California residents who have jobs that require them to be outside for the majority or all of the time should know what to do to prevent illnesses or injuries when the weather turns cold during the winter. Limiting exposure to the cold by taking a 15-minute break in a warm area for every hour of work is one rule workers should follow. Being properly dressed is another.
The gig economy is growing in California and across the U.S. with more and more people engaging in short-term projects for firms, employment agencies, and digital platforms. App-based work is especially on the rise. In fact, the Pew Research Center published a study in 2016 showing that 8 percent of American adults earned income from online gig work in 2015 with 29 percent saying the money was essential to their day-to-day living.
Employers in California and throughout the country should aim to make their safety programs as easy to understand. Although legal departments may want to cover as many issues as possible, having too many rules may make it difficult to make decisions. Instead of creating rules, it may be easier to establish principles that guide decision-making processes related to employee safety.
California residents who work at places like loading docks or giant fulfillment warehouses may be aware that there are blind spots in their work areas. They may also know that navigating the heavy equipment used to move around products can result in collisions when the equipment is used in the areas with insufficient visibility.
Safety training is important in any industry that involves physical labor, especially when the workforce spans three or sometimes four generations. The presence of older workers reflects the fact that more and more people are deferring retirement past the traditional 60-to-65 age range.
Employers in California and around the country are more likely to be cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for fall protection violations than any other workplace safety issue according to a report from the National Safety Council. The nonprofit advocacy group brings attention to safety matters in the United States and focuses much of its efforts on workplace accident prevention. The completed report is scheduled to be released in December, but experts do not expect the final draft to differ substantially from the preliminary version that was issued in September.
A summary of a single fatal workplace accident provides insights into how a lax attitude toward safety could endanger California workers. The incident involved a 33-year-old male warehouse employee riding a pallet lifted by a forklift to access inventory on high steel shelves. According to the report prepared by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, employees at the warehouse routinely put one or both feet on a raised pallet to store or retrieve inventory. When the victim slipped and fell off the pallet, his injuries resulted in his death a few days later.
After a natural disaster, California employers have an obligation to keep their employees safe. If employees are asked to prepare for or clean up after a disaster, employers must keep them safe from anticipated hazards. Ideally, only those who are trained to handle disaster cleanup should be allowed to participate in such an activity. This is because those who aren't properly trained may not understand how to assess the dangers that they may face.
The Chemical Safety Board and the National Fire Protection Association recommend that California employees and employers alike look for alternatives and ask whether the job is necessary before beginning any work that produces heat, sparks or flames. Collectively, this category of work is referred to as hot work. It includes jobs like brazing, soldering, cutting and grinding, welding and pipe thawing. Even drilling is categorized as hot work because it can generate heat from friction.
People in California who are employed in the construction industry face many risks while they are on the job. The construction industry has one of the highest rates of work-related accidents and injuries, making it important for workers to be aware of the dangers and for employers to implement preventative safety measures.