Cal/OSHA Launches 2014 Heat Illness Prevention Campaign

CalOSHA Heat Safety Awareness logo

 Cal/OSHA launched the 2014 Heat Illness Prevention Program to educate employers and workers on the risks of prolonged heat exposure at outdoor worksites. The annual kickoff was held at a bilingual training sponsored by Cal/OSHA, the Nisei Farmers League and other agricultural employers. The goal of the program is to reduce the incidence of heat illness statewide and ensure compliance with California’s heat illness standard.

“Our partnerships with business and labor help us educate workers and employers alike on how to prevent heat illness injuries at outdoor worksites,” said Christine Baker, Director of the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR). “Regular training is a key component of workplace safety.” Cal/OSHA, also known as the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) is a division of DIR.

Employing a multi-faceted approach, Cal/OSHA uses enforcement, outreach and training modules to educate workers and employers of the health hazards that high temperatures present.

“Employers at outdoor worksites must know the steps to take to prevent heat illness injuries on the job,” said Acting Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum. “Cal/OSHA continues to focus on training and outreach, combined with enforcement targeted on those employers who put their workers’ safety at risk.”

Targeted inspections of outdoor worksites in industries such as agriculture, construction, and landscaping will be conducted throughout the heat season.

Employers at outdoor worksites are required to ensure that basic precautions are followed:

  •  Train all employees and supervisors about heat illness prevention.
  •  Provide plenty of cool, fresh water and encourage employees to hydrate frequently.
  •  Provide a shaded area for workers to take a cool down and recovery break.
  •  Ensure that workers “acclimatize” by gradually adjusting their bodies to high heat. This is especially important for new workers and during heat waves as temperatures may surge suddenly.

The Shocking Truth About Electrical Safety

Danger Electric Shock Risk signDo Not Get Burned By Poor Electrical Safety

March 17, 2014 by Rebecca Shafer, J.D.

Electrical hazards can cause burns, shocks and electrocution that may result in death. Having a comprehensive electrical safety program is the key way to prevent electrical workplace injuries and fatalities. Electrical injuries are some of the most severe and preventable workplace injuries. Keeping facilities and electrical equipment in good repair should be of paramount concern to every cost aware employer. Saving money by not fixing faulty electrical building systems or equipment can result in huge workers’ compensation and fire-related building costs when a preventable accident occurs.

Here are some easy tips to prevent electrical accidents:

• Always use caution when working near electricity.

• Never operate electrical equipment while standing in water.


• Do not run extension cords across doorways or under carpets.

• Have additional circuits or outlets added by a qualified electrician. Avoid using extension cords.

• Avoid overloading outlets. Plug only one high-wattage appliance into each receptacle outlet at a time.

• Replace or repair damaged or loose electrical cords.

• If outlets or switches feel warm, or there are frequent problems with blowing fuses, tripping circuits or flickering or dimming lights, call a qualified electrician.

• Have ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) in kitchens, bathrooms, laundry, basement and outdoor areas.


5 Workers Compensation Myths

By J. Bradley Young

TravAttorney J. Bradley Youngelers Insurance recently passed Liberty Mutual to be the largest workers compensation insurance carrier in the United States.  Coming from the length and breadth of knowledge and experience that comesfrom yearsof handling comp claims, Travelers published their list of 5 common workers comp myths from a small employer’s perspective:

1.   “I only have a few employees so I don’t need comp insurance.”
2.   “My employees won’t sue me.”
3.   “Comp insurance is too expensive so I’ll just pay out of my pocket if an injury occurs.”
4.  “I provide a safe workplace so my employee’s won’t get injured.”
5.  “Medical costs in the workers comp system are just too high.”

While these myths do exist and are quite prevalent, I often see an additional five myths from my perspective as a workers comp defense attorney:

1. Every Injured worker needs an attorney.

While it is true that many injured workers do need to hire an attorney, there is certainly no need for most to obtain counsel. Most states have systems in place to resolve the claim directly with the injured worker without the time and expense associated with the claimant hiring an attorney and filing a formal claim.

The complaint against injured workers representing themselves is what gave rise to that old joke:  “A person who acts as his own attorney has a fool for a client.”  I agree that most claimant’s don’t know as much comp law as does the average claimant’s attorney.  That shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone.  But that doesn’t mean that every injured worker needs an attorney.

Most comp claims are compensable (if you don’t agree…sent Myth 5 herein).  As such, the only issue in most claims is the nature and extent of impairment of disability.  Does this mean that final settlement amount for an unrepresented claimant is always the same as in cases where the claimant has retained counsel?  Obviouslynot, but that doesn’t mean that the claimant gets less money.

Remember that in most jurisdictions, claimant’s attorneys take between 20% – 33% of the final settlement as a fee.  Add in a few thousand dollars for an IME report and discovery costs and you can see how the fees and expenses go up faster than the winnings on Wheel of Fortune.

If the claimant resolves the permanent partial disability portion of the claim on his own, he can afford to accept a lot less money for the final settlement amount and still take home nearly the same amount when compared to what he would actually receive if he had retained counsel and paid the fees and expenses out of his final settlement.

Additionally, there is also the time value of money consideration.  Claims where the injured worker is represented often take years to resolve, not weeks or months.  Which is better to receive – – $10,000 today or $12,000 three years from now?  Most people would chose the former over the latter and by resolving claims directly with the insurance carrier without hiring an attorney, injured workers are virtually guaranteed to get their money faster than if they retain counsel.


Little Used Federal Laws Give Employer Disability Management Control

highway sign reading, Training Next ExitMarch 4, 2014 by Attorney Theodore Ronca

Employers interact with employee disability through a number of laws. Until now, there has been little attention focused on how to coordinate statutory compliance to achieve better overall results. Workers compensation, in particular, has operated with little or no coordination with other laws.

Recent efforts, however, have demonstrated that dramatic lowering of new filed comp claims and lowered x-mods can be achieved with inexpensive measures that are only slight extensions of measures already being taken by employers in high comp rates industries such as transportation, construction and many types of manufacturing.

The new efforts require training of key people to slightly modify practices already in place. Virtually nothing has been written about the possibilities. The entire field of simultaneous disability interactions through two or more laws contains surprising results, no longer theoretical since a small group of employers are presently using the methods with entirely favorable results.

Methods for Improving Disability Management

There are several key methods that improve disability management.

1. Improved reporting of first reports of injury.

The number of employer first reports of injury that are filed with gaps in vital information is too large to be due to occasional oversight. The unanswered questions on first report of injury forms (FROIs) is one of the primary reasons for unnecessary delay, and late investigations of questions that should have been answered within a day or so following an injury.

This problem can be solved with a short period of training and a follow up period of working with the employer on actual new FROIs. [MORE]

Read rest of the story: Little Used Federal Laws Give Employer Disability Management Control
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