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Worker rights and responsibilities under Arizona's OSHA

More than 40 years ago, Arizona's Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) was enacted to help keep employees safe on the job. Although the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (ADOSH), a state agency, is officially responsible for investigations and enforcement under the Act, employees play a crucial role in preventing work accidents.

Employees are guaranteed certain rights under Arizona's OSHA. First, they have a right to do their job in a safe and healthy workplace. They also have a right to file a complaint - anonymously, if they wish - with ADOSH-Compliance Section if they believe an unsafe working condition exists. Moreover, employees cannot be fired or disciplined for filing a complaint. Finally, they have a right to view safety citations filed against their employer as well as records of their own exposure to harmful substances or conditions.

Along with these rights, Arizona employees bear certain responsibilities for workplace safety. They should familiarize themselves with and follow rules and procedures set by their employers, state law and ADOSH. They should also wear all employer-mandated safety equipment, such as helmets, goggles, earplugs, respirators and other protective gear. Moreover, they must never remove safety guards or devices unless instructed to do so by their employers.

Even under the safest working conditions, however, accidents do happen. If an employee discovers an unsafe working condition, or suffers an on-the-job injury, he or she should report the matter immediately to a supervisor.

In the event of an accident, employers must report the injury to the state within six business days of receiving a claim for compensation from a doctor. They must also carry workers' compensation insurance and cover the cost of the employee's medical and related expenses in the event of an on-the-job injury.

Sometimes, however, an employer may refuse to pay for an employee's on-the-job injuries. In such disputes, a competent workers' compensation attorney can help the employee evaluate his or her claim, find the appropriate medical care, negotiate with the employer and, if the circumstances warrant, file a complaint with the appropriate agency or court.

Source: Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health, "Workplace Safety & Health Information for Employees," accessed on Feb. 27, 2015

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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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