Workers on offshore platforms have important jobs to perform that essentially ensure a comfortable life for the general public. The reality of this work is that it is dangerous. These men and women always have to be aware of the possibility that an accident could happen at any time.
There are few workplaces that have the same amount of potential for serious injury as an offshore platform. From helicopter accidents to explosions, these workers face hazards that the majority of us will never realize.
It’s important to not only know the risks you face as an offshore worker, but your legal rights. Part of understanding your rights is knowing how liability issues could play out in the case of an accident. When an offshore accident occurs, liability isn’t always cut and dry. The person or entity ultimately found liable for the accident will influence how the worker is paid for damages or if they are even paid at all.
The CDC took a close look at offshore oil and gas operations and the accidents that occurred. The agency found that the leading causes of fatalities were:
Contact with objects or equipment
Fire and explosions
Exposure to harmful substances/environments
Workers found to be the most in danger were:
Employees of well-servicing companies
Oil and gas operators
Transportation and warehousing employees
“Other” industry employees
Issues of Liability
Liability determines how a worker recovers damages and what type of legal result occurs. If the worker is found at fault for the accident, they may not only have to pay for their own expenses, but they may find it difficult to find employment within the industry. When the company is found to be liable, they will be forced to pay out damages to anyone injured in the accident.
Other issues arise when a company or their lawyers work to delay a case. A victim cannot wait for payout of damages. Medical bills, lost wages, and more can drastically affect the life of an injured worker and their family. Because of this, the San Luis Obispo personal injury attorney a worker chooses is crucial. A knowledgeable lawyer can investigate not only the incident, but the history of the company and their safety record.
Our San Luis Obispo Personal Injury Lawyers are Here to Help
If you have been injured in such an accident, you deserve to recover damages. It’s that simple. If the company or another employee is liable for the incident leading to your injuries, you have legal rights.
Reach out to a San Luis Obispo personal injury lawyer today to schedule your free case evaluation. We will review every detail of your case and advise you of your best options. The insurance companies may not have your best interests in mind, but we certainly do.
5,190 workers lost their lives on the job in 2016.
The three most cited standards across the country in 2017 were fall protection/construction, hazard communication standard/general industry, and scaffolding, general requirements, construction.
The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health has been cracking down on careless employers, and fines are on the rise. According to statistics, the problem isn’t necessarily that employers are being more careless than they have been in the past, but that Cal/OSHA is conducting more inspections. Are businesses more unsafe, or is the uptick in inspections simply causing more violations to be caught? Read on to find out.
In 2016, the agency handed out 2,736 citations, totaling $2.5 million in fines. Just two years earlier, the agency issued 2,779 citations, but only brought in $1.3 million in fines.
New regulations have made some penalties higher. Fines have close to doubled for violations that are labeled as “other than serious” and increased for violations that are considered to be willful or those that are repetitive.
California Workplace Violations to Date
California companies have been cited already this year and some are serious. Here are some standout violations that have been reported by the agency.
The Alhambra Foundry Co. Ltd. was cited after an employee was forced to undergo an amputation as the result of a confined space accident. In August of 2017, workers were unjamming and cleaning a conveyor that was part of an industrial air filtration device.
Another worker attempted to perform a test on the equipment, turning on the machine. One of the workers cleaning the machine was pulled into it and ultimately lost both legs. Eight citations were issued to the company for various violations.
2. Fall Protection
California Premier Roofscapes Inc. was cited after Cal/OSHA discovered that the company had failed to train workers on fall protection and did not ensure that workers were wearing proper safety gear while installing roofs. The agency proposed penalties in the amount of $134,454.
Six citations were given to SSA Pacific Inc., a marine cargo handler. The citations were for safety violations following a fatal accident that occurred on January 3. A worker was operating a forklift and struck a concrete support column attached to a transit shed. The worker was thrown from the vehicle and passed away from the injuries sustained. Cal/OSHA cited the company for failing to properly maintain and inspect forklifts, ensure the operators wear seatbelts and improperly altering vehicle safety features, among other violations. The penalties total $205,235.
Top Five Penalties for 2017
OSHA takes workplace safety seriously. When a company fails to adequately protect its workers, it can expect to be cited and fined. Here are some of the highest penalties issued.
1. Joon LLC, Alliance HR Inc. and Joynus Staffing Corp.
A worker suffered a fatality after working inside of a machine that restarted while they were inside of it. A worker was trapped in the machine and crushed. The company, Joon LLC received 23 citations for other-than-serious, serious, and willful violations.
The other two companies cited were staffing agencies and each given two serious violations. Overall, the penalties totaled $2.6 million.
2. Atlantic Drain Service Co., Inc.
The drain cleaning company was cited after two workers died when a trench collapsed. The trench collapse caused a fire hydrant line to break and, in turn, flood the trench.
OSHA found that the company did not protect the employees against trench collapse, similar to findings against the same company in 2007 and 2012. The company was issued 18 citations with penalties totaling $1.5 million.
3. Great White Construction Inc.
During a planned inspection, the investigator saw employees working on a roof without adequate fall protection. A second inspection was launched and the same violations were witnessed.
The company was ultimately cited with 14 violations and placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program and handed penalties totaling $1.5 million.
4. Arrow Plumbing LLC
A worker died when a trench collapsed because it wasn’t protected. The death came a month after another worker had died in a similar accident. OSHA investigated and discovered that the company did not provide safeguards or proper training for its employees. The company was given 14 citations with penalties totaling $714,142.
5. Amsted Rail Co. Inc.
A worker received crushing leg injuries after being caught in a machine while performing maintenance. An investigation conducted by OSHA discovered several violations. A second, unrelated investigation was conducted in the same company months later.
The company was cited with 30 violations and given penalties totaling $610,034. They were added to OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
Workers should be able to perform their duties without worry that they will be injured. Employers are tasked with the responsibility of ensuring this. When someone is hurt while on the job, they have the right to seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages and more.
Speak to a San Luis Obispo OSHA Lawyer Today
If you have been injured on the job, you need a San Luis Obispo OSHA lawyer. Reach out to our office today to schedule a case evaluation. We will review the details of your accident and advise you of your best options. Call today to speak with a member of our team.
When people think of on-the-job injuries, they often picture accidents involving heavy machinery. While these are certainly serious, they aren’t the only type of injuries that occur in the workplace.
Sitting at your desk for the better part of the day can lead to muscle pain, strain and eventual repetitive injury. The good news is that there are stretches you can perform at the comfort of your desk that can help prevent these injuries.
1. Stretching Your Hands and Arms
These stretches are easy to do. The first involves placing your hands flat on your desk. Move your wrists from side to side as far as you can without removing your hands from the desk top. Hold each stretch for five seconds and repeat the exercise at least three times.
Put your elbows on your desk and place your palms together. Gently lower your wrists without sliding your elbows apart. Hold the stretch for about seven seconds and repeat three times. Lastly, stretch your arm out in front of you and grab your fingers with the opposite hand. Gently pull your fingers back until you feel a stretch in your wrist. Hold the stretch and then gently press the same hand down towards the table. Hold that stretch. Repeat three times on each arm.
2. Stretching Your Neck and Shoulders
Shrug your shoulders up towards your ears, but don’t drop them. Hold your shoulders in place for three to five seconds, and then relax. Repeat the stretch three times. Sit upright in your chair and tilt your head to the left, as if you were going to lay your left ear on your shoulder. Hold your head in that position for a few seconds, and then repeat on the right.
Sitting at a desk all day can make your upper back ache. Interlace your fingers behind your neck and pull your shoulder blades together. Hold the stretch for three seconds and relax. Repeat as many times as you would like.
3. Stretching Your Legs
Lift one leg off the floor and keep your toes pointed up. Flex your foot back and forth slowly as many times as you like. Repeat with your other leg. Another great leg stretch is this: Sit in up in your chair with both feet on the floor. Lift one knee so that your foot is just a few inches off the floor and hold the pose for a few seconds. Repeat with your other leg.
If you are flexible enough, sit in your chair and place your right ankle on top of your left knee. Gently push down on your right knee until you feel a stretch. Hold for a few seconds and then relax. Repeat with your other leg.
Stretching is a great way to prevent your muscles from becoming painful. Stretching also helps to keep your muscles limber which can help you avoid repetitive injuries. Make sure you take a few minutes for yourself each day to take care of your body.
If you experience an on-the-job injury in San Luis Obispo, reach out to our team. We will review the details of your injury and help you file a claim for workers’ compensation or file a personal injury lawsuit. We will advise you of your best options during your free case evaluation. Call to schedule your appointment today.
Nanomaterials are probably something you haven’t heard of, yet you use them almost every day. They are found in batteries, sunscreens, furniture, soaps and even sporting goods. Clearly you don’t have to know what they are to be able to utilize them, but you may want to know what they are if you work with them.
What Are Nanomaterials?
Nanomaterials are items that have one or more dimensions and are smaller than 100 nanometers. In other words, at least one of their dimensions are microscopic. They are used in different products to make them lighter, to strengthen them or to help them maintain a certain temperature. Some nanomaterials occur naturally in volcanic ash and soot. These tiny particles have only been used in industrial workplaces since the turn of the century. That means that long-term exposure and the health effects of that exposure haven’t been determined in totality. What is known is that the microscopic particles can enter the human body quickly and easily.
The Future of Nanotechnology
A study that was released in 2011 claimed that there would be an estimated need of 6 million workers in the nanotechnology industry by 2020. Millions of those jobs will be held in in the United States. With the rise in workers, studying the effects of exposure is something that needs to happen sooner rather than later.
It has been said that nanotechnology is the fourth industrial revolution. There is no doubt that the industry has grown rapidly, but little has been done to keep up with the impact of what that growth means to workers’ health. However, the good news is that research has begun, and professionals are trying to determine just what risks workers may be facing. Once those risks are determined, safety protocols can be put in place if necessary.
Because the long term effects of persistent exposure to nanomaterials is unknown, it is being assumed that they could have the same effects on workers as air pollution and other ultrafine particles. It is known how other particulates have affected workers who have been exposed for regular periods over time and how to protect those workers. Until more research is concluded and the facts of exposure risk are known, employers in the industry must take the stance that these nanomaterials could be hazardous and protect their workers appropriately.
If you are an employee in the industry, take steps to protect yourself. Those steps may include wearing protective glasses or goggles, respirators and/or gloves. It can be difficult to protect yourself from what can’t be seen, but you should do your best to follow general safety tips to avoid suffering the unknown effects of exposure a decade from now.
When a person is hurt on the job in San Luis Obispo, we are here for them. Call our team of experienced attorneys today, or reach out to us online. We will help you schedule a free case evaluation to learn more about your needs and determine how we can best assist you.
When people think about workers’ compensation and the accidents that lead to claims, they often think about injuries caused by malfunctioning machines or their improper use on the factory floor. In other instances, people’s minds may turn to slip and fall injuries. But what happens when someone is involved in an accident in the company car?
While most people may not consider a car accident leading to a workers’ compensation claim, they can and do. In certain circumstances, a person who is injured in a collision may be eligible for compensation. Here is what you need to know about how a car accident in a company car can lead to a workers’ compensation claim.
Compensation is for Work-Related Injuries
People who are injured on the job are covered under their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. Victims may be able to recover lost wages, medical expenses and other costs associated with their injury and recovery. An injury doesn’t necessarily have to occur at the worksite to be covered. If a person is off-site and acting within the scope of their duties, their financial losses may be recovered through workers’ compensation. An employee involved in a car accident may be covered if they are:
Unlike other types of insurance, workers’ compensation doesn’t consider fault when deciding when to payout on a claim. Even if the accident was the fault of the employee, workers’ compensation would still pay benefits as long as the person was eligible.
There is an exception to this rule. If the employee involved in the accident was under the influence of alcohol or narcotics at the time of the accident, their claim will likely be denied. Of course, every situation is unique, and any person who is in an accident while on the clock should follow the appropriate steps in filing a claim.
Filing a claim doesn’t mean that a person will be approved. Workers’ compensation claims are denied every day for different reasons. People who have been denied often give up their claim, assuming they have no recourse. A person always has the right to appeal a denial, and they may wish to secure the assistance of an experienced attorney.
If you need assistance with a workers’ compensation claim in San Luis Obispo, please reach out to our team. We will help you schedule a free case evaluation and talk to you about your legal options. If your claim has been denied, we can help you appeal the decision. Call us today. You don’t have to experience financial difficulty due to a work accident.
We’ve been reading about robots taking over the human race since we were kids. We’ve also seen it in movies. Robots working alongside humans either turns out well, or in utter ruin. But that’s fiction — what does reality look like?
The Facts about Robots in the Workplace
The truth is that robots, in some form or another, have been in American factories for decades. Last year alone, it was estimated that there were at least 250,000 such machines working on their own or assisting humans as they completed their daily tasks. Our perception of what a robot in the workplace looks like is not the reality. Robots aren’t walking, talking humanoids. Instead, they are machines with automated arms that perform the tasks required of them.
The History of Robots in the Workplace
When they were first introduced into the workplace, robots were often assigned areas of the floor separate from humans. The machines of yesterday and today pose hazards to humans and often aren’t able to detect a human in close proximity. Since 1984, when a human worker was killed on the job by a robot, safety measures have been in place. He was crushed between a steel pole and a hydraulic robot. Safety measures may include barriers, sensors and more. But what happens when robots that are designed to be mobile and interactive are brought into the factory? To answer this question, the Center for Occupational Robotics Research was formed in September 2017. Partnerships also exist among different agencies, including OSHA, to address the safety challenges that come alongside today’s robots.
Do Robots Pose a Risk in the Workplace?
One of the greatest concerns is the collaborative robot that is built to work alongside humans in a shared manner. Some experts say it is a mistake to believe that even with safety measures built into the machine, they are safe as soon as they hit the floor. The way that the robot is used will determine the hazards it presents and what measures need to be taken. It is suggested that risks assessments be taken before and after the robot is put in place. That way, employers can adjust their safety protocols to be based upon real-world application, not being forced to go off the manufacturer’s suggestion. Robots can certainly help to make a workplace safer by performing duties that have been traditionally hazardous for humans, but only when those robots don’t become the hazard themselves. For now, the safety implications of having machines working so closely with humans require continued study, and safety measures need persistent tweaking.
Contact Our San Luis Obispo OSHA Attorneys Today
If you have been injured on the job in San Luis Obispo, you not only have the right to workers’ compensation, but you may have the right to file a claim against your employer. Call our office today to set up a free case evaluation. We will discuss the details of your workplace accident and help you take the appropriate steps for your unique set of circumstances. You may be entitled to compensation for medical bills and more. You may also be entitled to disability payments, depending on the extent of your injuries and your ability to return to work.
For most of the country, Spring is tornado season. That said, a tornado doesn’t look at a calendar, and one can occur at any time if the weather is right. More than 1,000 tornadoes touch down across the country every year, causing an average of 70 annual fatalities. No state is immune; each has had a tornado on record. In fact, California has an average of 11 tornadoes touch down every year. When we are in school, we have tornado drills. We exit our classrooms, line up against interior walls and assume the position, covering our necks for protection. Once we graduate, we don’t have tornado drills. You won’t be crouching down in the hallway of your workplace any time soon, but believe it or not, your employer does have a policy in place if there are at least 11 employees. At least, they are supposed to. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Individual and Community Preparedness Division, employers should:
Have a Plan
Employees should know where they are supposed to shelter should a tornado touch down nearby or a tornado is imminent. Also, they should know where to head once the tornado has passed. Despite not having tornado drills routinely, it is recommended that they do take place. A tornado drill ensures that everyone understands the written policy and can react appropriately in the case of such an emergency.
Know the Danger Signs
Workplaces don’t typically have televisions tuned in to the weather. Also, they may not have a radio tuned in to a local station. Employers should know what to look out for when it comes to tornadoes. The signs include a dark and ominous sky, wall clouds, heavy rain or hail followed by a “dead calm” and a roaring sound. Any warning sent via cell phone services should be taken seriously.
Look for Shelter
Employers should ensure that their workers know where to go when a tornado is coming. Employees should be guided to an enclosed area on the lower floor that doesn’t have windows. The area should be as close to the center of the building as possible, and workers should assume the crouched position. If employees are working outdoors or are on the road rather than in the office and encounter a tornado, they should seek shelter in a nearby building. If there is not a building nearby, they should exit their vehicle and lay in an area lower than the elevation of the road.
When It Passes
Once the tornado has passed, your employer should check workers for injuries. Medical attention should be sought for anyone with even a minor injury. Employers should also look for any further weather warnings and proceed with caution. If emergency personnel respond, employers and employees should follow the directions given. If you have been injured at work in San Luis Obispo and need assistance, please reach out to our office. We can help you file a claim with OSHA or help you if your claim has been denied. Also, we can help you file a personal injury lawsuit if necessary. Call our office today to schedule a case evaluation.
The construction industry is one of the most dangerous there is. Working from heights, around large machinery and even underground all pose unique sets of hazards, not to mention walking under objects that have a very real chance of falling.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 3 million workers are hurt on the job each year. Of those who are injured, construction workers make up 9 percent. There are 4.3 nonfatal injuries for every 100 workers in the industry. Some accidents occur more frequently than others and can be more easily avoided if people know what to watch out for.
One of the most common types of accidents resulting in injury on the construction site is nothing more than a fall. It seems like something so simple, but falling is more than just tripping over your feet as you are walking. In the construction industry, a fall is typically anything but simple. A fall that occurs while walking across scaffolding, for example, can result in death. When a fall from heights isn’t fatal, it can result in extremely serious injury.
2. Falling Objects
Another leading cause of accidents on construction sites is strikes from falling objects. Tools that are being used high in the air can slip out of someone’s hand. Large pieces of construction materials can slip from cranes and crash to the ground below. Unfortunately, sometimes those things crash right on top of a worker, causing severe injuries that, sometimes, prove fatal.
3. Equipment-Related Accidents
Another common cause of construction-site accidents is equipment accidents. Sometimes equipment can fail, and sometimes it can tip over. Working around large machinery and heavy equipment is something that needs to be done very cautiously and with full attention.
4. Crushing Injuries
Being crushed in between two vehicles, between a vehicle and a piece of equipment or two pieces of machinery can cause terrible injury. A crushing injury can be difficult to recover from. Sometimes these accidents are caused by a lack of attention on the party of employees or supervisors.
Fires and explosions also commonly occur on construction sites. Flammable chemicals and gases can ignite when torches or other flame-emitting tools are used. Fires and explosions aren’t as common as the other types of accidents, but they do occur too often for comfort.
If you have been injured on a construction site in San Luis Obispo, reach out to our team of experienced personal injury attorneys. We will review the details of your case and advise you of your legal options. You have rights that you need to be aware of. Beyond worker’s compensation, you may have a personal injury case against your supervisor, employer or site owner for a failure to maintain a safe work environment.
Your job requires you to wear safety glasses. You know that much. That said, you aren’t quite sure how to choose the right pair. There are several options, and if your company isn’t providing their own preferred brand and type for you, it leaves you shopping for your own gear.
If you are shopping for safety goggles, there are three things to look for before you ever begin to worry about style:
1. ANSI Z87.1 Certification
It’s a lot of letters and numbers that mean this: The glasses will protect your eyes from impact, liquid splash exposure and non-ionizing radiation. It’s a workplace standard, so it should be easy to find if you are looking at safety goggles made specifically for the worksite.
2. Know Your Hazards
Safety eyewear is designed to protect the eyes against specific types of hazards, which means you need to know what you could potentially be exposed to. Know what you need to protect your eyes from and then look for glasses that offer that type of protection.
Lastly, you need to understand what types of activities you will be undertaking. For example, if you are going to be welding, you will need much different eyewear than a person working a crane. Determine the activities you will be asked to perform on the job and choose a pair of glasses that is designed for your needs.
Once you have gotten the basics down, you can look at your options. A pair of safety goggles won’t do you any good sitting on the passenger seat of your vehicle, and that is exactly where they will be if they aren’t comfortable. Look for these features in your glasses.
Coating: There are different types of coatings available for lenses, making them last longer. You may want anti-fog coating or anti-scratch coating, depending on what you do at work.
Tints: If you are going to be working indoors, clear glasses are probably your best option. If you are working in moderate light outdoors, perhaps you want a gray tint. If you will be looking at the sun all day, a darker tint will keep your eyes comfortable.
Reading: Many people don’t know that you can get safety goggles in prescription form. If you need readers (or cheaters) while you are working, consider getting prescription lenses. Of course, if you wear eyeglasses to see no matter what you are doing, having prescription safety goggles is a necessity if you don’t have contacts.
Fit and Fashion: Let’s face it. You aren’t going to wear your safety glasses if they aren’t fashionable and comfortable. Today’s safety eyewear comes in all shapes, sizes, colors and fit. Find a pair you like.
If you are hurt on the job in San Luis Obispo, you have legal options to be aware of. Reach out to our office today to discover more about your legal rights for compensation for your injuries. We will speak with you at no cost and help you decide your best next steps. Call today to arrange your consultation.
According to recent reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of 2016 Fatal Occupational Injuries, 2016 saw a 7% increase in workplace fatalities from 2015, with 5,190 workers killed on the job. This tragic uptick in deaths can partially be accounted for by the rise in drug-related fatalities, which have increased by 25% or more annually since 2012. The opioid crisis has become a workplace issue according to the Department of Labor, as opioid related workplace deaths continue to rise. There was a 32% increase in overdoses from non-medical drugs in 2016 alone. The main cause of workplace death in 2016 was transportation accidents, accounting for 25% of fatalities. The second highest cause was workplace violence injuries, which increased by 23% from 2015. With the breakdown meaning that every day nearly 14 workers were killed on the job, OSHA hopes to broaden their impact. Industries where OSHA and MSHA resources were present, fatality rates stabilized or declined. Unfortunately, with declining budgets and fewer resources, it is unclear how much of an impact they will be able to have. It is imperative that all employers have ample policies and training to ensure the safety of their workers in order for workplace fatality rate to decrease. Good leadership is essential to avoid safety hazards in a work environment. If you have an workplace injury or related issue in the San Luis Obispo area and need the assistance of OSHA, reach out to our attorneys today for a free case evaluation. We may be able to get you the help you deserve.
We represent only the injured parties against insurance companies or large corporations. We never do defense work. We never will. The defense wants to minimize the amount of money given to our clients, even when they are responsible.
The materials in this website have been provided only for general information purposes and are not legal advice. None of the information on this website is intended to constitute, nor does it constitute legal advice nor create any type of relationship between the Ernst Law Group and the recipient.