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Employee rights after a natural disaster

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.

Those who are not trained properly may also not understand how to secure the site or take other safety precautions. If an employer doesn't have employees who are properly trained to clean up a disaster site, it may be possible to outsource the task to another company. To make it easier to account for worker safety, employers should have an emergency response plan ahead of time.

It may also be a good idea to have an inclement weather policy as well as a communication plan as part of a comprehensive policy. Furthermore, employers may benefit by taking time to look at guidance given by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Doing so may reduce the odds of an employee lawsuit, and it may also reduce the odds that OSHA or another government agency takes action against a business.

Those who suffer work-related injuries are generally entitled to workers' compensation benefits. This may be true even if the worker was at fault for causing the accident. Benefits may make it easier to pay medical bills or make up for a portion of wages lost while out of work. In some cases, workers may be entitled to benefits on a permanent basis if they are unable to return to work. An attorney may provide assistance during the claim process.

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