Many industries can rejoice at the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showing that on-the-job fatalities have dropped to their lowest rate since 2003. Unfortunately, those California workers in the construction and transportation sector do not have much to cheer about. Workers' compensation insurers may be paying less for injuries overall, but these two industries make up almost half of the fatal accidents in recent years.
Occupational injuries occur in all settings, and while each industry has its unique safety hazards, some risks are inherent to all workplace environments. The number of workers' compensation claims that are filed for injuries resulting from slips, trips and falls is an obvious indication that more attention must be paid to the mitigation of these hazards. The consequences of such accidents could be life altering, and California safety authorities say that both slips and trips can be prevented with minimum effort.
If a California employee were to be asked why he or she works so hard, a common answer may be that he or she does all he or she can to provide for his or her family. As the cost of living continues to rise, and the availability of full-time employment remains uncertain, people may consider themselves fortunate to find a job that can pay the bills. When a worker is seriously injured, or worse, killed on the job, grieving families must face the loss of a loved one and an uncertain financial future. In such cases, a workers' compensation claim may benefit survivors.
Many California workers may not be aware that several new laws have been signed to protect them. If employees are unaware of their rights, they may not know that they are now eligible for workers' compensation under expanded circumstances. Previously, police officers and firefighters that were injured while off duty but still performing duties related to their day job could not make a claim for workers' compensation.