Workers in the paper and pulp manufacturing facilities in Arizona face significant health risks. While many occupational hazards involve physical injuries, the exposure these workers face can cause gradual injuries to their health. The work environment in this industry typically contain paper dust, sulfur dioxide, chlorine compounds, and there could even be risks of asbestos exposure.
An Arizona restoration technician recently met with those who provided emergency treatment and saved his life earlier this year. The man suffered injuries in a workplace accident that occurred while he was assessing a flood-damaged assisted living center to determine whether it could be restored or whether it had to be demolished. The building had extensive water damage, making it extremely hazardous for workers to be inside.
Based on information provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the meat packing industry is exceptionally dangerous, with an injury rate that far exceeds all other sectors nationwide. In Arizona, these workers are exposed to knife cuts, falls, musculoskeletal disorders, cumulative trauma disorders, infectious diseases and toxic substances. The latter is often not given the necessary attention, and many workers are unaware of the work injury dangers posed by chemicals, one of which is known as the silent killer.
Employees in the landscaping and tree care industries are more vulnerable than most to be struck by lightning. This is a work injury that could be fatal, and all possible precautions must be taken to avoid the outdoors during thunderstorms. Stormy weather patterns are common in Arizona during the summer months, and employers must ensure that employees know the risks, and know what to do when they are caught in such hazardous weather conditions.
Most people take their hands for granted. Workers in Arizona protect their heads with hard hats, eyes with safety goggles, ears with plugs and feet with safety boots, but they often forget to wear safety gloves. Every occupation poses some hand injury risk, ranging from bruises and minor cuts to amputations in a serious workplace accident.
The summer heat in Arizona poses risks to all, especially those who work outdoors. Although safety authorities issue warnings about prevention of heat exhaustion, dehydration or any other heat-related work injury, the long-term damage caused by the sun does not receive enough attention. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun increases the risk of skin cancer -- the most common type of cancer.
While many people in Arizona may think only workers in industries such as construction and manufacturing are at risk, occupational hazards exist in all sectors. They may be surprised to learn that there is more than one work injury that can happen in an office just as quickly as on a construction site. For that reason, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration expects employers in all industries to establish safety protocols that will address all known hazards.
Arizona workers need to learn proper lifting techniques. Whether they are working in offices or the construction, warehousing or transport industry, lifting heavy or awkwardly shaped objects can lead to the development of gradual injuries. The National Safety Council says over 300,000 musculoskeletal injuries like strains, sprains or tears caused workers to lose workdays in 2014.
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.
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.