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November 2015 Archives

Proper Training Is Critical To Improving Safety At California Construction Sites

According to the most recent statistics, each year in the United States roughly 5,000 construction workers are killed on the job making construction work one of the deadliest professions in the country.  While California has seen some efforts in the industry to improve safety, eliminating work place hazards takes constant vigilance due to the nature of construction work and special effort must be made to make sure that companies follow safety protocols and industry regulations and guidelines.

California Workplaces Are Becoming Safer

A recent report reveals that California work places are becoming somewhat safer. The number of workplace deaths decreased over the last year - a positive development going against the national trends. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of on the job deaths in California in 2014 was 334, a 16% drop from 2013. While the number of fatal workplace accidents still remains too high, this improvement should be applauded. In fact, California was one of only 22 states where the number of worker deaths decreased. Further, only 4 other states had a greater percentage decrease - New Jersey, South Carolina, North Dakota and West Virginia. 

Steps to Take After Your Workplace Injury

Many people are only vaguely aware that the workers compensation system in California even exists. Often, they only become aware of it after they suffer an injury. It is a little known fact among workers, even union workers, that you can pre-designate who you want to treat you before you are injured. Doing so can be your best protection in the event that you are hurt. You need to get the agreement of the doctor that he or she will serve as your primary treating doctor if you get hurt at work. If you do not do this in advance and advise your employer in writing that you are predesignating a doctor in the event of a workplace injury, you will often be required to be treated by a doctor off a list selected by your employer-a company doctor.

Poor Access to Medical Treatment Puts the California Workers' Compensation System Out in Front in the "Race to the Bottom"

The current state of affairs for medical treatment for injured workers is without a doubt rigged in favor of insurers who game the system to deprive workers of needed medical treatment and to push the costs of reasonable medical treatment off onto private health insurers, Medicare and MediCal. First, 80% of all workers injured at work are required to treat with doctors listed in the workers' compensation carrier's Medical Provider Network ("MPN"); the MPN is created and maintained by the workers compensation insurers. If a physician who is on the MPN recommends care which the insurer feels costs the insurer too much money, those physicians are weeded out by the insurer through economic profiling and taken off the MPN list. This means that doctors are reluctant to provide care which would otherwise would be reasonably medically necessary. We have had client's say that their doctor has said "I would prescribe 'X' treatment, but the carrier will bump me off the MPN."

Employers Cited By Cal/OSHA for exposing workers to Cave-Ins

Two employers have been cited by Cal/OSHA as a result of their misconduct in continuing work - and exposing workers to cave-in hazards - after stop work orders were issued.  The fines were in excess of $300,000.  According to construction news, the two Northern California construction businesses had been instructed to cease working until the imminent hazards at the jobsite were abated.   Cal/OSHA commented, "collapses and cave-ins cause serious workplace injuries and fatalities. These citations remind employers to abide by Cal/OSHA stop work orders that are issued to protect workers from unsafe conditions."

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