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California workers comp injury lawyersThere are a number of dangers that warehouse workers are exposed to every day that expose them to high risks of being injured. For example, warehouse workers are around forklifts every day, but forklifts are also considered one of the biggest hazards to worker safety, responsible for more than 100,000 work accidents each year. Warehouse workers also suffer injuries because of conveyor belts, working on loading docks, storage of materials, and the manual lifting and handling of materials they are required to do.

As dangerous as working in a warehouse can be, data reveals that Amazon warehouse workers are especially at risk. This has led to lawmakers in California to take steps that would require Amazon to be more transparent about their practices and ban some of the policies Amazon currently has in place.

Major Growth of Amazon

There is no doubt over the past several years, Amazon has dominated online shopping, surpassing all of their competitors. That domination increased even more with the COVID-19 pandemic. With so many millions of people staying home and avoiding retail businesses, Amazon saw their revenue soar to $368 billion in 2020. The company also ended the  year with 950,000 employees, the majority of those employees working in fulfillment centers. Amazon is the country’s second-largest employer, following Walmart, which is at number one.

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Gilroy workers' compensation attorneyUnlike some other forms of bodily injury insurance, workers’ compensation insurance is no-fault. This means that an injured worker’s claim cannot be denied even if the incident that caused the injury was caused by the employee’s own unintentional negligence. There are some exceptions to that rule, however. For example, if an employee was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the incident, the employer does have the standing to deny the claim.

But what happens if the employee has a medical marijuana card under California’s Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA) and has been prescribed cannabis by their doctor to alleviate symptoms of a medical condition? Can a workers’ compensation claim be denied because of the employee’s use of medical marijuana?

California’s Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act

Under MAUCRSA, there are a variety of medical conditions that have been approved for medical cannabis use, including AIDS, cancer, arthritis, glaucoma, chronic pain, and seizures. A doctor needs to make a recommendation for cannabis use and specify the condition being treated in order for the person to apply to the state and obtain a medical marijuana card. But this type of recommendation is different from many other types of medical prescriptions because marijuana–even for medical use–is still illegal at the federal level.

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Gilroy workers' compensation attorneyOn Friday, August 13, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) issued updated guidance for employers in order to help protect workers from COVID-19. The updated guidance was issued due to recent developments with the virus, as well as the latest information and guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in July.

Updated Guidance and the Delta Variant

During the first six months of this year, as the COVID-19 vaccines became available to more people, the number of COVID-19 workers’ compensation claims in California began to decrease. In June, the number of claims hit a 16-month low with just over 670 claims filed. However, in July, the number of claims spiked again, with more than 2,500 COVID-19 claims filed. This was almost equal to the total amount of claims filed in the state during the prior three months. It is estimated that when all valid claims for July are finally processed and approved, the total number will be closer to 4,000 claims for the month.

The spike in COVID-19 cases here in California and around the country is being attributed to the Delta variant, which is now the predominant strain of the coronavirus in the U.S. The CDC has stated that this variant is more infectious and more transmissible than other variants, even for people who are fully vaccinated, which is why they issued updated guidance for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

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Morgan Hill CA workers compensation lawyerIn California, there have been 4,000 wildfire incidents so far this year. One of those fires, the Dixie fire, has been classified as the largest single wildfire in California’s history, burning for the past 26 days and already destroying almost 500,000 acres of property. As of this writing, the fire has been only 22 percent contained.

These wildfires put firefighters and other emergency workers at high risk of being seriously injured or killed, but the effects on California workers may be even more widespread. The state recently issued a warning to all California employers of the risk any employees who work outdoors may also be facing. If you develop an injury due to exposure to smoke, fire, or poor air quality in the course of your work, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation.

Dangers of Wildfire Smoke to Outdoor Workers

The smoke that is produced in wildfires contains fine particles, chemicals, and gases that can cause injury or illness to anyone working outdoors. One of the most dangerous hazards is known as particulate matter, or PM2.5, which can impair a worker’s lung functioning, worsen asthma and other respiratory conditions, and worsen heart conditions. Workers exposed to these particles can suffer from wheezing, coughing, and difficulty breathing.

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Gilroy CA workers' compensation attorneyWhile the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines was looked at with relief by many in the U.S., almost as many voiced their opposition to getting the vaccine. Like many issues, the debate has caused a significant divide between the two groups. As the vaccines became more widely available, many people who wanted the vaccine got it. Recently, however, there has been a slowdown in the number of people who are getting vaccinated, and this has led some employers to issue mandatory vaccine policies. One question raised by these mandates is whether employees will qualify for workers' compensation benefits if they have adverse reactions to the shot.

Side-Effects of the Vaccine

There are currently three different COVID-19 vaccines being offered to the public. The Moderna vaccine is a messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine and can be given to adults 18 years and older. Two shots are given, spaced 28 days apart. The Pfizer-BioNTech is also an mRNA vaccine and is available to anyone 12 years old and up. Two shots are given, 21 days apart. The Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine is a viral vector one-shot vaccine and is available to adults 18 years and older.

Many people who get the vaccine have mild side effects, more so after the second dose. These side effects occur within three days of receiving the vaccine and usually last one to two days. The more common side effects include:

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