The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and its Department of Public Safety recently noted that hazardous material spills cause many problems each year. They were involved in cleanups of hazardous materials across the state in 2,000 incidents or accidents from 2007 through 2017. While the environmental consequences of hazardous material spills can be devastating, many result in work injury, and even death.
A few incidents that were mentioned in the report include a 2007 accident in which the driver of an 8,500-gallon diesel fuel tanker died when the truck caught fire after flipping over. In another incident in 2011, a fuel tanker driver was fortunate to escape with only a fractured pelvis and wrist when his truck also burned out. A pickup truck driver died after colliding with a tractor-trailer last year. The 4,500 gallons of fuel that spilled also ignited in that accident.
Workers in different industries are exposed to hazardous materials every day. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has strict regulations that are meant to keep workers safe. However, accidents will continue to occur, often leaving families without breadwinners, and no means for the surviving parent to care for their children.
Fortunately, surviving family members of an Arizona worker who suffers a fatal work injury can pursue financial assistance through the workers' compensation insurance system of the state. The claims process is complicated, especially at such a challenging time. However, an experienced workers' compensation attorney can handle the administrative and legal proceedings, and work to obtain compensation to cover end-of-life expenses and a wage-replacement package, which will provide financial relief for a predetermined period.
Source: cronkitenews.azpbs.org, "Hazardous materials: Agencies respond to scores of spills and accidents in Arizona every year", Gabriel Sandler, May 3, 2018