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Van Nuys Legal Blog

Injuries common among restaurant workers

As a California restaurant employee, you face unique workplace hazards that differ from those faced by others in America’s workforce. At the Law Offices of Hussain & Gutierrez, we have a firm understanding of just how debilitating restaurant workplace injuries often are, and we have assisted many hospitality workers who suffered on-the-job injuries seek appropriate recourse.

According to QSR magazine, injuries among restaurant workers are so prevalent nowadays that one in every 20 work-related injuries nationwide occurs in a restaurant setting. Furthermore, many of these injuries fall within the same four categories, and these include cuts and lacerations, burns, sprains and strains, and eye injuries. Cuts and lacerations, as you might expect, often affect restaurant workers because of their use of knives, slicers, glassware and so on.

Hearing loss is the nation’s most common workplace injury

If you make a living in California working in, say, the construction or mining industries, you probably have some degree of knowledge about dangerous noise levels and how to protect yourself from workplace hearing loss. Regrettably, however, many American workers are failing to protect their ears on the job, and the consequences can prove severe. At the Law Offices of Hussain & Gutierrez, we are seeing more and more clients who need assistance after suffering workplace hearing loss, and we have helped many people seek recourse after suffering this and other work-related injuries.

According to USA Today, hearing loss is America’s most common work-related injury, with about 22 million Americans getting subjected to potentially hazardous levels of noise every time they show up for work. Employers, too, are footing the bill for hearing problems that arise because of the work environment, with America’s employers paying about $242 million every year in workers’ compensation costs related to hearing issues.

Fatal work accidents on the rise in California

Like many in California, you may be grateful for your job. Yes, it is hard work, and many days you go home bone tired. But your paycheck helps to feed and provide for your family, and you certainly know many people who don't have that blessing in their lives.

You may also know people who have suffered from accidents, injuries and illnesses because of their jobs. In reality, you may also be aware of families that are grieving the loss of a loved one who died in a work-related accident. Accidents happen daily in the workplace, and your industry or working conditions may leave you particularly vulnerable to serious or deadly injuries.

Understanding “take-home” toxic exposure

The California Supreme Court rendered an opinion late last year that could prove to be a landmark decision in the realm of toxic exposure liability. As reported in the National Law Review, the Court held in the case of Haver v. BNSF Railway Co. that employers and premises owners have a duty to use reasonable care to prevent workers from being exposed to asbestos that they might reasonably be foreseen to carry home on their bodies, clothing or personal effects.

Such “take-home” exposure applies to asbestos that is used as part of an employer’s work materials or that is on a premises owner’s property. Liability extends only to on-site workers’ household members who live in close proximity to the workers and therefore are in sustained contact with them.

Dead trees posing a danger for California tree workers

The past few months have been difficult for the fields and forests all across California. To their dismay, residents have seen wooded areas die off in unprecedented levels because of drought, pest infestation and wildfires. Due to safety concerns, it is necessary to remove many trees after they die. Dead trees can create a public danger if they fall near parks, sidewalks, residences or power lines.

Loggers and tree workers use heavy equipment and dangerous power tools and work from great heights when they cut down trees. As such, the logging industry is one of the most dangerous jobs in the country. In 2015, 67 workers were killed in logging jobs.

Understanding California’s IIPP

California employers are required to have a written workplace safety program in place called an Injury and Illness Prevention Program. As the California Department of Industrial Relations explains, the only employers who are exempt from this IIPP requirement are those with fewer than 10 employees or, if they are not designated as a high-hazard industry, fewer than 20 employees.

The IIPP must do the following four things:

  1. Involve all employees, supervisors and management personnel fully in the program
  2. Provide effective training to all new employees, any employee who is given a new job assignment, and all employees whenever a new hazard is introduced into the workplace
  3. Identify all specific workplace hazards
  4. Correct all identified hazards in as timely a manner as possible

Traumatic brain injuries in the construction industry

California construction workers are at substantial risk for receiving a traumatic brain injury while at work. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the highest number of workplace TBIs, both fatal and nonfatal, occur in the construction industry. Between 2003-2010, over 2,200 construction workers died from TBIs, representing more than 25 percent of all construction fatalities.

The Mayo Clinic defines a traumatic brain injury as a head injury that causes brain dysfunction. While all head injuries are potentially serious, even when they appear to be minor, TBIs and their symptoms are classified as follows:

  • Mild TBI - may cause temporary loss of consciousness, headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, loss of balance, blurred vision
  • Moderate TBI - may cause convulsions, seizures, loss of coordination
  • Severe TBI - may cause profound confusion, slurred speech, coma, even death

Highlighting the construction industry's "Fatal Four"

The exponential growth seen in Van Nuys and throughout the rest of California in recent years is due in large part to the efforts of those working in the construction industry. While such professionals no doubt enjoy their work, they also likely understand that theirs is recognized as being one of America's most dangerous industries. The conditions in which they work coupled with the tools and equipment used when plying their trade can make their jobs extremely dangerous. Indeed, information shared by the Industrial Safety and Hygiene News shows that as many as one in ten construction workers are injured every year. 

Workplace accidents and injuries are reported to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which has used the information received from construction companies to compile a list of the most common construction site accidents. Its information shows the following types of injuries to account for over 64 percent of the industry's workplace fatalities: 

  • Falls
  • Being struck by falling objects or debris
  • Electrocutions
  • Being caught in/between accidents

Ways your workplace may be damaging your health

Employees in California know that a good environment is a key element of happiness in the workplace. Unfortunately, even the best of environments can suffer from the engagement in practices or behaviors that can cause harm to its workers.

According to WebMD, one huge issue in a wide variety of workplaces is the cause or aggravation of repetitive motion injuries. These injuries can happen in any job that requires a person to perform the same task multiple times, from secretaries to librarians to engineers. Jobs that require the use of repetitive motion can result in two common injuries: bursitis and tendonitis. Tendonitis occurs when the tendons become inflamed. It can affect the biceps, elbows, shoulders, and more. Bursitis is the inflammation of bursa sacks, which are designed to protect tendon and bone in areas of repeated friction. Both can cause the sufferer pain and decreased mobility.

Amputation from workplace accident puts life on hold

There are three kinds of people on the job site. One kind of worker thinks an accident will never happen to them and others know it's just a matter of time. No matter which kind of those two workers you were before, you are now in the third category: injured. A moment of inattention, a piece of faulty equipment or a safety procedure ignored has now cost you a limb.

While statistics show that foot and leg amputations are more common for people who suffer vascular disease or cancer, those who lose limbs in workplace accidents are more likely to lose fingers, hands or arms. There is no question that the amputation of either an upper or lower extremity is going to change your life.

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