Every day, employees throughout New York are exposed to toxic chemicals and hazards at work. Exposure to these toxic chemicals can lead to illness, injury and even death. Your employer has a duty to maintain a safe and healthy workplace. If your employer failed to uphold that duty and you have become ill or injured due to toxic exposure, this may be a scary time for you. Let the experienced New York toxic exposure attorneys of Schwartzapfel® Lawyers, P.C. take over the work of explaining your rights and filing your claims.
What Is Toxic Exposure In The Workplace?
Toxic exposure in the workplace refers to any chemicals or products that can cause health hazards such as:
- Pulmonary issues
It also includes chemicals that have properties of:
Injuries can be caused by simple direct exposure to the chemical agent, or from explosions or fires that result from spills or interactions with other chemicals. Exposures cal also happen slowly over a prolonged period of time.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), has identified and regulated a great number of toxic substances that employees may encounter. OSHA requires employers to be aware of potential toxins, train employees and provide appropriate personal protective equipment to all employees who may be exposed to toxic chemicals.
Toxic Chemicals Commonly Used in New York Industries
Toxic agents can enter the body in a number of ways, including inhalation through breathing, absorption through the skin or ingestion or swallowing. Workers involved in construction, mining and metal-working have an increased risk of toxic exposure in the workplace. Common toxic chemical agents found in New York industries include:
- Nitrogen Oxides
- Chlorinated Hydrocarbon Solvents
- Carbon Monoxide
Toxic Exposure Injuries and Illnesses
Toxic exposure in the workplace can cause a wide variety of illnesses and injuries. These can range from minor chemical burns to disfigurement, cancer and death. To name a few:
Asbestos exposure can cause lung irritation, scarring, lung cancer and mesothelioma. It has also been suspected of causing gastrointestinal and colorectal cancers.
Cadmium, which is used as a rust-prevention coating on steel, can cause severe lung irritation, pulmonary edema; emphysema, kidney damage and death.
Mercury, also an anti-rust agent, can cause stomach pain, diarrhea, kidney damage, respiratory failure, tremors, emotional instability and hearing damage.
Lead fumes, produced by the welding or cutting of lead-bearing alloys or painted with lead-based paint, can lead to lead poisoning that causes brain damage, central nervous system issues, circulatory system issues and can damage the kidneys and muscles.
How You Can Protect Yourself From Toxic Exposure At Work
The best way to protect yourself from toxic exposure is to be aware and alert to your surroundings. Evidence of toxic chemicals may be present in the form of:
- Warning labels on packaging
- Warning signs posted throughout the workplace
- Rinse Stations
- Personal Protective Equipment Availability
Your employer will also be required to have Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) available for your reference for any hazardous materials that you may encounter in the workplace. Make it a point to read the MSDS. The MSDS will provide important information about the chemical, including toxicity, first aid and recommended or required personal protective equipment.
Read all warning labels on materials that you encounter. Make sure that you understand what they are and how to deal with them if they come into contact with your body or if they spill. Make sure that you know where the rinse stations are in case you experience a chemical burn. If you are issued personal protective equipment such as gloves and masks, wear them at all times while encountering chemical hazards.
Your Rights After Toxic Exposure In The Workplace
If you have been injured or suffered illness related to workplace toxic exposure, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Depending on the circumstances, you may also want to file a claim against certain third parties. Potential third parties may include:
- Manufacturers of the toxic materials
- Suppliers of the toxic materials
- Property Owners
The New York toxic exposure attorneys at Schwartzapfel® Lawyers, P.C. are experienced in identifying liability and can help you determine who may be held responsible for your injuries. Whether your workplace injury or illness involves workers’ compensation or a third-party personal injury claim, we can help. We have a proven track record of success in obtaining fair monetary compensation for our clients and securing their futures. Contact us today at 1-877-737-4806 or fill out our online contact form for a free case evaluation. We will fight for you!