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Phoenix Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Are workers' with PTSD eligible for workers' comp benefits

In the many instances where we highlight workers' compensation benefits, it is because of physical injuries suffered during the course of one's work activities. Which begs the question, can a worker receive benefits due to psychological injuries stemming from a workplace accident?

In Arizona, workers are entitled to benefits for psychological injuries. There are stricter requirements to qualify than for physical injuries. We can help you determine whether you are eligible.

OSHA penalizes Dollar General again for safety violations

Among their many duties, employers must provide a safe working environment for their employees. Failing to do so may lead to the employer being held legally responsible for injuries suffered due to hazards that should have been remedied. Because of this, it is not uncommon for some injuries to merit both workers’ compensation benefits as well as monetary damages (money paid) from a personal injury lawsuit due to an employer’s negligence.

Before someone is seriously injured, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will attempt to deter such behavior by levying fines. The amount of the fines will vary depending on the severity of the violation and whether it is a repeat violation. 

More employees taking part in safety policy design

In our prior posts, we highlighted how the culture of fear may prevent injured workers from taking the proper rest or time away from work to heal from their injuries. Unfortunately, the same culture may exist in some companies and some worksites that prevent workers from reporting safety violations and hazards that could lead to serious injuries.

However, according to a recent businessinsurance.com report, this culture may be changing. Essentially, more employers are including their employees in the design and implementation of safety plans. For instance, employees are being engaged to help fix hazards such as machine guarding defects and are being trained to properly shut off machinery before maintenance is completed.

Three questions to ask when looking for an attorney

Wouldn’t it be great if all employers would provide continual monetary benefits to injured workers as they recover from their ailments? After all, for many employees, not being able to work is stressful enough because some workers believe that they will lose their jobs altogether. Combine that stress with the inability to earn a living to pay bills, and it is understandable that workers’ compensation benefits are necessary.  

Unfortunately, legal action is sometimes necessary to protect an injured worker’s right to workers comp payments. However, most people have never hired a lawyer and may not know what to ask in choosing an attorney. As such, this post will highlight a few questions ask prospective attorneys. 

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.

Serving the Following Areas

Jerome, Gibson, Stewart, Stevenson, Engle & Runbeck, P.C., provides experienced representation for workers' compensation 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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Phoenix, AZ 85004

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