Arizona Workers Comp For Work Related Mining Injuries And Illnesses
In early April 2013, Arizona media reported a terrible accident at a copper and gold mine about 100 miles from Phoenix. A 30-year-old man in a work crew died after being hit on the back of his head by a 5,000-pound, 40-feet-long pipe section. It goes without saying that mining by definition is a potentially dangerous and even fatal occupation, considering the industrial and mechanical requirements of extracting minerals from the earth.
Mining is important to Arizona economy
Mining is a significant industry across the state of Arizona, especially in the extraction of copper. After copper, minerals mined in the state include gold, silver, uranium and coal. A research report from Arizona State University found that at the end of 2011, Arizona had 11,300 mining employees who earned about $1.22 billion in that year. Amazingly, the average income per mining worker was a healthy $108,000.
In that year, the Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health reported five work-related fatalities in Arizona’s natural resources and mining industry.
How is mining dangerous to miners and other mining employees?
Imagine the impact on an Arizona family if a mining employee is injured or killed in a work accident, or succumbs to a mining-related illness, and that income dries up suddenly. Some common types of mining incidents or activities that can cause injury or illness include:
- Explosions and fires
- Falling or sliding rocks, equipment and other items
- Overexposure to gases or dust
- Insufficient ventilation
- Lifting, shoveling, pulling or pushing
- Accidents involving vehicles, machinery or equipment
- Dangerous noise levels
Steps for injured or ill miner to take
If an Arizona mining worker is injured or becomes ill because of a work accident or exposure to working conditions, of course he or she should seek immediate medical attention. You must also report any injury immediately to a supervisor. As soon as possible, contact an experienced Arizona workers’ comp attorney for advice about how to proceed with the workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ comp benefits in Arizona cover medical expenses and wage replacement for work-related injuries and illnesses.
Arizona workers’ compensation
In most situations, workers’ compensation is the exclusive legal remedy for a work-related injury, illness or fatality. However, the lawyer can also advise the employee about whether any exceptions to this rule apply to his or her situation. For example, Arizona law provides that an employer or co-worker may also be liable in a personal liability lawsuit in certain narrow situations such as in cases of intention to harm or willful disregard for safety.
A claim against a third party may be possible in some instances like when a manufacturer, distributer or seller of mining equipment provides a dangerously designed machine that injures the miner.
Finally, a surviving spouse, children and other close relatives should seek legal advice if their loved one dies because of a mining-related accident or disease. Arizona law provides workers’ compensation death benefits for burial expenses and ongoing compensation payments to the surviving spouse, certain children and sometimes to other dependent surviving relatives. A knowledgeable lawyer can also advise survivors in such a tragic situation about workers’ comp death benefits.