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Arizona Workers' Compensation Blog

Mining workers face fire hazards on the job

Workers in Arizona may have serious concerns about fire safety, especially if they work in the mining industry. Underground tunnels can be particularly dangerous places for workplace fires because toxic gases and flammable heavy equipment may be involved. Ventilation systems underground may be limited, and there may be few safe escape routes in case of an underground fire, while a greater risk of explosions may provide an additional threat. Employers have a responsibility to adhere to federal OSHA workplace safety regulations to provide a safer environment for employees working in these conditions.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration has issued workplace safety standards, including those that mandate atmosphere monitoring and ventilation systems. Tunnels used in mining must be equipped with fire protection and suppression systems adequate for the environment, while workers must be provided with personal protective equipment in case of a workplace accident. The quality of the ventilation system can have a major impact on the ability to prevent, detect and fight fires in mine tunnels. One newer system, called ventilation on demand, uses electronic sensors to direct the limited flow of clean, fresh air to occupied areas.

How to mitigate workplace hazards

A report from Work to Zero concluded that employers may not be doing enough to protect their workers from workplace hazards. According to the report's authors, workplace fatalities are going up despite the fact that workplace injury rates are declining. The report listed several ways that companies can help to mitigate hazards and minimize the chance that an individual will be hurt or killed while on the job.

Workplace violence was seen as one of the top hazards that can lead to employee injuries or deaths. One of the reasons that workplace violence can be so hazardous is that there is a lack of training about how to reduce it or handle violent events as they occur. Researchers say that companies can provide access to panic buttons or mobile apps that can be used in an emergency situation. An app may be able to keep track of a worker and intervene in a dangerous situation without any input from a worker.

Supervisor, worker participation crucial to construction safety

Arizona residents who work in the construction industry should know about a report from Dodge Data & Analytics, which shows how contractors are focusing more on having supervisors lead the way in safety and trying to increase worker participation. Eighty-four percent of the contractors surveyed said that involving job site workers was crucial to safety, and 83% said the same for supervisors with strong leadership skills.

The majority held up two other factors involving job site workers and supervisors as being crucial: regular safety meetings at 82% and ongoing access to safety training at 77%. These were the most widely agreed-upon factors, more so than the need for safety audits at 67% or for staff positions devoted to safety at 61%.

Do you work one of the 12 most dangerous jobs in the country?

Most jobs have some element of risk to them. After all, work can be difficult, which is why someone gets paid to do it. However, the safety risks at some jobs are significantly higher than other jobs.

Although sometimes that great risk comes with great reward, there are still certain safety standards that must be met. Employers have a responsibility to keep their employees safe on the job. Unfortunately, sometimes employees get injured anyway.

Hazards welders face at work

Welders in Arizona and throughout the country may face a variety of workplace hazards. Ideally, employers and employee will work together to mitigate as many of these hazards as possible. For instance, if a welder is performing a task that could create heat or sparks, that task should be done in a designated area. That area should be designed to resist heat and be free of any materials that are potentially combustible.

Welders could be at a higher risk of missing work because of burn injuries. To minimize the possibility of incurring one, they should wear protective gear that covers as much of their skin as possible. The clothing that welders wear will ideally be made from leather as it offers greater protection at higher temperatures. Individuals should also ensure that there is proper ventilation available to avoid inhaling toxic gasses such as hexavalent chromium. Consistent exposure to toxic gases could result in health issues such as lung cancer or chronic breathing problems.

Arizona firefighters with cancer may soon get help

Arizona lawmakers are working to get firefighters help with their workers' compensation claims for cancer that developed due to their jobs. A 2017 law contained a loophole that has allowed cities across the state to deny firefighters workers' compensation for cancer treatment. The law was originally designed to help firefighters.

Studies have shown that firefighters are more likely to develop certain kinds of cancer when exposed to various chemicals. The law was designed to ensure that firefighters were able to get medical help and a percentage of their income through workers' compensation if they were diagnosed with one of these types of cancer.

Workplace safety concerns for craft breweries

The craft beer industry has become more popular in Florida and around the country as more people explore unique products . However, just because the industry can be an alternative to large multinationals does not mean that the breweries involved do not also face serious workplace safety concerns. There are several common violations of federal workplace safety standards that can frequently be found at craft breweries, and workers can face serious accidents as a result.

One of the most commonly broken workplace safety rules is the guideline surrounding Permit-Required Confined Spaces. Sometimes, brewing equipment like silos and kettles are held in small confined spaces fitted to the equipment. If workers are expected to go into these areas and maintain the machinery, these areas should be inspected. Some of these areas can be potentially dangerous, depending on the need for a quick exit in an emergency or the heat and atmospheric conditions of the space. If the space raises these concerns, breweries can help to reduce the risk of on-the-job injuries by creating a permit system when letting workers into the areas and training them on safety protocols.

Roof work hazards to watch out for

Many people in Arizona have jobs that require them to work on the high building rooftops. Working on a roof has many hazards, which is why the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has specific rules for roof workers that employers must follow. Workers can also mitigate the risks by learning about basic roof safety before starting their jobs.

There are many different types of roofs, and some roofs are much higher or steeper than others. The height and slope of a roof may determine what type of safety harness and fall protection employees should use. Fitting a roof work area with edge protection or a warning line may also help to prevent falls. A warning line may simply be a reminder to busy workers that they are getting within a certain distance of the edge.

Study shows common workplace injuries

Workers in the retail industry miss 24 days of work each year on average due to injuries, according to a claims data analysis performed by insurance holding company Amtrust Financial Services. The company looked at workers' compensation claims from more than 20,000 incidents that occurred between 2016 and 2018. Injured workers in Arizona may be entitled to funds from the state's workers' compensation system. The AmTrust Retail Risk Report identified the types of injuries that were most likely to result in lost time at work.

The highest average payouts were associated with slips and falls from scaffolding or ladders, for which employees received $21,000 on average. The next highest payouts were for repetitive motion injuries and motor vehicle crashes, for which the injured workers received an average of $14,000 and $13,900, respectively. The average payment for injuries was higher for men, $11,641, than it was for women, $7,030. Nearly a quarter of payments made for claims in the top ten injury categories were linked to employee lifting activities.

Work fatalities rise, NSC calls on employers to improve safety

Arizona residents should know that there was a 2% rise in work-related fatalities nationwide from 2017 to 2018. The number went from 5,147 to 5,250, according to recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS goes on to say that the fatality rate was at a steady 3.5% per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers.

There were other interesting statistics. For instance, 40% of all work-related incidents were transportation incidents. The highest number of fatalities were among truckers and sales workers. In addition, 2018 saw 12% instances of workers dying from alcohol intoxication or unintentional overdosing on non-medical drugs. There were 11% more cases of work-related suicides, too.

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