Arizona prides itself on the diligence and ingenuity of its workforce. But, when it comes to workplace safety, how do the state's employers compare with those of other states and the nation as a whole?
The short answer, according to the Industrial Commission of Arizona and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, is relatively safe. During the 2013-14 fiscal year, employees in Arizona filed 94,611 workers' compensation claims. This number is down 3 percent from the previous year and 5 percent from two years earlier.
Compared to other states in the region, Arizona also does quite well. In 2012, the state registered 3.8 claims per hundred workers, which is lower than Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada and Utah. In 2013, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that Arizona's non-fatal injury and illness rate dropped to 3.3, which was not statistically different than the national average.
On the whole, it appears that Arizona worksites are safer on average than those in neighboring states, and as safe as the average national worksite. However, for workers employed in certain fields, their chances of getting injured or sick on the job are much greater than other workers' chances.
In Arizona, the occupations reporting the highest number of lost workdays per claim are transportation, healthcare and construction. The most common types of injuries are sprains, strains, fractures and bruises. The body parts most frequently injured are backs, knees and hands. The top cause of injuries is overexertion or bodily reaction, followed by falls, slips and trips and then contact with objects or equipment. Although workers' compensation claims in Arizona appear to be decreasing, employers and employees in all industries must remain vigilant and keep worker safety a top priority.
Source: The Industrial Commission of Arizona, "2014 Annual Report," accessed on April 14, 2015