Posted in Workers' Compensation on January 17, 2024
On-the-job chemical exposure affects workers in more industries than most people are aware of. Chemical hazards and toxic substances pose significant internal health hazards and physical hazards for workers throughout California across various industries. Here, we want to examine some of the most common chemical exposure issues workers face, as well as some of the health hazards associated with chemical exposure.
Health Effects of Chemical Exposure.
Chemical exposure in the workplace could lead to a wide range of effects, including immediate injuries as well as long-term complications:
- Immediate injuries. Chemical exposure can cause immediate injuries like chemical burns, respiratory issues, skin irritation, and even cancer.
- Long-term health effects. Repeated exposure, even if minor, can lead to chronic conditions such as occupational hearing loss, liver damage, bronchitis, and cancer.
- Specific injuries. Burns, rashes, throat or lung injuries, and nerve and neurological injuries are common effects of chemical exposure in the workplace.
Common Causes of Workplace Chemical Exposure
Workplace chemical exposure can occur due to a wide variety of reasons. Some of the main reasons these types of incidents happen include:
- Lack of proper training/safety equipment. Workers lacking training or adequate safety equipment are at a higher risk of suffering from injuries related to chemical exposure. This could be due to ignorance of safety protocols or direct exposure of skin and eyes to chemicals.
- Equipment failure/malfunction. Faulty equipment like respirators or valves in chemical tanks can lead to direct chemical exposure, significantly increasing the risk of injury.
- Poor ventilation systems. Inadequate ventilation can trap toxic fumes, increasing the risk of inhalation. Unsealed windows or doors could worsen conditions by allowing external pollutants to enter.
- Injection. This occurs when a sharp object, like a needle, punctures the skin, injecting chemicals directly into the bloodstream and allowing them to spread throughout the body.
Is Workers’ Compensation Available After On-The-Job Chemical Exposure?
In most situations, individuals harmed due to chemical exposure in the workplace will be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits are designed to help cover all medical expenses related to the workplace injury until a person reaches maximum medical recovery, as determined by the treating physician.
Additionally, individuals who are unable to work as a result of the chemical exposure may be able to recover supplemental wage replacement benefits that pay out if a person misses three or more days of work or if they are hospitalized.
There are very few exceptions to when a person is not eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits, so if you receive any pushback from an employer, an attorney should be your next call.
Speaking to an Attorney After Workplace Chemical Exposure
If you have been exposed to dangerous chemicals in the workplace, we encourage you to see a medical professional immediately. You may need to contact a Long Beach work injury lawyer who can assist you with the next steps moving forward. Chemical exposures in the workplace are serious, and you may be entitled to more than workers’ compensation benefits for what happened. An attorney can help you understand your options moving forward toward recovering the compensation you are entitled to.