April 28, 2018 marks the 47th annual Workers Memorial Day, an international day of remembrance for workers who were injured or lost their lives on the job. It is also the day OSHA was established in 1971. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for maintaining safe and healthful workplaces. It is the role of OSHA to ensure safe conditions by providing training, education and assistance as well as enforcing standards.
In California, agricultural and construction far outpace all other industries in the rate of injuries and fatalities. In a report released on Workers Memorial Day by Worksafe last year, there were 388 workers killed on the job, which is greater than one fatality each day. The report reflects the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics and the California Department of Industrial Relations, which highlights workplace conditions of significant concern.
The report revealed that the occupational fatality rate increased by 10 percent from the previous year, rising from 2.0 deaths to 2.2 deaths per 100,000 full-time workers. Despite the rise, California is still well below the national average of 3.4 deaths per 100,000 full-time workers. Nationwide, 13 people are killed on the job each day and worker fatalities are higher than they have been in nearly a decade.
“Although California has been a leader on health and safety nationally, the sad reality is that our workers continue to die from the same workplace hazards that have been killing them for years,” said Doug Parker, Worksafe Executive Director.
Preventing California Workplace Injuries Through Awareness
Every worker and business owner in California should be greatly concerned about workplace accidents, injuries and fatalities. Accident prevention, as well as reporting, is critical to record keeping and availability. Awareness of safety risks in the workplace can lead to increased focus and vigilance to ensure maximum safety.
There are three basic controls that should be implemented in any workplace as accident prevention measures.
· Safety Training – The establishment of an effective safety-training program is paramount to reducing workplace injuries and limiting unnecessary workers compensation claims. This program must encompass training for new employees and follow-up or refresher programs for existing workers. The state department of labor can assist in setting up worker safety training.
· Incentive Programs – Employers have successfully reduced workplace accidents though safety incentive programs. These incentives may include anything as simple as an award plaque to any group that reaches an accident free milestone to financial bonuses for the reduction of workplace injuries.
· Accident Investigation – Workplace accidents do occur and it is important for an employer to respond effectively. Employees should be confident that any reported accident will be thoroughly investigated and preventative measures are taken for the future. The resolution must also display compassion and understanding.
If an employer fails to comply with OSHA regulations, an employee is encouraged to report it. However, due to a lack of funding, OSHA only has approximately 60 inspectors per state, making it practically impossible to inspect every worksite where violations have been reported. This issue urgently needs to be addressed, to prevent the daily tragedy of a family learning a loved one will not be returning from work.
If You Suffer a California Workplace Injury
If you, or a loved one, are injured on the job, or you lose a loved one at work, it is crucial that you retain the services of an experienced California workplace injury lawyer. Workers compensation claims are extremely complex and can take many months of diligence to reach a settlement. Workers compensation may not be your only option. There may be a third party, defective equipment, or some extenuating circumstance, partially or wholly contributing to your accident.
An experienced workers compensation attorney from Vititoe Law Group can help you recover everything to which you are legally entitled. We are experienced in handling:
· Lost Wages
· Medical Benefits
· Permanent Disability
· Workplace Related Illnesses
For a free, confidential consultation with a qualified workplace injury attorney, call 818 – 851-1886 or contact us online.