Work Injuries Triggered by Lack of Personal Protective Equipment

Does your job involve any kind of hazard? If yes, the law requires your California employer to provide you with adequate health and safety equipment. For example, note that under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, your employer has to provide a healthy and safe workplace for all employees. The Occupational Safety Health Administrationhas issued many safety standards, regulations, and laws to keep workers safe while they perform their job.

Each year about 700,000 days of work are lost because of injuries triggered by a failure of personal protective equipment. It is worth noting that different types of PPE are available to you depending on your job or the kind of hazards that exist in the workplace.

There is no doubt that personal protective equipment, often known as PPE, is important to maintaining a safe and healthy work environment in order to prevent injury.

California employers are required to provide safety training and demonstrations and explain when and how to use your PPE. They also have to inform you of the various dangers of not using PPE.

Usually, as an employee, you are responsible for wearing suitable PPE. However, it is worth noting that your supervisors can also remind you about using PPE at the start of your shift.

Note that when using PPE, such as safety glasses and gloves, employers have to make sure all employees have adequate training regarding:

  • When PPE is necessary as well as how to wear it

  • How to properly care for PPE

  • How to know if PPE is no longer suitable or effective

PPE Your Employer Must Provide

It is no secret that some industries, such as construction, are more exposed to certain workplace hazards. This is why businesses in these industries have to follow strict rules and guidelines from OSHA in order to prevent workplace injuries. Note that one of these requirements is to provide PPE to employees. In these situations, employers have to provide well-designed and clean PPE.

Many people consider PPE as the last line of defense against common workplace hazards; however, it is not there to make up for lack of safe work systems, sound engineering, or thorough training.

If you are frequently exposed to various workplace hazards, your employer has an obligation to provide and pay for the following equipment.

  • Masks

  • Hard hats

  • Helmets

  • Goggles

  • Face shields

  • Eye protection

  • Rubber boots with steel toes

  • Respirators

  • Ear plugs

Keep in mind that with the right controls as well as innovative safety systems in place, there are some dangers that may still remain. The good news is that PPE will help you avoid common injuries, like:

  • Lung/respiratory injuries- usually caused by breathing in Covid-19, fumes, dust, or other vapors

  • Skin injuries- from contact with corrosive or caustic materials

  • Eye injuries- from flying particles or splashing of hazardous liquids

  • Foot and head injuries- from falling debris

  • Hearing loss injuries from loud noises such as gunshots and airplane engines

Can You Sue Your California Employer for not Providing Suitable PPE?

Yes, you may sue your employer for not providing you with PPE. For example, if you sustain an injury because your employer did not supply suitable PPE, a lawsuit can be an option. However, keep in mind that it may be necessary to prove that your employer ignored complaints. Thus reporting violations to OSHA as soon as possible is imperative.

If you sustain an injury on your job because of a lack of PPE, hire us at West Coast Workers Comp. You will need competent counsel who will fight hard to secure the maximum benefits for you under the California workers’ comp law.

Common Work Injuries Triggered by Lack of Proper PPE

As discussed above lack of proper PPE can cause mild scrapes and cuts to amputations and even deaths. Keep in mind that workers in construction, manufacturing, airlines and first responders can also suffer from hearing loss and impairment without earmuffs or earplugs. Without protective gloves, construction and manufacturing workers may suffer lacerations to their hands and fingers.

More serious injuries include head injuries may occur because of a lack of hardhat protection. Lack of protective footwear, like steel toe boots, can result in severe or crushing injuries to your toes and feet and/or repetitive diseases such as plantar fasciitis. The absence of suitable PPE may also lead to serious eye injuries. Finally, the absence of PPE such as respirators while handling hazardous waste will lead to permanent lung damage.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, thousands of employees are blinded each year because of the failure to wear suitable protective equipment.

PPE and COVID-19

It is worth noting that lack of proper PPE may also lead to illness, such as COVID-19. Nurses, doctors, and other healthcare workers that interact with infected patients rely heavily on masks, gloves, gowns, and other types of PPE in order to protect themselves from contracting the coronavirus. Airline workers who are flying or working at the airports face significant exposure to COVID-19 if they do not have PPE.

Of importance is recent Cal/OSHA emergency regulations requiring employers to:

Provide a COVID-19 Prevention Program; identify COVID-19 hazards and correct them; investigate COVID-19 cases; notify and provide testing to potentially exposed employee; require physical distancing and mask wearing; improve ventilation, and maximize outdoor air, to not allow employees back into the workplace until quarantine ends; pay employees throughout quarantines; record, report and allow access the information regarding Covid infections; report all outbreaks to the public health department, provide continuous testing to employees; employer provided housing must space beds, eliminate bunk beds, and disinfect daily; and employer provided transportation requires screening workers before boarding, distance sitting and face masks required.

You can Rely on Competent West Coast Workers’ Compensation Attorney

Did you sustain an injury on your job because of faulty equipment? If yes, it is essential that you get the help of an experienced and competent workers comp attorney. If your employer failed to provide the proper PPE needed to do your job safely and you sustain an injury as a result, call West Coast Workers Comp today to learn about your rights.

You might be eligible to file a worker’s comp claim for your injury and collect benefits that will help pay for your medical bills as well as lost wages. At WEST COAST WC ATTORNEY, we know and understand that many families depend heavily on the income of an injured employee. We are proud of our fantastic record of protecting injured and disabled workers in California.