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.
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.
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.
When a worker or an employer is considering whether or not they have to report an injury to OSHA, things can get confusing. It can be even more overwhelming when the illness or injury is not physical but mental. For the purposes of OSHA reporting, mental illnesses are not considered to be work-related unless that condition is post-traumatic stress disorder.
For employers and employees alike, this means that something like stress would not be considered reportable. If, on the other hand, an employee suffers post-traumatic stress disorder as the result of an event that occurred at work, that condition should be reported to OSHA as a work-related injury.
About PTSD On the Job
Post-traumatic stress disorder is considered a mental illness. When a person experiences something that is overwhelming, stressful or frightening, they may develop the condition. It is more prevalent when the event that occurred was sudden and unexpected. The person who suffers with PTSD may have felt powerless to stop the situation or struggle with feelings of wishing they could have done more.
In the workplace, an employee may ultimately suffer PTSD if they witness a co-worker become seriously injured, such as in a crushing incident. They may witness a death while on the job that causes them extreme emotional distress. When these things occur, PTSD is considered a work-related injury that is compensable.
Some of the occupations that have the greatest incidence of PTSD are corrections officers, police, firefighters and other emergency personnel. People in the military and those in the medical field are also particularly vulnerable.
Some people who experience PTSD may have symptoms rather quickly. Other people may not notice symptoms for years following the traumatic event. Signs of PTSD include nightmares, feelings of fear that don’t go away, severe anxiety and flashbacks. Other symptoms include difficulty concentrating, a feeling of foreboding, and persistently feeling angry.
Support Is Necessary
People who are suffering with PTSD require support. The condition must be taken seriously and employers should understand how they can offer that support. If an employer isn’t sure about how they can support a person with PTSD, they can simply offer access to services that can provide that necessary support.
Workers dealing with PTSD following a serious incident on the job should not be embarrassed or feel as though they will just “get over it.” PTSD is a condition that requires medical intervention and extensive support. If you are a worker and believe that you are dealing with PTSD, speak with your employer.
If you believe that you are suffering with PTSD in San Luis Obispo and have questions regarding reporting your condition to OSHA or receiving support from your employer, reach out to our team. We will review your case at no cost to you and advise you of your legal options. Call our office today; our team is here for you and will offer you any type of assistance we can.
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.