When employees are exposed to toxic chemicals in the workplace, it is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that their workers are protected from harm. Unfortunately, not all employers take the necessary steps to protect their employees, and as a result, many individuals suffer from the effects of toxic chemical exposure.
This article will discuss the legal options available for individuals who have been exposed to toxic chemicals at work and the steps they can take to pursue compensation for their injuries and illnesses.
Common Examples of Toxic Chemicals at Workplaces
There are many toxic chemicals that individuals may be exposed to at work, and these can have serious health consequences, including the ones mentioned below.
- Aqueous Film-Forming Foam or AFFF
Firefighters are commonly exposed to AFFF, which is a type of foam used to extinguish fires. However, AFFF contains perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, which have been linked to cancer, thyroid disorders, and other health problems.
If you have an illness linked to your exposure to AFFF, you may be eligible to receive compensation after initiating appropriate legal action against the manufacturers. We suggest you track reliable online resources for the AFFF Lawsuit Update to stay informed about the courses of action available to you right now.
This naturally occurring mineral was widely used in construction and other industries for decades but has since been banned due to its carcinogenic properties. Individuals who work in older buildings or in industries that involve the handling of asbestos may be at risk of exposure.
Lead is a toxic heavy metal that can be found in paint, batteries, and other products. Individuals who work in construction, manufacturing, or in industries that involve the handling of lead-containing products may be at risk of exposure.
This chemical is commonly used in the manufacturing of plastics, rubber, and other products. Individuals who work in the petrochemical industry, or in industries that involve the handling of benzene-containing products may be at risk of exposure.
The OSHA or Occupational Safety and Health Administration mentions 1 part per million as the permissible limit for benzene in the workplace air. Anything more is considered toxic. The EPA Maximum Contaminant level is 5 parts per billion. You should be vigilant in case of any contamination and take precautions to protect yourself and your colleagues.
Many industries use solvents, such as toluene, xylene, and methylene chloride, to clean and degrease equipment and surfaces. These chemicals can be inhaled and absorbed through the skin and can lead to a variety of health problems, including cancer and neurological disorders.
Taking Legal Action for Exposure to Toxic Chemicals at Work
If you have been exposed to toxic chemicals at work and have suffered health effects as a result, you may be able to take legal action against your employer. Here are some steps you can take.
- Document Your Exposure
Keep detailed records of your exposure to toxic chemicals, including the date and time of your exposure, the names of the chemicals, and any symptoms you experienced as a result. It’s also important to keep a record of any medical treatment you receive, including the names of any doctors or hospitals you visit.
- Report Your Exposure
Inform your employer of your exposure to toxic chemicals and the health effects you have suffered as a result. Make sure to follow your employer’s procedures for reporting incidents and injuries.
- File a Claim With Workers’ Compensation
If you have been exposed to toxic chemicals at work, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits can include medical expenses, lost wages, and other costs related to your injury or illness.
An average worker’s compensation claim can range around $40,000 for injuries in the workplace, according to insurance portal Insureon. However, sometimes this is not enough to compensate for the trauma and expenses incurred in the long term for ailments like cancer due to exposure to carcinogens at the workplace.
- Consult With an Attorney
experienced in toxic tort litigation can help you understand your legal options and guide you through the process of taking legal action. They can help you gather evidence, file a claim, and negotiate with your employer or insurance company.
As there are more than 1.33 million lawyers in the United States, as per Statista’s latest estimates, you should have plenty of options when selecting a suitable lawyer in your area.
- Take Appropriate Legal Action
If your employer and their insurance company are unwilling to settle your claim, your attorney may recommend taking legal action in court. A lawsuit can help you recover damages for your medical expenses, lost wages, and other costs related to your injury or illness.
It’s important for individuals to be aware of the potential risks associated with exposure to these and other toxic chemicals, and for employers to take appropriate measures to protect their workers from harm. This may include providing personal protective equipment, ensuring proper ventilation, and providing regular training and education on the safe handling and disposal of toxic chemicals.
Also, note that laws and regulations vary by state and country and the time limit to file the claim also varies. It’s always best to seek the advice of an attorney who is familiar with the laws in your area and can help you understand your rights and options.