toxic exposure at work

Toxic exposure in the workplace is a serious issue that can lead to devastating health consequences for employees.

 

Whether it’s through inhalation, skin contact, or ingestion, being exposed to toxic substances or chemicals can result in severe illnesses, permanent injuries, or even death. Knowing your rights and how to file a personal injury claim is crucial if you or a loved one has suffered from toxic exposure at work.

 

This blog provides helpful information on filing a claim, the potential health impacts of exposure to chemicals in the workplace, employer liability, and the importance of hiring a personal injury attorney.

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Health Effects of Toxic Exposure at Work

Chronic exposure to dangerous or chemical substances in the workplace can lead to serious injury or illness. The type of negative consequences often depends on the specific chemicals or toxins involved and the duration of exposure. Common outcomes of frequent exposure to health hazards include:

Illnesses

  • Respiratory Diseases: Prolonged exposure to airborne toxins such as asbestos, silica dust, or chemical fumes can cause severe respiratory conditions like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and lung cancer.
  • Neurological Disorders: Chemicals such as lead, mercury, and solvents can affect the nervous system, leading to conditions like peripheral neuropathy, cognitive impairments, brain injury, and Parkinson’s disease.
  • Skin Conditions: Contact with various types of toxic substances can result in dermatitis, chemical burns, and other skin disorders.
  • Cancer: Long-term exposure to carcinogens like benzene, asbestos, and formaldehyde can increase the risk of various cancers, including leukemia, mesothelioma, and bladder cancer.

Death and Other Severe Consequences

Being constantly exposed to toxic chemicals can also be fatal. Acute poisoning from high levels of toxic chemicals can lead to immediate death, while chronic exposure can cause life-threatening diseases over time.

 

Other severe consequences include permanent organ damage, reproductive issues, and significant impairment in quality of life

Employer Liability and Responsibilities

Employers have a legal obligation to provide a safe working environment for their employees. Under the California Code of Regulations, several standards are in place to protect employees who work with hazardous items.

California Laws Protecting Workers

  1. California Occupational Safety and Health Act (Cal/OSHA): Cal/OSHA enforces workplace safety standards, including regulations on exposure to chemical exposure at work. Employers must adhere to these standards and take measures to minimize health and safety risks.
  2. Hazard Communication Standard (HCS): This regulation requires employers to inform and train employees about the dangerous chemicals they may be exposed to at work. It includes proper labeling of hazardous substances and access to safety data sheets.
  3. California Labor Code Section 6401: Employers must furnish a safe workplace and implement safety measures to protect employees from recognized dangers that can cause injuries and illnesses.

Employer Responsibilities in the Workplace

Employers are responsible for:

  1. Identifying and Evaluating Hazards: They must regularly assess the workplace for potential toxic hazards and evaluate the risks associated with them.
  2. Implementing Safety Controls: This includes engineering controls (e.g., ventilation systems), administrative controls (e.g., rotating shifts to limit exposure), and providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to minimize employee exposure.
  3. Providing Training and Information: Employees should be educated about the dangers they may encounter and how to protect themselves effectively.
  4. Monitoring Exposure Levels: Regular monitoring of toxic substance levels in the workplace helps ensure they remain within safe limits.
  5. Maintaining Records: Employers must keep records of exposure incidents, safety training, and monitoring results.

Recoverable Damages and Compensation from Chemical Exposure Claims

Victims of toxic exposure at work can seek various forms of compensation for their injuries or losses. The range of recoverable damages may include:

Medical Expenses

This includes costs for hospital stays, surgeries, medications, rehabilitation, and ongoing medical care.

Lost Wages

Compensation for the income lost due to inability to work while recovering from illness or injury.

Pain and Suffering

Damages for the physical pain and emotional distress caused by the toxic exposure and its consequences.

Loss of Consortium

Compensation for the impact on the victim’s relationship with their spouse or family members.

Wrongful Death Damages

If toxic exposure results in death, surviving family members can seek compensation for funeral expenses, loss of financial support, and loss of companionship through a wrongful death claim.

Is a Workers' Compensation Claim Different from
a Personal Injury Claim?

Yes. Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that provides benefits to employees who have been injured or become ill due to their work. This includes coverage for medical expenses and lost wages while they are unable to work.

 

A personal injury claim typically involves seeking compensation from another party for injuries or damages caused by their negligence or intentional actions. This can include compensation for not only medical expenses and lost wages, but also pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other losses.

 

In toxic exposure cases, both types of claims may be applicable. For example, if an employee develops cancer due to exposure to toxic chemicals at work, they may be able to file BOTH claims against the company responsible.

The Importance of Hiring a Personal Injury
and Compensation Attorney

the importance of hiring a personal injury and compensation attorney

Filing a claim for exposure to hazardous chemicals and environments can be challenging. Having a skilled personal injury attorney in California can significantly enhance your chances of success. Here’s why:

Expertise and Knowledge

A personal injury lawyer has in-depth knowledge of the relevant laws and regulations in California, ensuring that your claim is filed correctly and promptly.

Evidence Collection

An attorney can help gather and preserve crucial evidence, such as employee medical records, workplace safety reports, and expert testimonies, to support your case.

Negotiation Skills

Attorneys are experienced in negotiating with insurance companies and employers to secure fair settlements for their clients.

Representation in Court

If a settlement cannot be reached, a lawyer will represent you in court, presenting a compelling case to the judge or jury.

Victim of Toxic Exposure in the Workplace?
You May Be Able to File a Compensation Claim.
Call Us for FREE Consultation.

If you or a loved one has suffered from toxic exposure at work, don’t hesitate to seek legal assistance.

 

The experienced personal injury attorneys at RTM Law, APC | Personal Injury Attorney are here to help you understand your rights and pursue the medical care and financial compensation you deserve.

 

Contact us today for a free case review. We don’t charge any fees until we win.

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