In 1970, Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act requiring employers to keep the workplace free from known hazards that could lead to serious injuries or death. The agency born out of the law, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, devised rules and regulations that provide minimum standards for employers that are designed to meet that goal. Even so, that does not mean that every employer across the country, including some here in Arizona, will follow those rules and regulations, which could leave workers vulnerable to an industrial accident.
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.