Throughout the world, workers get exposed to hazardous chemicals at the workplace. Though employees have to work for their living and other needs, they also have a right to work in a safe environment. If you’re likely to be exposed to toxins, your employer is required by the law to provide this information. This can be found in the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). The information is there to ensure any worker knows the proper procedure required to handle and work with chemical substances. Also, there should be warning signs or labels present at the workplace to ensure employees are protected from harm. Harmful exposure can result from a one-time contact with the toxins or even prolonged exposure to these toxic substances. If you believe you have injuries or have been after by toxic exposure, seek medical attention immediately and then report the issue to your employer.
Dangers Of Toxic Exposure At The Workplace
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, exposure to harmful substances is among the top five common causes of fatalities experienced in the workplace. Toxic exposure is a serious risk that is faced by workers daily. While toxic exposure may lead to minor injuries such as mild airway irritation, to major injuries such as acute inhalation injuries , these can lead to permanent injuries or even disabilities. There are many types of toxic exposures that may be present at the workplace. Some of them include mercury, asbestos, benzene, uranium, arsenic, lead, and much more. If you have been in contact with these toxic chemicals, you may have injuries such as:
- Chemical burns
- Lund disease
- Skin irritation
- Brain injuries
- Eye irritation or even blindness
The above injuries may be caused due to:
- Lack of inadequate training of the workers especially those working in the emergency department
- Lack of labeling
- Faulty equipment’s and tools
If you have been exposed to the above chemicals, you may be able to file a claim and get compensation. If you’re not sure whether to file a claim a worker’s compensation claim or go to court, you may contact a Anchorage lawyer for advice.
What To Do After A Toxic Exposure In The Workplace
Your employer is supposed to make sure you’re aware of the toxin substances in your workplace. He/she should take proper preventive measures to eliminate or even reduce the presence of these exposures. As an employee, you also have a responsibility to protect yourself against chemical exposure. You can also take a step to warn your colleagues in case of anything as it’s critical to decrease the risks of such injuries that may lead to serious injuries or fatalities. Individuals react to chemicals in different ways. Therefore, it helps to know how you can protect yourself. You may consider the below:
- Ensure you’re aware of the potential toxic exposure at your workplace
- Ventilate the room and ensure everything is functioning properly
- Take preventive measures as an employee
If you believe you have been exposed to any chemical substance at your place of work, you can follow the below steps:
- Seek Medical Attention: If you need quick medical attention, don’t delay as this may cause more harm. If possible, you can get treatment from a medical doctor who deals with toxic exposures. Make sure to explain that you suffered injuries as a result of toxic exposure. The doctor will determine the extent of toxic exposure and advise accordingly. After the treatment, ensure to have copies of your medical report.
- Report the toxic exposure to your employer: Doing so will ensure your rights are protected from the beginning. It will be helpful when you want to file a worker’s compensation claim. You should fill an injury accident report that will include:
- The nature of your injuries, inclusive of the injured body parts
- Date and time of the accident
- Names of those who witnessed the exposure if any
After filing the form and handing it to your employer, make sure you have a copy for yourself.
The Worker’s Compensation Claim
It’s the responsibility of your employer to seek the worker’s compensation claim. Even if your employer ensured every reasonable precaution and you still had toxic exposure, you have the right to get benefits from worker’s compensation. The recovery is not based on any fault. What is required to be proved is that you got exposed to harmful substances. This will ensure you get the compensation for damages such as lost wages while you were recovering. If you have a toxic exposure that was caused by a third party’s negligence, you may be able to file a personal injury claim. To avoid unnecessary struggles, such as your claim being denied, it would be better to have a lawyer before you begin the recovery process.