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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Whether they like it or not, most Arizona employees spend more time at their jobs than anywhere else. While this may not seem like a big deal, it can be once individuals consider the likelihood of a work injury or serious illness and how it might negatively affect them in the long term. While some occupations come with obvious risks, other jobs may put employees' health in danger in surprising ways.