California workers who are exposed to diesel fumes on the job may not realize the threat it poses to their health. Complaints have been filed by workers in another state who do rail maintenance and often spend hours working in under-river tunnels. The diesel engines they work on exude overwhelming fumes that can cause occupational illness.
In anticipation of the approaching summer, the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration urged employers to prepare their outdoor workers for the expected high temperatures. The National Climatic Data Center reported California temperatures in 2014 that exceeded all others since 1895, and, based on measured temperatures over the past two months, this summer will be no different. All workers will be affected by high temperatures, and everyone needs to be aware of the dangers in order to avoid a work-related illness.
An employee of an artificial flavors plant in California was awarded $2.6 million in a claim against the manufacturers of hazardous chemicals that he was exposed to over a period of almost 10 years. Manufacturers are required to provide adequate warning about the dangers posed by its products. In turn, employers should protect the workers against contracting an occupational illness by providing protective equipment.
Factory workers in California and other states expect their employers to provide safe working environments where they will be free of injury or illness hazards. Unfortunately, company owners sometimes fail to show concern for their workers, and in some cases, workers spend years fighting for their rights. Such a case was recently investigated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration after workers have been complaining of being exposed to work-related illness for some years.
In some work environments, employees may be exposed to dangerous encounters. These encounters can lead to serious and permanent injuries to workers. In addition to injuries, workers can also suffer from work-related illnesses as a result of being exposed to high levels of smoke and toxins. A California firefighter has filed for workers' compensation after she allegedly sustained a work-related illness.
People in Santa Ana, as across California, may understand that workers’ compensation laws may be available for workers who have been injured in a job-related accident. But, occupational illnesses may also provide a basis for a California workers’ comp claim. More workers’ compensation claims may involve injuries—whether suffered in a single sudden accident or through repetitive stress over time. But, occupational diseases are not excluded from workers’ comp protections.
Last week we discussed the explosion at the Aerojet Rocketdyne plant in Northern California that injured two workers. Officials say that a second industrial accident at the Rancho Cordova, California, campus has occurred. This time, however, the accident occurred in space rented by a tenant on the property—the tenant is not related to the rocket company, according to the Sacramento Bee.
The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health says that a condition known as Valley Fever has been on the rise among California workers. The state Department of Health says that roughly 60 percent of Valley Fever cases are relatively mild and many people who become infected may never see symptoms. But, Valley Fever (which is technically called Coccidioidomycosis) can be serious for some workers who have been exposed.
The United States Department of Labor estimates that thousands of workers develop heat-related illnesses on the job each year. Obviously, workers in any line of work who work outdoors may be exposed to extreme temperatures during the California summer.
In the early spring we discussed the issue of heat-related illness in California workplaces. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health has been raising awareness of the risks of heat illness for outdoor workers. Now, it goes without saying that many California workers continue to perform duties during blazing temperatures in the State.