The changing laws regarding medical -- and in some states, recreational -- marijuana use may have Arizona workers and employers alike wondering how it could potentially affect workplace safety and workers' comp. Most of the time, workers' compensation laws allow for the denial of benefits when an employee's injury is attributable to alcohol or drug use. However, Arizona does have reasonable accommodation provisions and anti-discrimination laws that could impact an employer's ability to enforce such policies when it comes to medically prescribed marijuana.
For Arizona employees who are involved in serious accidents on the job, workers' compensation is there to make sure the injured get the benefits they need to help pay for medical care and time missed at work. However, it's always better to avoid work accidents in the first place. To that end, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently increased its citation structure by a whopping 80 percent.
Luckily, on-the-job injuries at Arizona worksites are often minor. Even workers who are seriously injured are usually able to get the medical care or workers' compensation benefits they need in order to recuperate and get back on the job. Tragically, though, some work accidents are fatal.
Federal officials have recently issued a warning to the commission responsible for overseeing Arizona's workplace safety agency, stating that some of its practices are unlawful and should be ceased immediately. Specifically, the letter from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is concerned with the Industrial Commission of Arizona's lowering of fines placed on companies after preventable work accidents that result in worker injury or death. The commission oversees the Arizona division of OSHA, which regulates safety in the workplace under an approved federal plan, but these unlawful practices could jeopardize its ability to run its own safety program.
The laws surrounding workers who were injured on the job, in Arizona or elsewhere, are often complex, full of stipulations and exceptions. A recent workers' compensation case in another state proved no different. Workers' compensation is an insurance that was implemented to help protect injured employees, but with so many complicated rules and so many possibilities, the representation of a lawyer frequently proves critical.
While many workers in Arizona may know about workers' compensation, most people are trusting enough to believe that, should they ever need it, the system is almost automatic and guaranteed. Unfortunately, this is often far from the case. A woman who was injured on the job in another state had to fight to receive her benefits because her employer had rejected her workers' compensation claim.
Every job is different. Some jobs, like construction work, may have more obvious risks, but even office jobs can lead to unexpected illness or injury, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Regardless of the type of work an Arizona employee spends his or days or nights doing, one thing remains universal: the prospect of being injured on the job and unable to pay bills is a scary one. The following tips, however, may help smooth the way should such an event occur.
The concept of workers’ compensation is often couched in terms of remedying physical injuries that occur in the course of employment (i.e. injuries occurring from falls, mechanical mishaps, etc). However, we may not consider how certain physiological issues may affect one’s ability to perform their duties.
We all know that the purpose of workers’ compensation is to pay certain bills while the employee is unable to work due to a workplace injury. But like many types of insurance claims, the bills don’t stop just because a claim is being processed. This is especially true when there is a dispute between the medical provider and the employer as to who is responsible for paying for what. Because of this, there may be instances where an employee may pay medical bills out of their own pocket.
People universally go to work not expecting to get injured. So when they are unfortunately hurt while they are working, it should be expected that they may not know what to do when it comes to seeking benefits simply to keep the lights on and the rent paid. In industries such as construction, manufacturing and even law enforcement, employers have specific responsibilities with regard to providing workers' compensation insurance as well as other duties to protect employees.