Evolving Workers’ Compensation Laws in California Better Protect Workers
Workers’ rights groups in California note that 2018 was a great year for workers, thanks to the wide variety of laws passed to guard employees’ rights and keep them safe in the workplace. Looking ahead to the rest of 2019, they have high hopes that workers will continue to enjoy enhanced protections.
Bringing Workplace Injuries to Light
One law that aims to strengthen employee rights in California is Assembly Bill 2334. This bill impacts reporting requirements of workplace injuries. In the past, the state of California had just six months to issue citations to employers who maintained inaccurate records of workplace injuries or deaths. Under the new law, Cal/OSHA—the division which handles workplace health and safety in California—has five years to cite employers.
Who Benefits From These Laws?
Assembly Bill 2334 impacts workers in a wide range of industries. Many types of workplace injuries aren’t visible within the previous six-month window, and victims of those injuries previously had limited recourse under California law.
Repetition injuries are a common issue for people in physically demanding jobs, such as factory or construction roles, as well as those with less physically taxing office jobs. Any position that involves repeating the same task over and over—whether that task is typing, lifting heavy boxes, or transferring patients—can lead to repetition injuries. These injuries often cause minor pain for years, allowing employees to brush it off and keep working. By the time they require medical attention, years may have passed since the original injury.
Exposure to chemicals and substances can also cause serious illness or harm, but these issues could lie in wait for years before causing symptoms and leading to a diagnosis. For example, firefighters who are consistently exposed to the dangers of smoke inhalation without proper protective equipment may feel fine for months before serious breathing issues set in. If your job involves working with paint thinner, asbestos, or other dangerous substances, certain personal protection equipment is mandatory. Employers who do not provide this equipment could be held liable for diagnoses and health problems that arise years later.
Protecting Yourself After a Workplace Injury
Having the law on your side can make it easier to protect your rights after a workplace injury. However, it’s still better to report incidents as soon as possible, seek medical care, and secure legal counsel. Even though Assembly Bill 2334 allows Cal/OSHA to cite companies for up to five years, it can be difficult to prove causation if you report a workplace incident long after it originally occurred. Immediately retaining an attorney makes it much easier to prove your case and create a paper trail that illustrates a company’s responsibility for an injury.
Don’t Sweep Your Workplace Injury Under the Rug—Let Us Help
A workplace accident could weaken your earning potential, increase your medical bills, and lower your quality of life. Don’t try to take on these challenges alone. Call the Donald S. Fair office in Upland at (909) 949-0317 and set up a consultation today.