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Jerome, Gibson, Stewart, Stevenson, Engle & Runbeck, P.C.
Helping Injured Workers In Arizona Since 1973

Phoenix Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Gradual injuries can cause long-term pain and income loss

While industries in Arizona such as construction, transport and manufacturing pose significant hazards, workers in the tech industry and clerical positions are also at risk. However, except for slip-and-fall and other unanticipated events, they are more susceptible to gradual injuries. One of the most prevalent of these is carpal tunnel syndrome, which results from repetitive use of the wrists over an extended period.

The syndrome is caused by pressure on the median nerve that runs in the carpal tunnel from the arm, through the wrist, and into the hand. Victims typically experience numb, swollen or itchy fingers with a gradual decrease in strength of grip. The condition can develop into chronic pain in the employee's hands, wrists or arms. Although many occupations involve repetitive motions, employees in the tech industry are especially vulnerable.

Construction accidents happen despite precautions

Construction workers in Arizona and other states will always be at risk of suffering injuries, regardless of the safety precautions taken by their employers. This is underscored by the death of a construction worker in another state. The owners of the construction company claim they are serious about protecting the safety and health of their employees, and say they work to avoid construction accidents.

Reportedly, a 39-year-old man lost his life when he was struck by a ceiling beam at a construction site where he worked. The cause of the incident is still under investigation. Apparently, none of the deceased man's co-workers witnessed the incident. They reported hearing the noise and discovering the worker with severe head injuries.

Roofing accidents make up a significant percentage of fatalities

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration places the burden of protecting workers from harm on employers. They could face OSHA fines and citations for unsafe facilities. Of the thousands of workplace fatalities nationwide every year -- including in Arizona -- many involve roofing accidents that could have been prevented if property owners had adequately maintained their buildings.

In any event, employers must comply with OSHA regulations to prevent workers from falling from ladders or roofs, through skylights, hatchways or other hazards on rooftops. Whenever employees access roof environments, they must be equipped with personal protective equipment such as fall protection. Furthermore, each worker must be adequately trained in the proper use of a fall harness and the safe securing of lanyards to anchor points.

Safety precautions can prevent warehouse workplace accidents

Warehouses in Arizona are minefields of safety hazards, and business owners must protect the health and safety of workers. However, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration prescribes guidelines to cover every dangerous situation, and compliance can prevent a workplace accident from happening. Some precautions apply to all such facilities, regardless of the industries they serve.

Signage and labels are essential and will allow employees to know what they work with, where everything is located, what the storage temperature should be and whether products are hazardous. This will also ensure that everybody knows exactly where the fire exits and extinguishers are. Falls frequently cause injuries in warehouses where workers move about on elevated areas and use lifting devices. For that reason, strips of non-slip tape and guardrails must be installed in danger zones.

Proper safety protocols may prevent an industrial accident

Arizona employees who earn their livings in manufacturing plants may have reason to be concerned about their safety. There are multiple safety hazards in these facilities, any one of which can cause an industrial accident. Things that may lessen the likelihood of injuries include wearing the appropriate safety equipment and avoiding loose clothing and jewelry that can get caught in moving machine parts. Tying back long hair may also be wise.

Frequent evacuation drills must be part of the safety protocol, and hazards that are identified during regular risk assessments can be addressed immediatelyy to prevent work accidents. If all employees receive adequate safety training, they could avoid injuries but also know what to do in emergencies. A power tool accident may be prevented if such equipment is kept clean, in working order and stored properly.

More than 2,000 employees' eyes are hurt at work every day

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), occupational eye injuries cause production losses to the value of $300 million each year nationwide, including in Arizona. An estimated 700,000 employees' eyes are hurt at work each year, equaling about 2,000 such injuries per day -- or one every 45 seconds. That is alarming considering that the simple solution is to wear eye protection.

Safety authorities say most eye injuries happen because workers wear inappropriate eye protection or none at all. Reportedly, the industry with the highest occurrence of eye injuries is manufacturing, with over 8,000 reports per year. In about seven in 10 cases, the injuries are caused by objects that are smaller than pinheads.

Employee saves co-worker's life after workplace accident

Employers in Arizona may recognize the importance of having one or more employees undergo first aid training after an incident in a neighboring state. Reportedly, the event occurred on a recent Tuesday at a factory that makes wooden framework to support roofs. An employee apparently suffered a serious injury in a workplace accident.

There is no indication of how the accident happened. However, saws and other heavy machinery are operated at the factory, and the worker must have made contact with the working parts of one of the pieces of equipment. Reportedly, he suffered a deep cut to his arm.

Work injury often caused by overlooked safety hazards

Safety hazards exist in all work environments, and compliance with safety regulations is vital. While each industry in Arizona has its unique dangers, some work injury risks that are common to all are often overlooked. Dehydration is one of those risk elements that can cause various physical problems, particularly when workers are exposed to heat -- both indoors and outside.

Stress is an invisible danger that can interfere with an employee's ability to be productive, identify hazards and avoid injuries. While almost any job produces stress, long hours, infrequent or inadequate breaks and conflict can contribute to it. Furthermore, unrealistic deadlines or targets and job insecurity can exacerbate stress levels.

Workers' comp essential after construction, roofing accidents

Almost without exception, jobs, whether in Arizona or anywhere else in the country, carry some degree of risk. A worker can develop carpal tunnel syndrome from years at a keyboard, for example, or an employee can develop repetitive stress injuries. However, some careers carry a higher risk of injury, such as jobs where factory, electrician or roofing accidents are simply more likely to occur, no matter how safe an employer tries to make the work environment.

For example, in another state, six construction workers were injured when a roof collapsed recently. The vacant three-story row house was under construction when the accident occurred at approximately 10 a.m., burying workers in a fall of cement chunks and metal debris. The men had apparently been working on the second floor of the structure when the sudden collapse resulted in the entire group plummeting all the way to the basement in an avalanche of rubble.

The basics of Arizona workers' compensation

While Arizona employees are likely aware of the existence of workers' comp, that may be the extent of their familiarity. However, since anyone can suffer a workplace accident at any time, it may benefit employees to familiarize themselves with the basics of workers' compensation benefits. In this way, employees may be able to relax and concentrate more fully on their jobs, without worrying about what might happen to them if they're injured.

With only a few exceptions, businesses both large and small are required to carry workers' compensation. This type of insurance, paid for by employers. It covers employees when they suffer illnesses related to workplace exposure or are injured on the job.

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