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Modesto Workers' Compensation Blog

Utility worker killed, 15 injured in gas line explosion

A Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) employee was killed and 15 other people were injured in Murrieta amid a gas explosion at a home where work was being done. Three firefighters with Murrieta Fire and Rescue were among those injured. It appears that a damaged gas line caused the explosion and fire.

Although the investigation is ongoing, an official with SoCalGas said they have no record that the contractor or anyone working on the home called their 811 line as state law requires so that buried gas lines could be marked before workers do any digging. He said, "No matter what you're doing, if you're digging, please call 811. Not calling 811 makes it dangerous for everyone."

Family of paralyzed worker settles Caltrans suit for $37 million

Men and women who work along our roads and freeways have some of the most dangerous jobs in the state. In addition to working with potentially dangerous equipment, they're often at the mercy of California drivers who are negligent or reckless. In one case that was just settled, however, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) was determined to be at fault for a tragic accident rather than the driver.

The case involved a 20-year-old man who was working on a Caltrans wiring project in Eureka in 2011. The young man was in a trench on the shoulder of Highway 101 around 1:00 a.m., when a driver struck him. He was left with what's known as "locked in" syndrome." He's completely paralyzed and unable to communicate, but he still retains consciousness and awareness of his surroundings.

How restaurant workers get burned on the job

Working in a restaurant may be your lifelong passion or something you do until you find another way to support yourself. Either way, you are not alone. In fact, there are more than 15 million restaurant workers in the United States. Unfortunately, though, going to work in an eating establishment may be harmful to your health. 

If you sustain a burn at work, your life may never be the same again. Depending on the severity of the burn, you may have to endure surgery, rehabilitation and therapy. You may also find it difficult to enjoy life or pursue your dreams. While you may be able to pursue compensation for your injuries, you likely want to avoid them altogether. To help minimize your chances of getting burned on the job, you should understand how burns occur in restaurants: 

The restaurant industry is especially dangerous for young workers

Many high school and college students with part-time jobs work in the restaurant industry. This can involve anything from manning the drive-thru at a fast-food restaurant to working as a server or bus person at a high-end eatery. While some students have jobs year-round, the number of teens in the workplace increases during the summer -- and so does the number of injuries.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that each summer, employees younger than 18 suffer approximately 160,000 injuries and illnesses related to their job. The majority occur in restaurants. Sharp objects, hot food and beverages and potentially dangerous equipment abound -- particularly in the areas where food is prepared.

Changes could be on the horizon for state's workers comp laws

Workers' compensation is a multi-billion-dollar industry here in California. Some $20 billion is paid to workers every year by insurers and/or employers.

Workers' compensation regulations are determined by the state's elected officials. Because multiple groups have an interest in the system, they spend a good deal of time and effort lobbying these officials. The key stakeholders, in addition to employers and insurers, are labor unions, health care providers and attorneys.

Is surgery required to repair a hip fracture?

A hip fracture is a serious injury that causes pain and discomfort, while making it nearly impossible to walk. If you have reason to believe you've suffered this type of injury, such as in a workplace accident, it's critical to receive immediate medical attention.

While it's not always required, surgery is typically necessary to repair a hip fracture. The type of surgery depends on many factors, such as the severity of the fracture, location, your age and other health conditions.

Delivery driver safety risks: What to watch for

As a delivery driver, you find yourself behind the wheel for a large portion of your day. Even with many years of experience, it only takes one mistake to cause an accident.

Here are three of the most common delivery driver safety risks:

  • Re-entering traffic: After you stop to make a delivery, you'll find yourself attempting to re-enter traffic. Take special caution when doing so, as other drivers may not be paying attention to your vehicle.
  • Parking and exiting your vehicle: For example, if you park on the side of a busy road, be careful when exiting, as a passing car could strike you. It's best to pull as far off the road as possible.
  • Maneuvering in tight spots: Delivery drivers often find themselves driving in tight spots, such as back alleys and narrow city streets. Never take a risk, such as attempting to drive down a road that's too tight for your vehicle. It's always better to be safe than sorry when maneuvering in tight spots.

What’s the best way to treat an Achilles tendon injury?

If you suspect an Achilles tendon injury, it's imperative to receive immediate medical attention. Attempting to treat the injury yourself can result in additional damage and long-term trouble.

After consulting with an experienced medical professional, you'll better understand the extent of your injury and how to treat it in the appropriate manner. Some options include:

  • Rest: Putting weight on your leg can worsen the injury. Your doctor may suggest the use of crutches to give your injury time to heal.
  • Ice: Icing your injury for 15 to 20 minutes at a time will help reduce pain and swelling.
  • Take anti-inflammatory painkillers: Not everyone requires this, but drugs such as ibuprofen can help you deal with the pain and reduce swelling.
  • Partake in physical therapy: Don't do this until suggested by your doctor, as starting too soon can aggravate your injury. When you're ready, physical therapy will help strengthen your Achilles tendon and prevent future injury.

Workers' comp rates have fallen in California

Anyone who has suffered an injury at work needs to file a workers' compensation claim immediately. Doing so can help pay for future medical expenses and keep the person afloat when he or she may be unable to work. However, many employees are naturally hesitant about informing the boss about an injury

The reason for this is that it is in an employer's best interest to have as few workers' comp claims as possible. After hearing about an injury, the employer must notify his or her insurance carrier. Too many claims will likely lead to an increase in the premium. Employees sustaining injuries have a direct impact on the company's bottom line. Unfortunately, California has some of the highest premium rates in the country, according to a study from the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services

Follow these scaffolding safety tips to protect against injury

Even with many years of experience working on scaffolding, you know that one mistake can cause a serious accident. For example, if someone neglects to set up the scaffolding in the appropriate manner, it increases the risk of a collapse.

Here are five scaffolding safety tips to help protect you and your co-workers:

  • Inspect it for damage: Before using scaffolding, inspect it for signs of damage or defects. For example, if there's a missing bolt or rusted rail, don't use the scaffolding until it's repaired.
  • Place scaffolding on firm and level ground: For example, it's a mistake to use boxes or bricks to level the scaffolding, as these can shift and cause an accident.
  • Use guardrails at all times: Even if it's a pain, the use of guardrails reduces the risk of an accident.
  • Don't exceed the weight limit: Scaffolding can only hold so much weight. Take into consideration both the workers and equipment.
  • Stay away from power lines: As a general rule of thumb, never place scaffolding within 10 feet of overhead power lines. Getting too close increases the risk of electrocution.

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