Arizona Employers Responsibility to Keep their Workforce Safe
Posted on behalf of Phillips Law Group on Jul 06, 2009 in Employee Rights
Certain occupations come with inherent risks of disease and other medical problems, and while most understand this risk before undertaking employment in that trade or profession, it does not preclude the employer from taking every reasonable step to keep their workforce safe in Arizona.
There are specific statutes laid out by the state legislature designed to govern this situation, and below you'll find brief examples of this statutory language as well as information regarding how you should proceed if you've been harmed in this manner. If you're looking for a qualified employment attorney in Phoenix contact us today for a free consultation.
Governing Statutes in Arizona
Initially, the Arizona statutes define occupational disease and how its deemed to arise from employment:
Arizona Revised Statutes 23-901 Definitions
(c) An occupational disease which is due to causes and conditions characteristic of and peculiar to a particular trade, occupation, process or employment, and not the ordinary diseases to which the general public is exposed, and subject to section 23-901.01.
Arizona Revised Statutes 23-901.01
A. The occupational diseases as defined by section 23-901, paragraph 13, subdivision (c) shall be deemed to arise out of the employment only if all of the following six requirements exist:
- There is a direct causal connection between the conditions under which the work is performed and the occupational disease.
- The disease can be seen to have followed as a natural incident of the work as a result of the exposure occasioned by the nature of the employment.
- The disease can be fairly traced to the employment as the proximate cause.
- The disease does not come from a hazard to which workers would have been equally exposed outside of the employment.
- The disease is incidental to the character of the business and not independent of the relation of employer and employee.
- The disease after its contraction appears to have had its origin in a risk connected with the employment, and to have flowed from that source as a natural consequence, although it need not have been foreseen or expected.
As you see, if certain conditions are satisfied, the occupational disease can be seen as caused by the employment. The next question thats answered by the statutes concerns the issue of liability on the part of the employer for these diseases.
Arizona Revised Statutes 23-901.02 Liability of last employer; exception
Where compensation is payable for an occupational disease the only employer liable shall be the employer in whose employment the employee was last injuriously exposed to the hazards of such disease but in the case of silicosis or asbestosis the only employer liable shall be the employer in whose employment the employee was last exposed to harmful quantities of silicon dioxide (SiO2) dust during a period of two years or more.
Analysis of a Safe Work Environment in Arizona
The statutory language above gives rise to certain tenets that would lead to an award of workers compensation benefits, and if its proven that the occupational disease was caused by employment, the worker would generally be entitled to an award. Additionally, if a worker contracts a disease because of negligence on the part of the employer, that worker can seek an award under a theory of personal injury.
Overall, if you or someone you love suffers from a disease that was contracted because of an employment position, contact one of our skilled Phoenix employment law attorneys today to schedule a free initial consultation.