As a worker in California, you have the right to work in a healthy and safe environment. Unless you work for the federal government, the law governing this right is called the California Occupational Safety and Health Act (Cal/OSHA). If you are working in the state of California but are employed by the federal government, then your rights to a healthy and safe workplace are covered by the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Act.
If you have recently been injured at work, the California workers’ compensation attorney at Kneisler and Schondel can help. Mr. Schondel has nearly twenty-eight years of experience successfully handling workers’ compensation cases involving workplace safety violations. We are here to help you fight for the benefits and compensation that you deserve for your work-related illness or injuries.
What is the California Occupational Safety and Health Act?
The California Occupational Safety and Health Act entitles California workers to a healthy and safe workplace. This law also holds employers responsible for making sure that you are safe at work.
You have several rights under this Act. These rights include:
- The right to receive proper training by your employer regarding job safety
- The right to be warned about any hazardous materials that you are being exposed to
- The right to be supplied with protective gear if you are working with contaminated or hazardous materials
- The right to file a confidential complaint or request for inspection if you suspect that there is a problem with health or safety at your workplace
- The right to refuse work that is in violation of legal safety or health standards
Another important thing to keep in mind regarding your workplace safety is that your employer cannot retaliate against you for complaints about workplace safety or health. Retaliation can include firing you or demoting you.
If you are a California employee, you have six months from the date of the retaliation to file your complaint with the State Labor Commissioner. If you are a federal employee, it is important to consult an attorney regarding any questions about filing deadlines.
What Should I Do About a Work Injury Caused by a Workplace Safety Violation?
The first things that you should do if you are injured at work due to a workplace safety violation are to notify your employer of your injury and seek medical treatment. You can meet the notice requirement by informing your supervisor or manager that you have been injured at work.
In some cases, a work-related injury or illness may develop over a period of time. If this is the case for you, you should inform your supervisor or manager as soon as you are experiencing symptoms and realize that your job duties caused or contribute to your injury or illness.
If you were injured in a traumatic event, such as a fall for instance, you should notify your employer immediately after you have suffered the injury. However, if you urgently need medical care for your injuries, receiving treatment should be your first priority.
Receiving Medical Treatment After a Workplace Injury
If your injury is severe, do not hesitate to go to an emergency room for immediate treatment. Even if you think your injury may be minor and you do not need immediate medical care, it is a good idea to see a doctor as soon as you can.
When you receive medical treatment, be sure to explain how your injury occurred and let the doctor know that it is a work-related injury. You should also provide as much detailed information as possible about your symptoms and/or any pain you may be experiencing. Your doctor will determine if you are going to need any time off of work to recover from your injuries or if you will benefit from returning to work with light-duty work restrictions.
Should I Apply for Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
If you have suffered a work-related injury or illness, you should apply for workers’ compensation benefits. Because the law in California does not require that you prove fault to have a successful workers’ compensation claim, you do not need to prove that your injury resulted from a workplace safety violation.
However, it is important to give your workers’ compensation attorney all of the facts regarding your injury and how it happened. Your attorney can look into the matter and advise you of any other causes of action based on the circumstances surrounding the work injury.
Contact the team at Kneisler & Schondel for more information or to set up an appointment to go over your claim. We offer a free consultation – so you have nothing to lose.