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Toxic-Chemical Exposure

Toxic chemicals are common in workplaces throughout every industry and every industry is subject to laws that attempt to regulate and establish safety standards to ensure proper handling and a safe workplace. Exposure to toxic chemicals can be detrimental to the health of people who work or are constantly exposed to these conditions. Toxic chemicals enter your body through the air you breath or through contact with your skin. Toxic chemicals exposures have certain regulations and any violation of them may result in fines or may cause a work-related accident. 

Orange County Workers Compensation Attorney can assure you that in the event of a chemical related injury, you are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. If you develop health issues after continuous exposure to toxic chemicals, you are entitled to medical coverage, wage loss benefits, and other compensations. Filing for claims of illnesses that developed over time requires that the employee provide proof that the work environment was unsafe and hazardous.

Under the Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA), employers have the responsibilities to ensure safety programs and regulations are followed by all employees and staff while on the job or performing a work-related task. If your employer violates the safe work-place regulations established by OSHA, and an employee develops an illness or injury as a result of employer negligence, the employee may file for workers’ compensation and receive immediate coverage.

The Orange County Workers Compensation Attorney's believe you should be covered with full disability and medical benefits if you develop an injury or illness from the constant exposure to toxic chemicals. Toxic chemicals are under strict regulation and any violation of your employer could be enough reason to file for workers’ compensation or file a civil lawsuit against third party members. Our team is ready to investigate your work-related injury case and find proof of a violation of toxic chemical regulations or employer negligence which may have led to your accident.

You may be exposed to toxic chemicals if you work:

  • As an electrician
  • As a painter
  • As a plumber
  • As a carpenter
  • Within the textile industry
  • As a railroad worker
  • As a welder
  • As a factory worker
  • As a transporter of chemical substances
  • Within the construction industry
  • Other

The workers mentioned above are exposed to the following disease and illnesses:

  • Lung cancer
  • Mesothelioma
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Asthma
  • Silicosis
  • Anemia
  • Hodgkin’s disease

Your employer has the obligation to protect all workers from being exposed to dangerous conditions. If you develop any of the symptoms mentioned above as a result of chemical exposure at work, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation and other benefits. Contact the Orange County Workers’ Compensation Attorneys if you are being denied your compensation rights or if you would like assistance with your workers’ compensations claims. Our attorneys can be reached at 949-423-3212. We are ready to answer any question and provide legal guidance on your case.

 Toxic Chemical Injuries in the Workplace

Toxic chemical exposure can lead to anything from developing an illness over a long period of time or can lead to instant death, injury, or illness depending on the type of chemical and quantity that is present at the time of contact. Toxic chemicals that can be life-altering should be controlled by an employer or company to prevent life-threatening conditions.

Being exposed to the following chemicals can greatly affect your long-term health:  Beryllium, Carbon monoxide, Chlorine dioxide, Creosote, Hydrochloric acid, Industrial alcohol, Isocyanates, Manganese, Pesticides, Photoresists, Polychlorinated biphenyl, Silica, Sodium dioxide, Sulfur dioxide, and Sulfuric acid.

Employees may experience nausea, memory loss, rashes, dizziness, shortness of breath, and other effects after coming into contact with these chemicals. In some cases, employees have developed cancer after being exposed to toxic conditions for a long period of time.

Some of the more common toxic chemicals include asbestos, benzene, lead, mercury.

Asbestos

Asbestos is a substance that can be found in a variety of workplaces due to the widespread use of the substance as an insulator. The fibers are used in the construction industry as an additive to the cement mixture and also used as an insulator for its resistance to heat or high temperatures. Asbestos in dust form causes the most harm to employees who are constantly working with or around the substance.

Asbestos can cause a painful skin rash or an itching sensation at first contact. Long-term contact with asbestos can lead to lung conditions known as asbestosis and mesothelioma. Lung cancer is a serious illness that develops over time through the exposure of different chemicals. If your employer failed to provide a safe work environment free of asbestos dust, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits to assure you a treated immediately with medical care.

To learn more about asbestos in the workplace please visit: www.osha.gov/SLTC/asbestos/

Benzene

Benzene is a substance that can be found in oil refineries, gas stations, and other workplaces that are governed by the petrol industry. In addition, it can also be found in paint, meaning that industrial, commercial, and residential buildings are exposed to the dangers of benzene.

Benzene is a component of crude oil often found in gasoline or oil-based substances. Benzene is colorless and has a smell recognizable to anyone who has ever been to a gasoline station. Exposure to this chemical can cause nausea, headaches, and skin rashes. Employees who are constantly exposed to this chemical may develop anemia (low red blood cell count). Benzene attacks the bone marrow resulting in a low white blood cell count which leaves the body vulnerable to infections and other illnesses.

To learn more about benzene in the workplace please visit: www.osha.gov/SLTC/benzene/standards.html

Lead

Lead is a toxic metal that can be found in a variety of industries and workplaces mainly due to its presence in paints. The United States has banned the use of lead in paints, but you may still be exposed to old paint which contains the benzene chemical. Those who are in the construction industry should especially be aware of this substance as it is present in older buildings and becomes airborne during renovation or restoration projects. In addition, plumbers working with lead pipes may also be exposed to the dangers of lead poisoning.

Lead has been shown to cause neurological problems as well as organ issues. Short-term effects of lead exposure to a human body may include insomnia, hallucinations, delirium, and memory loss. Some of the more serious effects may include kidney failure, male reproductive issues, heart disease, and learning disabilities.

To learn more about lead in the workplace please visit: www.osha.gov/SLTC/lead/

Mercury

Mercury is another common metal that is found in various industries due to its common use in items like light bulbs, thermostats, heating, and air conditioning equipment. Employees working with mercury should be aware that there are strict regulations and codes of conduct regarding the use of mercury.

Exposure to mercury may result in vomiting, diarrhea, and may affect your nervous system and other organs. Long-term exposure to mercury fumes or contact with the skin may result in kidney damage, memory loss, and other long-term health problems.

To learn more about mercury in the workplace please visit: www.osha.gov/SLTC/mercury/standards.html

Being exposed to the chemicals above may cause skin damage, organ complications, eye damage, nervous system damage, reproductive system damage, and death. The chemicals listed above and the top four common chemicals in the workplace, should be highly monitored and supervised to avoid causing harm to yourself and those around you.

Employers have the responsibility to ensure that all employees know how to handle and deal with each substance to ensure that their safety is not at risk while on the job. The employer is obligated under OSHA law to provide safe working environments for all individuals. The employer should provide masks, gloves, and other equipment to ensure the employees remain safe from contact.

All industries that fall under the Department of Labor are supervised and regulated by the laws implemented by the Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA has detailed regulations and codes of conducts that all employers are legally obligated to follow. These regulations serve to help employers keep a safe workplace and to teach workers how to handle toxic chemicals in the workplace.

If you suffer from an illness mentioned above or you have been exposed to a toxic chemical over a long period of time, you may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. If your employer is not keeping a safe work environment you may be entitled to file a claim against your employer's negligence. To learn more please contact your local state attorney.

OSHA and Toxic Chemicals

Under OSHA regulations employers are responsible for training their employees to work with hazardous chemicals and within hazardous conditions.

Employers are obligated to provide information on existing hazardous conditions from the start employment so that the employee is educated on the exposure to danger.

Employers are required to:

  • Train employees to detect the exposure of a toxic chemical
  • Provide visual information on safety standards and regulations to inform employees of the regulations and conditions of being exposed to toxic chemicals
  • Train employees on how to use protective gear and follow emergency procedures
  • Provide an OSHA certified chemical hygiene plan to ensure protocols are followed if employees come to contact with toxic material
  • Provide safety equipment to ensure employees have the right equipment to perform their task

Under OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), employers are required to label all hazardous chemicals and to ensure that everyone in the workplace is trained to handle the chemical properly. Taking the steps mentioned above could help create a safer working environment for all employees.

Liability

Your manager or employer has the responsibility to keep you safe from any work-related hazard. They are liable in the event of any work-related injury or illness which means they must provide workers’ compensation insurance. If you develop a work-related illness from being exposed to lead, mercury, benzene, asbestos or any other toxic chemical, your employer has the obligation to provide you with workers’ compensation benefits immediately after you submit your claim. Providing you with workers’ compensation benefits will ensure you are given the time and medical attention you need to fully recover from your illness.

In other cases, you may also file a civil claim against the chemical manufacturer for improper packaging of the substance. People in charge of transporting the chemical may also be at fault or those who dump toxins illegally. If you develop an illness from being exposed to chemicals there may be more than one factor contributing to your case. If there are multiple factors in your case you may be able to file different lawsuits for additional compensations.

Workers’ Compensation and Toxic Chemicals

Workers compensation laws ensure that in the event of a work-related injury you and your employer are legally insured and protected from lawsuits. Workers’ compensation puts the health of the employee at the forefront of the conversation to ensure the employee is treated with medical and disability benefits throughout his or her recovery.

Under workers’ compensation, an employee can file for disability and medical benefits if they are injured while performing a task within the scope of employment. In other words, if you are on the job or performing a work-related task outside of the job site and you are injured while performing the job, you are without a doubt capable of filing for workers’ compensation.

The Orange County Workers’ Compensation Attorneys are here to help guide you through the workers’ compensations filing process. In most cases you are entitled to:

  • Medical attention and medical costs
  • Physical therapy or vocational rehabilitation
  • Lost income and wages replacement
  • Disability benefits

Workers’ compensation ensures that all employees hurt while on the job receive immediate care.

Responsible employers understand the conditions of their workers which is why most of them provide workers’ compensation insurance. However, there are incidents of employers holding back their workers’ compensation for lack of proof of liability. It may become more difficult to prove an illness that has occurred over a long period of time. These cases require prove from various individuals and certified professional.

Orange County Workers Compensation Attorney believe that anyone suffering from a work-related injury or illness should be immediately compensated. If you developed an illness over a period of time, California law ensures that you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.

To learn more about your rights please contact our offices at 949-423-3212. We are ready to assist you on all legal matters.

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