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Phoenix Workers' Compensation Law Blog

How our office can help injured construction workers

Construction workers in Maricopa County, Arizona, put themselves at risk each workday in order to provide for their families. An Arizona construction site is usually a very busy place, and it is also a place full of dangerous conditions. A construction worker is particularly prone to a fall. Moreover, a worker can also injure himself or herself while lifting, or while being around heavy machinery or a power tool.

Furthermore, workers may not experience a one-time "serious" injury, but they may instead gradually have to wear their bodies down doing the same task over and over. While they do not occur in an instant, these repetitive injuries can also be debilitating.

Employer who ignore Arizona law face consequences

Workplace accidents can be devastating to Arizona workers and their families. Aside from medical bills and related costs, a worker may have no source of income for a long time while he or she recuperates. In the most severe work accidents, an employee may never be able to work again.

Knowing the serious consequences of these types of accidents, Arizonans created this state's workers' compensation system. This system requires most employers to have some sort of insurance or other protection so that when their employees get hurt or sick on the job, the employers can ensure that their workers will have their medical and other needs met.

What does Arizona workers' compensation cover?

The readers of this blog probably realize that in Arizona, workers' compensation offer certain types of benefits to injured or ill employees when an employee's injury or illness is work-related. With some exceptions, these benefits are afforded employees even when the employee is partially or even completely at fault for the injury.

The system places the responsibility of ensuring a safe and healthy workplace squarely on the shoulders of the employer. While this might seem like a burden to an employer, the employer also gets an important benefit in that employees can only get certain types of compensation and does not have access to other benefits that the employee may get were he or she able to file a lawsuit against the employer.

Worker dies on the job at tuna processing plant

Few people appreciate the sacrifices of factory workers until an industrial accident occurs. Take the gruesome case of a tuna processing plant worker who lost his life due to a factory accident.

While the worker was servicing a 35-foot pressure cooker, his colleagues mistakenly thought he was in the restroom. They filled the oven with six tons of canned tuna and turned it on. When the man was reported missing, his colleagues searched for him in the factory. Not until two hours later did they realize he was still in the pressure cooker, dead from exposure to the extreme heat that routinely reaches 270 degrees.

Workplace safety: If you see something, say something

These days, many people are concerned about the source of the salmon they eat, the conditions in factories where their t-shirts are made, and the level of radon in their homes. When it comes to their own workplace, however, some people are less vigilant.

Most Arizona workplaces are perfectly safe and healthy. In recent years, workers' compensation claims are down in the state. Employers usually take worker safety seriously. The danger for workers, however, is assuming that their employers have it all under control, or that they are aware of every issue and hazard.

What protective equipment must employers provide?

The first lines of defense in preventing workplace injuries are equipment guards and training. If those measures are inadequate or impractical, OSHA rules require employers to provide all affected employees with personal protective equipment, or PPE.

Businesses must conduct hazard assessments of their facilities to determine precisely what, if any, PPE their employees might need. This assessment not only identifies unsafe conditions where workplace accidents are likely to occur, but it also pushes the employer to think carefully about what personal safety equipment its employees will need.

How safe are Arizona worksites?

Arizona prides itself on the diligence and ingenuity of its workforce. But, when it comes to workplace safety, how do the state's employers compare with those of other states and the nation as a whole?

The short answer, according to the Industrial Commission of Arizona and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, is relatively safe. During the 2013-14 fiscal year, employees in Arizona filed 94,611 workers' compensation claims. This number is down 3 percent from the previous year and 5 percent from two years earlier.

Should Arizona employees fear workers' compensation reform?

When an Arizona resident is injured on the job, the workers' compensation program compensates for medical care and other expenses incurred as a result of the injury. Typically, a worker and the medical provider of choice determine treatment decisions. Now, worrisome trends involving a neighboring state, and in other states, may threaten that arrangement.

Arizona workers watched with concern as a California woman ceded control of her medical treatment and compensation to independent medical reviewers. Almost two decades ago, the woman tripped and broke her foot at her magazine publishing job. Although the break appeared to be clean, it caused severe nerve damage and led to a condition known as chronic or complex regional pain syndrome.

Helping injured workers get back on their feet

Arizonans, like other Americans, are proud of their work ethic. For better or worse, our identities are wrapped up in what we do. However, when we cannot work due to a workplace accident, we suffer great physical and emotional distress.

Workplace accidents can take many forms. Some are obvious, like falls, slips, collisions, chemical spills, explosions and equipment malfunctions. Other accidents are less obvious, like those involving back injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome and mental distress and impairment.

How do I know I have carpal tunnel syndrome?

A century ago, most Arizona workers earned a living in manufacturing, mining, farming or other labor-intensive professions. Back then jobs were more physically demanding and serious workplace injuries were more common.

Today, many more Arizonans are employed as administrators, managers, professionals and other white-collar workers. While rates of catastrophic injuries and death on the job may now be lower, previously unknown injuries - such as carpal tunnel syndrome - have become more common.

Serving the Following Areas

Jerome, Gibson, Stewart, Stevenson, Engle & Runbeck, P.C., provides experienced representation for workers' compensation and Social Security Disability cases in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, Mesa, Gilbert, Glendale, Peoria, Avondale, Casa Grande, Flagstaff, Prescott, Tucson and Yuma, and throughout Maricopa County, Pima County, Pinal County and Yavapai County, and all of Arizona.

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Jerome, Gibson, Stewart, Stevenson, Engle & Runbeck, P.C.
1001 North Central Avenue ,Suite 701
Phoenix, AZ 85004

Phone: 602-635-6561
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