Arizona Law Expands Fine for Worker Deaths

By | May 30, 2008

Thanks to a bill recently signed by Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, families of workers in the state now have greater protections when companies willfully or repeatedly violate laws and it results in a worker’s death.

Senate Bill 1125, “Amending Sections 23-418.01 and 23-901, Arizona Revised Statutes; Relating to Workers’ Compensation,” stipulates that the state Industrial Commission can assess an extra $25,000 penalty against an employer for each employee injury resulting in permanent disability or death, with the money going either to the employee’s dependents or estate. Previously, the money could only go to dependents, and if the employee did not have dependents, the employer would not be assessed the additional fine.

The bill developed as the result of an accident at a Phoenix company, in which an employee died. Because the employee did not have a wife or children, the Industrial Commission could not fine the company an additional $25,000. On the other hand, if the employee did have a wife or children, it would have been mandatory for the Commission to impose the extra fine.

With the new law, it doesn’t matter if the injured or deceased employee has dependents; the fine can be assessed and awarded to the employee’s estate.

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Source: Arizona Legislature

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