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Arizona Workers' Compensation Blog

Amazon's troubled past with injury reporting

Amazon employs thousands of people in Arizona and across the nation. While millions of people rely on Amazon to quickly order the items that they want, the company has had problems with worker safety. According to a recent article, the company reportedly took steps to hide injuries that happened in its warehouses and distribution centers.

An investigation that was conducted by Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting and The Atlantic alleges that Amazon failed to comply with safety regulations and underreported worker injuries for years leading up to 2015. The investigators reported that Amazon attempted to limit its employee's access to injury logs and took steps to prevent them from sharing the injury logs that they were able to receive.

Lawmakers take action to curb health care worker assaults

Arizona residents might be shocked to learn that about one in two workplace assault victims is employed in the health care sector. According to figures from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, doctors, nurses and other health care workers are four times more likely to be the victim of a violent workplace assault than those employed in other fields. The dangers of administering medical care have alarmed experts for years, and they recently attracted the attention of lawmakers.

The U.S. House of Representatives took action to protect health care workers on Nov. 11 by passing the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Services Act. The bill tasks the Secretary of Labor with ensuring that hospitals and other health care employers put measures into place that are designed to improve workplace safety and prevent violence. The Emergency Nurses Association supports the legislation.

OSHA: computer-based employee training not enough

Employers in Arizona are encouraged to review the OSHA standards when it comes to training employees. The reason is that OSHA recently had to reinforce the training requirement in its fullness. Training must end in mastery of the training material, and in light of this, to have employees undergo computer-based training is simply not enough.

Employers may be forgiven for thinking otherwise. After all, OSHA has training videos and computer-based training programs for sale on its website, and many private companies offer similar videos covering every OSHA topic. However, OSHA is clear that online training must be supplemented by hands-on training with a qualified trainer who can answer employees' questions in a timely manner.

OSHA to investigate toxic exposure that killed restaurant manager

Buffalo Wild Wings sports bars are a familiar site throughout Arizona, but the good times ended abruptly at one location when an accident with cleaning chemicals turned deadly. A preliminary accident report from the local fire department and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration explained that a mixture of chlorine bleach and acid produced the fumes that killed a 32-year-old male restaurant manager.

Although the investigation of the fatal workplace accident continues, OSHA has determined that an employee mixed the products Super 8, which contains chlorine bleach, and the acidic Scale Kleen with the intention of cleaning the kitchen floor. The interaction of the chemicals released deadly fumes. The preliminary report states that the employee fled outside. The manager then stepped in to squeegee the liquid outside. The fumes overcame him, and emergency personnel took him to a hospital where he later died.

Tips to strengthen your workers’ compensation claim

 Nobody wants to get injured at work, but due to a myriad of factors (faulty equipment, an unsafe environment, or a poorly trained employee), accidents do happen. This is when workers’ compensation comes into play.

Many companies pay insurance to cover these incidents, but some less reputable companies do not, and will fight the claim. 

Workers' comp covers expenses for injured workers

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that the average per-employee cost of workers' compensation is $0.44 per hour of work, but that figure can vary by state and by job. Workers in Arizona may be entitled to benefits from the workers' compensation system if they are injured on the job. For white-collar jobs like office work and sales, the average per-employee cost is $0.22 per hour of work; for construction work, the average cost is $1.07 per work hour.

The workers' compensation system is designed to protect workers who cannot earn an income because of a sickness or injury that occurred due to work. It helps employees cover necessary medical costs and typically provides income for people who are unable to work. In cases where an employee dies due to their job, the workers' compensation system will usually cover funeral and burial costs so that their family doesn't have to come up with that money.

Injured workers may receive compensation

An Arizona worker who is hurt on the job may be entitled to reimbursement for lost wages. The amount of the payment that an individual receives will likely be determined by how much that person earned prior to getting injured. It will also depend on whether he or she is allowed to receive partial or full wage loss benefits. Individuals may also be entitled to reimbursement for any medical bills that are incurred because of a workplace injury.

In many cases, workers are able to seek care from a doctor of their choosing without jeopardizing their benefits. This is generally true after 30 days have passed following a workplace accident. Those who are injured on the job may receive benefits even after they return to work. However, that may only be the case if a worker is making less after coming back to work than he or she did prior to getting hurt.

OSHA reveals 10 most cited workplace safety violations

At the National Safety Council 2019 Congress and Expo held in September, OSHA released a preliminary list of the top 10 most commonly cited workplace safety violations for fiscal year 2019. Employers in Arizona should know that these 10 offenses composed a total of 26,915 violations and that many of these violations were committed by manufacturing companies.

At the top of the list is the failure to follow general requirements for fall protection. In second place were violations concerning hazard communication, followed by lockout-tagout, respiratory protection, ladder and powered industrial truck violations. The list ended with machine guarding violations and the failure to provide adequate eye and face protection.

What injuries workers' compensation can cover

Workers in Arizona may know that their employer carries workers' compensation insurance, but they may not know just what sort of injuries are covered under it. Physical injuries are covered, but that is not all. Mental health conditions like anxiety and depression can be covered if they are caused on the job, and preexisting conditions that are worsened while on the job can be covered, too.

Workers who develop conditions after continual exposure to harmful elements or workplace conditions can be eligible for benefits: for example, those who develop mesothelioma after exposure to asbestos, those who get lung cancer while working in a place where smoking is allowed and those who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome because of excessive time spent at the computer. Injuries do not need to arise at the workplace itself. For example, one can be injured in a company-owned car or at a company-sponsored event held away from the company's premises.

Prevent workplace amputations

When Arizona residents go to work each morning, they may know that incurring an injury is possible. However, many people may not expect to experience an amputation at work, so it is important to know how these incidents occur.

Even with increased safety standards, workplace amputations still occur. The Amputee Coalition says that 1 in 20,000 employees suffered an amputation at work in 2017. If people work in certain industries, it may be more likely that they will experience an amputation. In 2016, there were 2.1 amputations per 10,000 workers in the manufacturing industry. Employees in forestry and agriculture experienced 1.4 amputations per 10,000 workers. Because this kind of workplace injury can still occur, it is important for people to know how they can keep themselves safe on the job.

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