San Bernardino Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Prevalence of brain injured inmates giving a new perspective

When people in California suffer a traumatic brain injury, their entire way of seeing things, processing information and making decisions is altered. Often, they are required to relearn several habits and behaviors that were previously basic or innate. While family members and friends may do their best to provide consistent support and encouragement, brain-injured individuals often have to receive intervention of some sort to assist them in learning how to cope and thrive despite the changes they have experienced. 

A recent research study in Colorado has revealed some intriguing results after nearly 4,200 inmates were screened for brain injuries. Researchers found that a shocking 54 percent of all of those who were surveyed had some level of a traumatic brain injury. In comparison, only 8 percent of the general population suffer from TBI. To decipher whether or not participants were indeed victims of a TBI and to assess how severe each case was, researchers asked a series of questions regarding each inmate's history. The study focused solely on those who were victims of domestic violence, victims in serious car accidents and those who had been in a coma in the past. 

Things you should not discover after your surgery

Surgery can be a scary experience and you will likely feel happy or euphoric once it is complete and you are awake. But what if somebody finds after the fact that their California surgeon operated on their right leg when it should have been the left leg? This is a medical mistake that should not have happened at all. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality website, there are a number of unwelcome post-surgery discoveries that can be the result of medical malpractice.

As mentioned previously, a surgical patient can be operated on in the wrong part of their body. Depending on the surgery involved, an operation performed on the wrong spot can inflict lasting damage. The wrong organ could be removed. A surgeon may remove healthy body tissue when a cancerous part should have been removed instead. Some surgeons may operate on an incorrect area of the spine, causing nerve damage or possibly paralysis.

Why water and electrical cords do not mix in the workplace

When it comes to electrical shocks, one easy equation to remember is that water plus electricity equals a nasty electric shock. California workplaces should keep their employees safe from water related electric shocks. Without proper safety standards and worker awareness, an unwary employee could become the victim of an unfortunate workplace electrical accident. points out problems that can arise from electrical cords and devices interacting with water. For one thing, work spaces that are open to the outside can draw in natural elements like wind, rain and snow. If there are no overhead doors present to close off the work space, water may pool inside the jobsite and can wet power cords. Water can also pool around objects, including power cords. Outside rain may also gather inside a more enclosed space, such as an office, if the window is open or if the roof is leaking.

Nurses: Minimize the risk of illness and injury while working

You might think of nursing as a fairly safe profession. After all, these individuals work in an environment where safety and illness and injury prevention are focal points. The fact of the matter is that nurses face some very serious hazards during each shift they work. These hazards can lead to missed wages if they have to take off work to address their illnesses and injuries. They can also lead to workers' compensation claims, in some cases.

There are many things that nurses can do to reduce the risk of illnesses and injuries. None of these should be ignored. In fact, you might find that many of these are standard protocol for this profession. Just because you've been nursing for a while doesn't mean that you should lose sight of these. Here are a few to get you started:

Injuries common among restaurant and food service workers

With an endless stream of restaurants, resorts and food service operations spanning the state, many Californians make a living working in this type of environment. If you are among them, you face specific work-related job hazards that can hinder not only your ability to work, but your overall quality of life. At Kampf, Schiavone & Associates, we recognize the hazards that place restaurant and food service workers at risk, and we have helped many clients who suffered injury in food service environments seek recourse and get back on their feet.

Per Restaurant Programs of America, working in a food service environment exposes you to certain types of injuries and hazards, and many of these are consistent throughout the industry in its entirety, from fast food establishments to high-end resorts. For example, you run the risk of suffering a serious burn working in a restaurant or food service environment, and this holds true whether you work behind the line in the kitchen, or out on the floor. Cooks and chefs can suffer burns due to hot cooktops, splashing grease and the like, while servers and bussers can suffer burns due to spills, hot trays, hot surfaces and so on.

How can power cords create electrical hazards?

Workers on California construction sites frequently use power tools, and while some tools utilize portable batteries, the vast majority of power tools operate off of electricity from a wall socket via a flexible power cord. According to the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), the use of power cords can be hazardous if they are improperly maintained or misused on the jobsite, with electric shocks and burns resulting.

Cord damage is one way cords can produce electrical hazards. With the sharp edges present on a construction site, such as bladed tools, fastenings, staples, and the edges of doors and windows, a cord's outer covering could accidently be sliced open, exposing the electrical conductors within. Sometimes it does not take an accidental cutting of a cord to expose the conductors, as cords that are frequently used may decay due to aging. Allowing these conductors to be exposed to the outside can subject employees to possible burns or shocks, plus increase the danger of a fire.

Do I always feel pain after a workplace back injury?

You may have suffered an injury to your back on a California worksite, yet you do not feel any resulting pain. Perhaps you feel you got off lucky, but you should not rest easy just yet. You might decide against reporting a workplace incident or filing a workers' compensation claim only to experience pain sometime afterwards, but by then you could miss out on receiving compensation. It is important to remember that not all workplace back injuries result in immediate pain.

According to the Back Pain Authority website, some back pain does not begin at once following the infliction of the injury. Sometimes the pain may commence a few hours after the injury. In other instances an injury victim may feel pain days or possibly weeks following a workplace injury. The causes of delayed back pain can be physical or psychological, although it is more likely that psychological causes will explain back pain delayed by longer periods of time.

What are the real causes of workplace back injuries?

As you probably know, back injuries are among the most common causes of employee disability in California. Your spine is a complex system of bones, ligaments and discs, and it is highly susceptible to damage under certain circumstances. However, the cause that seems most obvious to you may not be the only factor in a back injury. 

In fact, back injuries are quite frequently due in part to small stresses that accrue damage over time. Even if you see someone injured during a catastrophic accident, such as a fall or an improper lift, the resulting acute injury might have been made possible by various chronic stressors. 

Can a brain injury cause vision problems?

Being struck in the head, whether as a result of a vehicular accident or an accident on a California jobsite, can do more than just cause traumatic brain injury. Trauma inflicted on the human brain can produce a variety of delayed reactions, including damaging a person’s ability to see. According to the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center (MSKTC), TBI sufferers may experience a number of problems with their vision.

Blurry vision is one common outcome of a brain trauma. With blurred vision, people may have problems looking at things or people up close. Double vision can also result, with a person seeing the same image twice. TBI can also result in a loss of peripheral vision. In this case, a person will have problems seeing off to the sides. Additionally, brain injury victims may lose vision completely in one eye, or even go blind in both eyes.

What are ways to reduce construction workplace accidents?

California construction sites present their share of hazards, and as such, it is important for construction managers to find ways to prevent accidents or to stop previous accidents from reoccurring. According to an article run on the Industrial Safety & Hygiene News website, construction accidents generally result from two general causes, namely unsafe acts or unsafe conditions. Understanding these two sources of workplace injury can assist in reducing the risk of accidents on the jobsite.

Committing an unsafe act is entirely up to the worker. Unsafe acts are when a worker fails to perform a duty with diligence, professionalism and caution. For example, when it comes time to lift heavy objects, a worker should lift with the legs while keeping the back straight to prevent back injury. A worker can also act with due diligence by using equipment that is in working order and not defective. Conversely, trying to work with a machine with a frayed electrical cord can invite the risk of electric shock. With the proper training, a worker can understand how to perform tasks in a safe and professional manner.

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