You may work with or handle a lot of chemicals as part of your job – and you know that you need to take precautions. But, accidents can and will happen all the time. It’s not uncommon for a drop or two of chemicals to spill out of their container, even when you’re being careful. Is there really a lot of cause for concern? There may be. Chemical exposure in the workplace can be incredibly common, and people often don’t really understand the risks.
Harmful chemicals could exist in many places like your workplace, school, home, a friend's house, or in businesses near you. If you have been exposed to hazardous materials, it is important to speak with a lawyer as they can help you obtain compensation that can have a significant impact on your health and recovery.
We work on a contingency fee basis. A contingency fee is when we don’t get paid unless you get paid. We cover all the case expenses and only collect to cover those costs when we win a settlement for you. A contingency fee ensures we work hard for your case, and you don’t have even more out-of-pocket expenses. We offer contingency fees for other areas of practice, such as:
Take, for example, the case of chemist Karen Wetterhahn, who accidentally spilled a couple of drops of a chemical called dimethylmercury on her latex gloves back in 1996. Even though she followed the safety protocols of the time to the letter, she died of chemical poisoning less than a year later.
A chemical's toxicity indicates how hazardous it is to your health. The level of harm a chemical can cause is determined by how much of it is absorbed, its chemical composition, and the body's ability to neutralize it. The risk associated with a chemical is the likelihood that it will cause harm.
Some of the most commonly found toxic chemicals are:
Asbestos is a hazardous material that is frequently used in construction and insulation. It can be found in many working environments, and its dust particles can cause cancer. It can take many years or even decades for symptoms of mesothelioma to appear.
Benzene, a toxic gas commonly found in paint fumes, has been linked to leukemia. Symptoms such as headaches, nausea, and rashes are some of the first signs of exposure.
Mercury is a toxic substance that can be ingested or breathed in, causing permanent harm to the nervous system. Mercury poisoning can cause loss of coordination and muscle control in its early stages. There are various forms of toxic chemicals, ranging from liquids to gases. Since 1950, an estimated 70,000 new chemicals have been produced and released into the environment.
These dangerous chemicals can be located in various locations:
Cleaning supplies, beauty products, and lead-based paints are some common sources of hazardous toxins in households. The Consumer Protection Agency has determined that up to 150 chemicals are associated with birth defects, cancer, and mental health disorders.
In the workplace, employees may be exposed to hazardous dust, fumes or liquids on a regular basis in factories or industrial workplaces. When an object undergoes a transformation, such as when wood is cut or material is burned, certain chemicals are released into the environment, like dust particles and vapors. Even office environments can be hazardous if asbestos or mold is present in the heating and cooling system.
Many watersheds, rivers, streams, lakes and ponds have become contaminated as the result of accidental spills, illegal dumping or hazardous waste disposal. Factories may also emit dangerous chemicals into nearby residential areas.
Chemical exposure in the workplace can have serious health implications for workers, and it is important that employers take the necessary steps to protect their employees from potential danger. Here are some of the measures employers must implement in order to reduce chemical exposure risks in the workplace:
1. Ensure proper labeling of all chemicals with safety data sheets (SDSs) so that workers are aware of any potential hazards associated with each substance.
2. Implement an effective ventilation system to ensure any airborne particles are kept at safe levels in the work environment.
3. Provide personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, respirators, and eyewear to workers who may be handling hazardous substances on a regular basis.
4. Restrict access to certain areas of the workplace where potentially dangerous chemicals are being stored or used.
5. Monitor air quality regularly with air monitors to detect any levels that may pose a hazard to workers' health over time and ensure those levels remain safe according to OSHA standards and regulations.
A chemical exposure lawyer can help you if you believe you have suffered an injury, illness or environmental damage caused by a chemical agent. These attorneys specialize in cases involving the safe use and management of hazardous substances. They can assist you with filing a lawsuit for compensation for medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages. Additionally, they will research relevant laws and regulations surrounding the incident that exposed you to chemicals, evaluate available evidence and work with expert witnesses to build a strong case on your behalf. A chemical exposure lawyer can also help negotiate a settlement or go to court on your behalf if necessary.
There are many signs of chemical exposure, some of the most common being:
1. Immediately exit the area filled with hazardous chemicals and get to a safe location as fast as possible.
2. Seek medical attention immediately, following directions provided by local poison control or your doctor.
3. If possible, identify what type of chemical you may have been exposed to (all information should be on the label), and note any symptoms you are experiencing, such as difficulty breathing, rashes, burning sensation in throat/nose/eyes etc.
4. Any clothing that has been contaminated must be removed and disposed of properly if it cannot be washed thoroughly without causing injury.
5. Move to an open area filled with fresh air for 30 minutes and seek medical treatment at a hospital if symptoms persist or worsen after this period of time.
6. Make sure to contact your employer about your exposure so they can provide guidance and assistance including taking preventive measures such as removing any source of contamination or providing protective clothing or respirators to avoid future exposures in the workplace if needed.
7. Follow up with your doctor regularly regarding treatments or tests related to the exposure incident so they can ensure it was handled properly and record all results for future reference in case of long-term effects developing over time due to the incident
8. Educate yourself more about safety techniques when handling hazardous materials and familiarize yourself with first aid procedures in case of being exposed again in the future
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