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Hotel work accidents often overlooked in Arizona

While many who work behind the scenes in Arizona's hotels and resorts face grueling tasks that can contribute to long-term injuries, it was recently reported that most OSHA inspections may not focus enough on the hotel industry in Arizona. Instead, most of OSHA's efforts are geared toward the construction industry.

Officials explained that while both lines of work pose risks, serious work accidents are more common in construction simply on account of the nature of the work.

However, others complain that accidents on the job in the hotel industry tend to get underreported for several reasons. For example, many hotel employees do not have health insurance and so do not see a physician for their injuries.

On the other hand, representatives for the hotel industry note a relatively stable work force and suggest that low turnover speaks to the relatively safe working conditions a hotel offers.

The hotel and tourism industry is growing and brings to the economy some needed stability (as it is difficult to "outsource" tourism-related jobs to another country). Perhaps it is time to increase awareness of the safety risks that this line of work presents and to respond accordingly.

In the meantime, however, employees in Arizona's hotels can always file a workers' compensation claim in order to recover a portion of their lost income as well as their medical expenses when they suffer an injury on the job. These workers should remember that an injury need not constitute a one-time incident in order to qualify a person for workers' compensation. A work-related condition can gradually develop and still qualify an employee for workers' compensation.

Source: Arizona Capitol-Times, "Arizona's workplace-safety efforts focus primarily on construction," Sarah Pringle, Dec. 21, 2012

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