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Phoenix Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Could more drones make safety inspections in the future?

When drones are mentioned in media reports these days, they commonly come with a negative connotation.  After all, they have been criticized for causing near disasters with commercial airliners, and are seen as the prime example of the erosion of privacy in our society. Nevertheless, there is a growing need for drones when it comes to construction site safety.

Essentially, a growing number of contractors are using drones to make safety inspections. Cameras mounted on drones can be the eyes for an inspector safely on the ground. As such, this can reduce the need for inspectors to climb to great heights on cell phone towers, to inspect high scaffolding on buildings that are under construction, or navigate other dangerous structures. Basically, by having “eyes in the sky” through a drone, the potential for deadly falls can be lowered. 

How will increasing civil penalties affect large employers?

The civil monetary penalties that OSHA is allowed to impose have long since been viewed as too lenient since they are not high enough to deter habitual violators. That may change given a scheduled increase in these penalties.

According to the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, federal agencies that impose such penalties are required to update their fine schedules and increase them incrementally as the rate of inflation goes up. With that, OSHA will comply with the law and incorporate its first increase in civil penalties since 1990. 

Should I wait for an ADOSH investigation?

In our last post, we highlighted the increasing penalties OSHA has instituted for employers who fail to report instances where injured workers are hospitalized for on the job injuries and the possible reasoning behind those increases. We also discussed the pressure that some employees may feel as they question whether to report health and safety violations that may have led to their injuries.

Some workers may want to wait for ADOSH (Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health) to conduct an investigation to substantiate their claims. However, it may be a mistake to wait on investigators to look in on one’s claim. This post will briefly explain why. 

OSHA penalties increasing for non-compliant employers

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) implemented new injury reporting protocols last year. Basically, employers are now required to report certain injuries and all hospitalizations within 24 hours of learning of such events. These new reporting guidelines were initially seen as a benefit to employers who wished to avoid further scrutiny from federal regulators.

Also, since the process could be completed electronically and on a voluntary basis, it was expected that many employers would join the process. However, the reporting of such injuries fell considerably short of expectations in 2015. 

New standard for hearing protection proposed

If you have ever worked on a construction site in Arizona, you can understand how loud it may get. Because of this, it may not be surprising that some construction workers may suffer from hearing loss as they reach advanced ages. Because of this, new recommendations have been made regarding hearing protections for construction workers.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends that workers avoid exposure to noise levels of 90 weighted decibels and above over an eight hour work period. However, studies by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the U.S. Department of Energy found that the current standard put workers at increased risk of hearing loss. 

Legal help often necessary after a construction accident

Being a construction worker can be a rewarding, fulfilling job. But it is also a position that inherently places the worker in peril. There are incredible heights that construction workers must reach to perform their job. There are heavy materials that need to be used and moved. There are powerful pieces of equipment and machinery whirring and swinging all around. Given the confluence of all of these factors, it is no surprise that there are plenty of accidents that occur on construction sites.

When these accidents occur, people can suffer serious, catastrophic or even fatal injuries. If they survive the accident, they will likely have a long road to recovery and will obviously have a lot of questions about the benefits that are available to them and, more generally, what there next legal move should be.

High heels and workers' comp claims

It is no secret that high heels are still a fashion statement in today’s workplace. Whether this is because online shoe stores have gained a great deal of traction or because more offices are adopting casual dress protocols, high heels are being worn in more venues.

It is also no secret that heels can be uncomfortable after a few hours in them, but many may be completely unaware of the long-term injuries that can come about from religiously wearing heels. From a workers’ compensation perspective, repetitive stress on a woman’s foot from wearing heels may lead to a compensable event.  

Could wearable technology influence future work comp claims?

Just like compression pants and leggings are becoming popular for fitness enthusiasts, wearable technology is becoming equally as popular. More people are wearing Fitbit trackers, using apps on their phones, or even syncable watches to monitor their activity levels. More than just for fitness, the ability for people to track how their physical exertion affects their bodies could help employers reduce the possibility of workplace injuries, and change the way workers rehab after suffering an injury. 

Three steps for preventing scaffolding injuries

The construction industry in Arizona appears to be in good shape; especially considering how the housing market has rebounded and the commercial construction market is mirroring the success experienced in southern California. With the number of construction projects expected to increase, it is important for contractors and workers alike to observe safety rules regarding scaffolds.

With all the inherent dangers that come with construction sites, it is surprising how easy it is for workers to be injured in falls. Workers should know that a fall from merely six feet above ground could cause serious injuries. Additionally, for every foot higher that a worker is in the air, the greater the chance for that a serious injury may occur.

What types of workers’ compensation benefits are available to me in AZ? P.2

In our previous post, we began speaking about the types of workers’ compensation benefits available to injured workers. We’ve already spoken about benefits for medical costs and for lost wages stemming from temporary disability, both partial and total. Here, we continue the discussion.

Benefits for benefits for lost wages and permanent injures, continued...

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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