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Injured worker claim and firefighting in California

Both regular employed and volunteer firefighters in California are often provided with technical rescue training in the event of a specific situation while in the field in an attempt to lower the risk of an injured worker claim. Although these situations are not common, they can occur and may place a firefighter or rescue worker in a high risk or hazardous situation. Correct training can make the difference in saving lives and preventing an injured worker claim.

Sometimes a rescue worker may be required to enter a confined space in order to help someone. These spaces may be difficult to enter and exit and are not meant to be occupied for an extended amount of time. Potential entrapment or asphyxiation may cause serious work injury to a firefighter or result in a tragic fatality.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration maintains specific categories for confined spaces that can help an employer recognized the hazard level they may be sending a worker into. A rescue worker may often need a group of colleagues as supports to get them in and out successfully without injury. Communication between attendants and firefighter can be crucial.

A report revealed that more rescue workers lose their lives as a result of entering a confined space than the victims trapped inside do. This can make training and support imperative to the survival of a firefighter in California. An employer can work together with staff to help avoid an injured worker claim, and be legally prepared in the event an accident does occur.

Source: fireengineering.com, "Small Spaces, Big Tips", Jacob Mcafee, Oct. 9, 2014

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