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Window Washer Survives 11-story Fall from Building in San Francisco’s Financial District

By Kelly Balamuth on November 21, 2014

A man who was washing windows suffered critical injuries after falling 11 stories from the top of the Sterling Bank and Trust building in San Francisco on November 21, 2014, according to NBC News.

Police Lt. Ed Del Carlo said that they worker was preparing to work when he fell off the apparatus and landed on a car. The roof of the car was smashed in and the rear windshield shattered, but the driver of the car was not hurt. Read the rest »

Posted in: Work Injury

Carpenter Safety Matters

By Kelly Balamuth on February 13, 2013

Carpenters take pride in their craftsmanship. They are proud of the history of the carpenters’ union which established health care benefits for members. At Balamuth Law, our lawyers respect the hard-working man. We know the importance of caring for carpenters’ families in uncertain times.

As reported in The Northern California Carpenter, the official newspaper of the carpenters’ regional council of Northern California, Chester Bartalini, chief executive officer of the Bay Counties District Council of Carpenters from 1959 through 1961, led the carpenters’ strike that set up the very first pension plan and vacation programs for carpenters. He started the apprenticeship program still ongoing to this day and won health care for his brothers.

External Pressure

Carpenters should never have to put up with on-the-job carelessness or with safety hazards. They should never have to give in to outside pressure for faster work at the expense of safety. When carpenters are asked to work in an unsafe manner, they have the responsibility to speak up. Talk to the job foreman or take the issue up the chain of command. If your crew members determine that you are being asked to work unsafely, speaking up as a group may change the mind of the boss who made the request.

Carelessness

Unfortunately, there are times when carpenters fail to look out for one another. Carelessness on the job can include the following:

  • Failing to clean up your place as you work or being careless in the clean up
  • Forming bad habits that involve the unsafe taking of shortcuts
  • Being in too much of a hurry to finish a job or to take thetime to do the job well
  • Carelessness related to boredom or to fatigue

Carelessness on the construction site may result in lost wages, personal injuries, time spent in physical therapy, etc. If you have been hurt on the job due to another’s carelessness, call the Bay Area personal injury attorneys at Balamuth Law. Call (888) 254-1234 to learn how we can help you today.

Demanding Work Schedules—A Question of Safety

By Kelly Balamuth on January 16, 2013

There is no doubt the U.S. has one of the hardest working work forces in the world. Construction workers take pride in what they are able to accomplish in one shift on the job site. But shift work and extended work hours have long been associated with safety risks and injuries suffered on the job.

The Northern California Bay Area personal injury lawyers at Balamuth Law understand the importance of safety on the construction site in order to avoid serious construction accident injuries. According to the National Labor Office, U.S workers work more hours than do workers in Japan and in the majority of Western European countries. Millions of Americans currently work on rotating shifts, night shifts, evening shifts or other schedules irregularly mandated by employers.

Sleep Deprivation

Working shifts and nights can cause loss of concentration among construction workers. Lack of concentration leads to accidents and errors that may endanger fellow workers, the public, and certainly themselves. Sleep during normal nighttime is more refreshing than sleep during daylight after a night shift. Add to this the stress of being separated from family and deprived of interaction with friends who work day shifts. This stress can cause attention gaps and can aggravate health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.

Working during the Body’s Low Point

The body’s low point is the nighttime and early morning when brain and bodily functions slow to a minimum. Working during the body’s low point and working while deprived of sleep contribute to increased fatigue. Workers may take chances or shortcuts they would not normally take if they were alert and concerned with construction site safety.

Help Available

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Public Health Service has published a pamphlet available online at www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/97-145/pdfs/97-145.pdf, titled Plain Language about Shiftwork. You may not be able to change your work schedule, but you can obtain valuable information about coping strategies.

CA Workers’ Comp Reform Bill Goes to Governor, Met with Enthusiasm

By Kelly Balamuth on September 19, 2012

California Senate Bill 863, introduced by state Sen. Kevin de Leon and co-authored by Assemblyman Jose Solorio, is headed to Governor Jerry Brown and if signed as expected, it is expected to cut hundreds of millions of dollars in costs out of the workers’ compensation system in CA. Bizjournals.com reports that the bill, which is the first reform package in eight years, would translate to savings that would pay for a $740 million boost in benefits for permanently disabled workers in the state. The millions of dollars that would be saved would largely be attributed to efforts to reduce fraud and streamline processes.

An improbable alliance between labor and large employers drafted the Senate Bill, and support was won from the California Department of Industrial Relations. Opponents of the bill included the California Chiropractic Association and the California Society of Industrial Medicine, which may be because under the bill, chiropractors and physicians would lose some control over patient care. Governor Jerry Brown reportedly greeted the new bill with enthusiasm, adding that he commends the Legislature for an “extraordinary workers’ compensation reform bill that helps injured workers and averts an imminent crisis of skyrocketing rates.”

The Walnut Creek work injury attorneys of Balamuth Law understand that being injured while on the job can undoubtedly have devastating results and may leave a worker unable to return to work and coping with added financial stresses as a result. If you have suffered injury at work as the result of negligence on the party of a contractor, equipment manufacturer or other third party, our experienced legal team can help. We will work tirelessly to ensure your receive the compensation you need to recuperate. For a complimentary consultation on your work injury case, please call (888) 254-1234.

Northern California Worker Safety: Understanding Causes of On-the-Job Accidents

By Kelly Balamuth on August 10, 2012

Sacramento Common Work AccidentAccidents in the workplace are unfortunately very common in California and across the nation. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) conducted a study in which the results revealed that there are 3.5 work accident cases per 100 full-time employees; specifically, 3.1 million non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported in 2010. With this alarming statistic in mind, it is imperative that Northern California workers understand some of the common causes of on-the-job accidents in order to try and prevent them.

Courtesy of BoltInsurance.com, the following is more information on four frequent causes of workplace accidents:

  1. Defective equipment: Equipment and machinery used on the job should be routinely inspected to ensure it is in proper working condition. If not working properly, equipment should be repaired, which can prevent a potentially dangerous incident.
  2. Hazardous chemicals: When employees are working with chemicals, a company’s safety manual should address the possibly hazardous chemicals in the workplace and how to handle them. Additionally, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) can provide a chemical safety program to educate and train employees.
  3. Insufficient training: Workers who do not receive proper training may be at-risk for an accident. Employees should get thorough safety training, including wearing protective gear, proper storage and use of chemicals, and maintenance of equipment.
  4. Lack of protection: Employees should protect themselves from a potential accident by wearing the appropriate safety gear for their task, such as hard hats, gloves, goggles, and safety shoes.

Prevention is key in ending many common California workplace accidents, but on-the-job incidents can certainly still occur and leave a worker with serious injuries and a lengthy recovery time. For workers who need assistance obtaining workers’ compensation benefits, a Walnut Creek on the job injury attorney at Balamuth Law can help you through the entire process. To see how we can help you with your case, call (888) 254-1234.

Preventing Fall Accidents at Northern California Construction Sites

By Kelly Balamuth on July 23, 2012

The construction industry is one of the more dangerous industries a person can work in, and construction sites have a number of hazards that may potentially harm a worker. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the most common cause of fatal injuries to construction workers. In addition, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that more than 100,000 are injured from construction site falls each year, making falls one of the more serious and life-threatening types of accidents a construction worker can be involved in.

Though the statistics show that fall accidents at construction sites are very common, they are also preventable. There are a number of things contractors and foreman can do to make the workplace safer for employees, but workers can also help prevent these dangerous types of accidents by using the best safety practices while above the ground. With this in mind, the CDC and OSHA offer the following tips to help prevent a construction-related fall accident:

  • Ladder safety in California is essential! Choose the right kind of ladder for the job you’ll be doing and make sure the ladder is long enough and is in good working condition. When working, tie the top and bottom of the ladder to fixed points.
  • Use the appropriate fall protection equipment for the task. Fall protection equipment should be continuously inspected to ensure it is in good working condition and safe for workers to use.
  • Prevention is key in stopping falling accidents, so employers should plan projects to help workers get the job done safely. Proper planning should include deciding what tasks will be done, how they will be completed, and what safety equipment will be needed.
  • Proper protection and overall safety gear for the task at hand should be provided, and workers should be trained on the specific equipment they are using to complete the job. Employers should train workers to recognize potential hazards and how to safely and effectively use equipment.

A construction site fall is a very dangerous, and potentially deadly, type of on-the-job accident that can leave a worker seriously injured and unable to return to work for a lengthy period of time. In order for a California construction worker to receive the benefits he or she needs to recover, a worker may need assistance from a qualified Northern California construction injury lawyer. At Balamuth Law, we are committed to protecting the rights of workers injured due to another’s negligence while at work and can help you obtain the compensation you need to get back on your feet. Call (888) 254-1234 for no-cost consultation on your case.

California Workers’ Compensation Bureau Seeks Mid-Year Rate Increase

By Kelly Balamuth on May 4, 2012

Citing a higher frequency of claims, a larger number of liens, and slow economic recovery, the California Workers’ Compensation Bureau recently requested that the state’s Insurance Commissioner allow the bureau to increase its rates at the end of June 2012. The requested rate increase would raise insurance rates to 4.1 percent.

Since workers’ compensation premiums are paid directly by the employer, workers’ salaries should not be affected by the increase. However, the two main reasons the Workers’ Compensation Bureau cites for the increase request – a higher number of claims and a lower rate of workplace growth – indicate that, overall, the number of California workers injured while on the job in recent months has increased.

The Workers’ Compensation Bureau did not speculate on the cause of the increase, but its request to the Insurance Commissioner also mentioned that the Bureau has had an unusually large number of serious injury cases recently, requiring more benefits to be paid to cover medical bills and lost wages. The more severe a worker’s injury is, the more medical care the worker is likely to need. Serious injuries also increase the amount of time away from work or may even disable a worker permanently, requiring workers’ compensation to pay more in order to ensure these workers get the full amount of benefits to which they are entitled.

If you’ve been injured while at work, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, as well as benefits from any third parties whose negligence caused your injuries. At Balamuth Law, a dedicated Walnut Creek workers’ compensation lawyer can help you get the benefits and compensation you need. For a free, confidential case evaluation, call us today at (888) 254-1234.

Federal Safety Investigation Shuts Down California Nuclear Plant

By Kelly Balamuth on April 2, 2012

Northern California Worker InjuryFederal safety investigators from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) have shut down the nuclear plant in San Onofre until they can determine why the plant’s water-transporting tubes are breaking down at a much faster rate than they would under ordinary use, according to a recent article in The Las Vegas Sun.

The reactors, owned by Southern California Edison, are located on the coast near San Diego. The company recently changed the configuration of the tubes that transport radioactive water through the cores of the reactors for cooling. After an environmental group charged that the power company had violated nuclear regulations in changing the tubes, however, the NRC investigated the safety of the plant.

During the investigation, the agency found that the water tubes were breaking down too quickly, increasing the risk of radiation-related injuries or illnesses both for workers at the plant and, if a breach occurs, for the local residents as well. After tubes on one of the four reactors broke, the NRC ordered the plant shut down until the problem could be identified and fixed to protect workers and residents from radiation harm.

Workplace accidents can cause serious injury or illness, and a workplace doesn’t need to be as dangerous as a nuclear plant to pose dangers. At Balamuth Law, our knowledgeable Walnut Creek workplace injury lawyers have helped many people who have been hurt or sick by something in their employment world. If you’ve been injured, call us today at (888) 254-1234 for a free, confidential case evaluation.

San Pablo Metal Worker Dies in Workplace Accident

By Kelly Balamuth on March 20, 2012

A metalworker in San Pablo lost his life recently in an accident at work in a Berkeley tool manufacturing plant, according to an article in The San Jose Mercury-News. The man lost his life when a metal grinding wheel hit him forcefully in the back of the head while he was working, according to investigators.

Investigators from the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal-OSHA) are examining the situation to determine how the accident occurred and how it might be prevented in the future, including whether any state or federal workplace safety violations occurred. Cal-OSHA investigators say that they will also look for signs of negligence, either by the employer, the employee’s co-workers, or the manufacturer, designer, or distributor of the metal grinding wheel that was involved in the fatal accident.

Workplace accidents that result in death can take place in any type of business, but they are most common in construction, metalworking, and similar heavy industries, where workers use potentially dangerous equipment and materials on a regular basis. California’s workers’ compensation laws help protect injured workers and their families, but workers and families may also be able to seek compensation from negligent third parties, such as the manufacturers or sellers of any defective machine involved in the injury.

The Northern California work injury attorneys at Balamuth Law are well-versed in representing those who have been injured while on the job at every stage of the process, from filing claims with insurance companies to seeking compensation from any negligent parties in court. If you’ve been injured at work, call Balamuth Law today at (888) 254-1234 for a free and confidential consultation.

2012 Sees Changes in California Workers Compensation Laws

By Kelly Balamuth on January 11, 2012

Northern California Workers CompensationThe California legislature recently passed several bills that change the state’s workers’ compensation laws. Proponents of these bills hope that the changes will improve workers’ compensation benefits for those who qualify and help prevent fraud, according to a recent article in the California Business Journal.

Two bills seek to lower the costs of workers’ compensation bills by limiting payments for compounded medications and for vocational counseling. While both of these services are necessary for some injured workers, the bills’ supporters say that some vendors are overcharging for them and passing the costs on to the employer.

A third bill takes aim at California’s “underground economy,” especially those businesses that are supposed to carry workers’ compensation insurance to protect their employees, but do not. By tightening regulations and enforcement, supporters of this bill hope to level the playing field and bring all employers on board when it comes to providing workers’ compensation coverage.

A few more bills seek to streamline the workers’ compensation process by changing the way claims are handled by insurers and the state. Those who support these bills say that their changes will make it easier for injured workers to receive the benefits they need in a timely manner.

Workers’ compensation benefits are provided for many workers who are injured or develop occupation-related diseases while on the job. When a defective product or a negligent third party contributes to the injury, however, a worker may be able to recover more than what is allowed by workers’ comp. If you’ve been injured on the job in California, call the experienced Walnut Creek workplace injury lawyers at Balamuth Harrington today to learn more about your legal rights and options at (888) 254-1234.

Attorney Kelly Balamuth was profiled in the
September 2013 Issue of Plaintiff Magazine.

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