Arizona to Honor Workers Killed on the Job

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 37 workers were killed while working in Arizona in 2012. These workers leave families and loved ones behind that must carry on without them. Few ceremonies mark their passing, though their service is as highly valued as others who give their lives. Arizona has decided to create a special day to honor these members of the community who have lost their lives while attending to their normal work duties.

Workplace Deaths and Injuries

Many workers encounter hazards on the job in a variety of fields. Roofing, construction, mining, fishing, forestry and transportation are just a few of the trades associated with high fatality rates. These fields hold intrinsic hazards that must be managed every day by workers involved in these tasks. Injuries associated with these jobs can cause long-term disability, which changes their lifestyle and affects the financial stability of their families. The injuries and deaths that occur on the job have a profound and lasting effect on the families and the communities in which they live. In Arizona alone, 54,000 workers suffered injuries in 2012. This is clearly an issue that needs to be addressed.

Safety on the Job

In 1970, Congress passed the Occupational Safety & Health Act (OSHA). This was designed to minimize the injuries and deaths that occurred among workers in the United States. Although the Act did much to help protect workers from mechanical and chemical hazards in the workplace, these issues are still a matter of concern today. Employee injury statistics vary widely from state to state and often depend on the type of work being performed. Injuries from falls, mechanical malfunctions, and operator error still dominate the list of causes for worker injuries and deaths.

Honoring Lost Workers

Arizona state lawmakers, families of the deceased, and other supporters will gather to honor these workers who were lost performing their assigned tasks. They will be remembered as valued members of the community who contributed to the good of their companies and communities. Workers who have experienced injuries on the job will speak during the event. The organizers of the memorial service and ceremony hope to call attention to the important issue of worker safety on the job.

Sources:
http://www.aflcio.org/Issues/Job-Safety/Death-on-the-Job-Report
http://www.aflcio.org/content/download/79431/1935361/8+Occupational+Fatalities+by+Industry2011+PIE+CHART+final.pdf

Multi Car Crash Sends Six to Hospital

Six teenagers were critically injured on a Mesa highway on April 24, when a van plowed into their parked car, triggering a chain reaction of crashes. Rescue workers from three communities were summoned to the scene to free the passengers, who had been trapped inside their smashed automobile.

The ordeal began with a simple fender bender involving two cars on highway US 60, in the eastbound lane at Gilbert Road. Both drivers parked on the side of the highway to confer about the incident, authorities said. A third car occupied by the teenagers soon arrived at the scene, and its driver apparently offered to help the other two motorists.

Conflicting reports say the teenagers’ car either stalled or simply parked in the emergency lane behind one of the others. Police said it was then struck in the rear by a fourth vehicle, the van. The impact set off a chain reaction, forcing the teenagers’ car to crash into the car parked in front of it. Photographs taken at the scene show their car sandwiched between the van and a maroon vehicle.

Shortly after 3 p.m., rescue workers began to remove the passengers from the crumpled vehicle, whose rear end and trunk had been demolished. Paramedics worked to stabilize three of the crash victims in a triage area on a large, red tarp that firefighters laid on a section of the blocked-off highway.

Six individuals, whose ages range between 17 and 19, were severely injured and required emergency medical attention at a local hospital. Their injuries were not specified, but all six remain in critical condition. Officer Carrick Cook of the Arizona Department of Public Safety confirmed that at least two of the victims had been airlifted by helicopter to a nearby hospital. Police did not say whether the driver of the van had been injured.

While rescue workers responded to the injured and cleared the wreckage, rush hour traffic on US 60 slowed to a near standstill. Eastbound lanes had to be partially closed for hours. The accident is being investigated by the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

Sources:
http://www.myfoxphoenix.com/story/25336183/2014/04/24/multi-vehicle-crash-in-mesa-sends-six-to-area-hospitals
http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/local/mesa/article_397c97ec-cc05-11e3-a2eb-0019bb2963f4.html
http://www.azfamily.com/traffic/US-60-eastbound-restricted-for-crash-at-Gilbert-Rd-256616211.html
http://www.kpho.com/story/25335704/serious-crash-blocks-eastbound-us-60
http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/mesa/2014/04/24/gilbert-crash-slows-traffic-abrk/8122565/

Senior Apartment Complex Fire Claims a Life

On April 23, 2014, a 71-year-old man was killed in a fire at a senior apartment complex in Mesa, Arizona. The man lived in a second story unit of the complex, located on Brown Road near Country Club Drive.

A security guard noticed smoke exiting the unit, heard an alarm, and attempted to enter the apartment. When he was unable to do so, he called 911.

Keith J. Thomas was pronounced dead by responders at the scene. The man, who lived alone, was found in the kitchen area of his apartment. Though he was found with burns on his body, the cause of death has not yet been determined.

The fire did not spread beyond Thomas’s unit, and investigators have not yet determined a cause. According to Mesa’s fire captain, Dean Morales, the victim may have succumbed to a medical emergency before the fire started.

Thomas was a resident at the independent living section of the two-story complex. According to the United States Fire Administration (USFA), being cognizant of fire safety is critical, particularly for older adults. The USFA notes that people older than age 65 have a higher risk of perishing in a fire than any other group. More than 1,000 seniors are killed by fire-related incidents each year, and an additional 2,000 injured.

More information about fire prevention for older adults and their caregivers is available from the federal government’s Department of Homeland Security website. Talk to your or your loved ones’ building manager to ensure that safety measures are in place in the event of a fire.

Older adults are at greater risk because they may have mobility, vision, and other challenges that make it difficult for them to escape in the event of a fire. If you care for an older relative who lives independently, make sure he or she has working smoke alarms and a clear plan for evacuation in the event of a fire. Timers and other measures may be taken to remind seniors about lit candles, food in the oven, and other fire hazards.

Sources:
http://www.azfamily.com/news/1-killed-in-fire-at-senior-apartments-in-Mesa-256468651.html
https://www.usfa.fema.gov/citizens/older/caregivers.shtm

Speed and Lack of Seatbelts Claims Tucson Teenager’s Life

On April 12, 2014, a 17-year-old died in a rollover accident near Corona de Tucson. His 18-year-old passenger, unnamed by the multiple media venues that reported the accident to the public, was transported to a nearby trauma center and suffered no life-threatening injuries.

According to a Pima County Deputy, officials suspected that the cause of the accident was speeding.

Unfortunately, the story is all too familiar. In fact, according to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), car accidents are the leading cause of teen deaths in the United States. Their latest research shows that 7 teens, between the ages of 16 and 19, die every day in the U.S. as a result of car accidents. They also state that the risks for teen car accident deaths are three times the risk that of drivers 20 and older. In addition, the CDC states that male teens, teens driving with teen passengers, and newly licensed teens pose an even higher risk.

Individuals and organizations have presented several preventative measures. One of the most popular strategies includes more intensive driver’s education classes. More specifically, this approach suggests that driver classes should include in-depth coverage of driving hazard recognition, such as weather, more intensive presentations of the interaction of speed, control, and stopping distance, as well as spending more time on the importance of seatbelts, and the dangers of drinking and driving. At present, most classes do touch on these topics, but many groups, such as MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) feel that more time should be spent on each subject and include real-life presentations of the possible results associated with each danger.

Resources:

Hazardous Materials Spilled After Crash in Peoria

More than 55 gallons of diesel fuel spilled onto a roadway during a recent accident in Peoria, Arizona, spreading the hazardous material throughout the intersection at about 4 a.m. in the morning. Because diesel fuel has the ability to dissolve asphalt, city officials took immediate plans to replace the section of roadway impacted by the spill.

Municipal Tort Liability in Arizona

Any driver impacted by the spill has a legal claim against the city of Peoria. If city officials fail to block the roadway or provide immediate repairs, then any drivers who are subsequently injured would also have a claim against the city.The Arizona Tort Claims Act provides the city of Peoria with limited immunity against tort claims in the event of an accident. Specifically, the Act protects government employees from tort liability if they are engaged in legislative or administrative functions at the time of the event, unless they were grossly negligent or intended to cause injury to others.

Consideration of the Safety of Future Drivers

If the city had failed to take immediate action to replace the roadway,  any drivers who suffered a subsequent injury may argue that the city was grossly negligent because the city knew about the accident but failed to take action to repair the roadway.

Asserting a Claim Against a Municipality

There are dozens of types of cases for which a city may be liable for a resident’s injuries. A city owes a duty of care to its residents, which encompasses maintaining safe public roadways and sidewalks. For example, if a city fails to repair a tree that has actively falling branches, a cyclist, driver, or runner who is injured by a falling branch may have a claim against the city. A person who wishes to assert a claim against a city must show that the city owed a duty of care to the resident, that the city breached this duty, that the breach was a direct cause of the injury, and that the person suffered measurable injury as a result.

Source:
http://www.azfamily.com/news/Tanker-spills-diesel-on-Peoria-intersection-after-crash-254728011.html