerting oneself is the second most common factor. Other things that are identified in many injuries in a manufacturing facility include falls, trips or slips; repetitive motions required to do a job; and exposure to substances that are harmful.

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