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Phoenix Workers' Compensation Law Blog

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...

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

Workplace injury can have a significant impact on a worker’s life, particular when the injury has permanent effects. Whenever a worker is injured on the job, of course, the first matter of concern is to ensure the incident is properly reported and management is aware it, and that the worker receives any necessary emergency care. Once these immediate concerns are addressed, it is important for the worker to understand what types of workers’ compensation benefits are available and the process for filing claims for these benefits.

Workers’ compensation benefits can be broken down into several categories: for an injured worker, there are medical benefits, and then there are benefits for lost wages and other monetary compensation resulting from temporary or permanent disability. A third category of workers’ compensation benefits, available to dependents of a deceased worker, is death benefits. To receive any of these benefits, the workplace injury in question must be deemed compensable under state law, which is an issue we will not look at here. 

AZ employers fail to enforce safety measures, slapped with fines

Construction workers are employed in an industry that is generally considered dangerous, due to the conditions, the work being done and the heavy equipment being used by workers. Recently, several Arizona contractors and manufacturers were slapped with fines for failure to adhere to safety regulations. Failure to follow these guidelines by employers could leave an Arizona construction worker at risk for injuries sustained on the job.

ADOSH, or the Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health, made a statement about these recent fines claiming, that the agency's purpose to protect workers from harm is a responsibility shared with employers. As such, it is in the best interests of employers to ensure that safety measures, equipment and training are in place for their workers. If they do not, it leaves workers more susceptible to construction accidents and injuries.

A look at employee rights under OSHA in Arizona

After an Arizona resident suffers a workplace injury, there are many questions that may arise. Some may be uncertain as to what rights they have and how they can go about protecting these rights. A workplace accident can have many life-altering effects. A worker may no longer be able to perform his or her duties, resulting in an inability to earn wages. This is why it is of the utmost importance that an employee understands his or her rights.

Many rights and responsibilities are given to employees and employers by OSHA, also known as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA gives employees the right to review copies of the appropriate rules, standards, regulations and requirements that should be made available by the employer, for example. Workers also have the right to receive copies of tests done to find hazards in the workplace. Employees can also request that OSHA inspect their workplace if it is believed that the environment is hazardous.

Guiding Arizona residents through workers' compensation

After an injury occurs on the job, it can be difficult to know what to do next. Knowing the right steps to take following a workplace accident is not always easy. However, equipped with the proper knowledge, it is often possible to navigate the workers' compensation claims process in as painless a way as possible. An experienced attorney may have the knowledge necessary to accomplish this goal.

A work-related injury can be life altering. One minute, a worker may be going about his or her daily work routine, the next minute he or she may become seriously injured. Such an injury may prevent a worker from being able to continue executing the tasks required by the job. This can result in lost wages and long-term unemployment which can be financially devastating for the worker and his or her family.

Steps to take immediately following workplace accident

In Arizona, workplace accidents are often the result of a fall, a mechanical error, employer negligence and other common incidents. In some work environments, such as construction sites, these accidents may be the result of the nature of the work; these jobs require a lot of physicality and movement in hazardous areas. But these accidents are not limited to just one type of work environment. Those working in offices can also fall victim to a slip and fall accident or a malfunctioning piece of equipment. These individuals often have rights under workers' compensation.

Immediately following an accident, it can be challenging to know what actions to take. Work accidents are often unexpected and it is natural to feel flummoxed and confused following such an incident. Right away, however, it is important to report the injury to the employer. This should be done in writing, and a copy should be kept for personal records.

What is a no fault system in relation to workers' compensation?

A workplace accident can happen to just about anyone. Many who work in blue collar fields, such as construction or manufacturing, likely consider the possibilities of a workplace accident. Many in white collar fields, however, do not give the idea of an accident occurring in their work environment much thought. But the fact remains that an accident can occur in any work environment, and all workers can often benefit from knowing how workers' compensation works.

In Arizona, workers' compensation is what is known is a "no fault" system. Just what is a no fault system? A no fault system assumes an employee is entitled to receive certain medical and compensation benefits regardless of who or what caused the job-related accident to occur. This makes it so even in cases when the employee may be at fault for the accident, he or she will still, in many cases, be able to obtain workers' compensation benefits. There are still certain cases that render a person ineligible for these benefits, however, as is the case when injuries are purposely self-inflicted.

Scaffolding fall injures two Arizona construction workers

While construction workers in Arizona will often go to great lengths to speak positively about their chosen occupation, and it is a job that elicits pride in following a plan and watching it come together, that does not alter the reality that it is dangerous. Construction accidents can not only cause severe injuries, but they can cause fatalities. A common way in which workers are hurt in a construction accident is from a scaffolding fall. When this type of incident occurs, it is imperative that those who were injured understand their legal rights to be compensated.

A shopping center project in Arizona was the scene of two construction workers being injured when the scaffold they were stationed on collapsed while they were working. Firefighters were called to help the men after they fell approximately 30 feet following the collapse. The men were wearing their helmets at the time and were attended to by other workers. They were brought to a trauma center, and their injuries were deemed serious but were not considered life-threatening. An investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is ongoing.

A look at the Arizona workers' compensation Claims Division

Arizona residents who believe they may be eligible for workers' compensation benefits often have many questions about the process. After all, it is a procedure that can take multiple steps, sometimes consuming a great length of time in a person's life. But many rely on workers' compensation benefits in order to meet the basic needs of everyday life. For these people, learning about every step in the workers' compensation claim process can prove valuable.

One important component involved in the workers' compensation process is that which involves the Arizona Claims Division. The Claims Division processes some 6,000 documents per day. What's more, the division makes over 30,000 determinations a year. These determinations involve issues such as requests to change physician, requests to leave the state, the loss of earning capacity and the like.

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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