- Make a report of your injury as soon as you can to your supervisor or other authority figure. Reporting the incident to a co-worker is not satisfactory according to California law.
- Ask for a claim form (DWC-1) as soon as you are able. Make a copy for yourself and keep it in a safe place.
- If your employer, for whatever reason, denies your request for a claim form, write a letter to the employer and send it by certified mail return receipt or deliver the letter to the employer yourself and write down the date, time, and the name of the individual to whom you handed the letter. The letter should contain information about your injuries and the date on which they occurred.
- If there are any witnesses, get their contact information. However, some may refuse to cooperate out of fear of retaliation.
- It is highly advised that you seek medical treatment immediately after the injury has occurred. If your employer declines to provide for your treatment, go to the closest emergency room. You can also go to any provider of medical services such as a walk-in clinic. Be sure to inform your doctor of the nature of your injuries. Also let him or her know the full extent of your symptoms. If you fail to give the doctor the full scope of your condition, it may affect your injury claim down the line.
- Under California law, employees cannot receive compensation or medical treatment for their workers’ compensation claim if it was reported after termination of employment or notice of termination of employment subject to certain limited exceptions. It is important to file a claim before your employer has the chance to terminate your position.
- You should consult with an experienced California workers’ compensation attorney who can protect your rights and inform you of your legal options.
Occupational Hazards and Safety
Occupational hazards include any condition in the workplace that creates or increases the risk of injury or illness. Some workplaces, like offices, have relatively few occupational hazards, while other workplaces such as manufacturing plants or construction sites, have many more. However, no workplace is completely free of conditions or situations that may cause injuries.
Employee Rights and Employer Responsibilities
Employers have a legal responsibility to minimize their employees’ exposure to occupational hazards by following state and federal safety regulations. The California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA) and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are responsible for enforcing safety regulations.
Worker Rights Under OSHA
Under the state and federal Occupational Safety and Health Acts, workers have the following rights:
- Receive information and training about how to handle the types of hazards present in their workplace and how to minimize the risks of injury. This includes training on how to use any safety equipment. The training must be given in a language employees can understand.
- Review records of past workplace injuries and hazards.
- Review their own medical records after an on the job injury or illness.
- Ask Cal/OSHA or federal OSHA investigators to examine their workplace for violations of safety regulations, without fear of firing or other retaliation from their employer.
- Anonymity when making complaints to Cal/OSHA, OSHA, or any investigator from these agencies.
- Review any results from workplace testing for hazards.
In California, workers have a right to refuse to work in conditions that violate safety regulations, without fear of firing or other penalties. Workers also have the right to report hazards anonymously to Cal/OSHA or to point out workplace hazards to Cal/OSHA inspectors.
Employer Rights Under OSHA
Employers covered by federal or state OSHA regulations must do the following:
- Provide safety information and warnings to workers by using training, labels, alarms, color-coding, information sheets, and other methods.
- Keep accurate records of workplace accidents, injuries, and illnesses.
- Perform all safety-related testing OSHA requires for that workplace.
- Provide employee health screenings related to the work done in the workplace whenever OSHA requires them.
- Post injury and illness information and OSHA posters and information in places where employees can see and review them.
- Notify OSHA within 8 hours of any accident or event that causes a death or sends three or more workers to the hospital.
- Not discriminate against any employee who exercises his or her rights under OSHA regulations or law.
Who Is Covered?
Nearly all workplaces are covered either by the federal OSHA regulations, by state OSHA regulations, or both. In California, most workplaces are covered by Cal/OSHA regulations, which are equal to or more protective than federal regulations. Employees of any business covered by OSHA or Cal/OSHA regulations are also covered by these regulations.
Cal/OSHA regulations do not apply to self-employed individuals, immediate family members running their own family farm without outside employees, or workplaces that are covered by another government agency’s safety regulations, such as mines covered by the Mine Safety and Health Administration or airlines covered by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Standing Up for Injured Workers Throughout Southern California
When a workplace hazard or occupational safety violation causes harm, getting the compensation you’re entitled to can be overwhelming, especially when you’re also trying to recover from your injury. That’s why dedicated Ventura workplace injury attorney Kenton Koszdin is dedicated to fighting on behalf of those injured on the job, so that you can focus on getting well. Call Kenton Koszdin Law Office today at (800) 438-7734 for a free and confidential consultation.
Common Causes of Workplace-Related Disorders
Not all work-related injuries occur as a result of an accident, such as a slip and fall, electrocution, or even a car crash. In some cases, the work environment or the job itself can cause physical or psychological wear and tear that may develop into a disorder that not only interferes with an employee’s ability to work, but also his/her quality of life. If you or a loved one has developed a musculoskeletal or mental disorder due to hazardous work conditions, the experienced legal team at the Kenton Koszdin Law Office can help you explore your options for getting the financial support you deserve when you need it most.
For a free and comprehensive consultation, please call us at (818) 901-9999. If you are unable to come to our office, we are more than happy to travel to you at no extra charge. Let us provide the guidance you need to make an informed decision about your future.
Workplace Conditions that Cause Physical or Mental Disorders
Regardless of whether you work in an office or spend 40 hours a week on a construction site, the conditions of your work environment and the nature of your job duties may contribute to significant physical, emotional, and psychological strain over time. Common conditions that can lead to musculoskeletal or psychological disorders include:
- High-Stress Environments – Short deadlines, a heavy workload, conflicts with coworkers, witnessing or experiencing traumatic events can lead to emotional and psychological strain that may develop into a disorder. Depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, or suicidal thoughts are not uncommon among police, emergency responders, miners, medical professionals, and corporate executives.
- Repetitive Motions or Strain – Performing continual, repetitive motions, such as lifting and carrying heavy objects, working with vibrating tools, or prolonged periods of typing and desk work can cause physical harm, including back injuries, hernia, arthritis, or carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Toxic Exposure – Working with harmful chemicals or substances, such as cleaning agents, paint, asbestos, solvents, pesticides, or acids can cause workers to develop serious, life-threatening disorders such as cancer, mesothelioma, neurological, or internal organ damage.
Do You Qualify for Workers’ Compensation for Your Disorder?
First and foremost, it is important to understand that your employer is responsible for taking the necessary precautions required by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration to prevent workplace injuries or accidents. Additionally, if you have suffered harm as a result of the conditions of your workplace, whether in an accident or over a period of time, you have a legal right to workers’ compensation.
In order to protect your right to compensation, it will be necessary to trace the disorder back to your workplace conditions. No matter what type of harm you are suffering, you do not have to build your own case alone. A reliable Los Angeles workers’ compensation attorney can help you evaluate your situation and provide the necessary information and representation you need to gain financial support.