Several workers in Hammonton, New Jersey were hospitalized after a hazmat incident. Workers claimed that they were not feeling well and had a burning sensation in their lungs and eyes.
Once everyone was evacuated and HAZMAT units arrived on the scene to investigate the accident, it was determined that a leak of fluoromethane refrigerant was the culprit. Fluoromethane, also known as Freon, is commonly used in air conditioning units. Inhalation of Freon can cause dizziness, headaches, irritation to eyes, frostbite and chemical burns. In worst-case scenarios, Freon poisoning can cause significant lung and brain damage.
Investigators believe that a malfunction in the HVAC system was responsible for the leak. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has announced that it will investigate the incident, but that an investigation could take more than six months.
According to workers, there was a fire on site several months prior to the Freon leak. There has been some speculation that the fire might have damaged the HVAC system.
After emergency responders arrived on the scene, 32 employees were assessed and 8 were sent to the hospital. Two workers had serious injuries and had to be evacuated by helicopter to a hospital. Workers with inhalation injuries can sometimes have permanent complications, and might qualify for workers’ compensation or disability benefits.
Can Employees Exposed to Chemicals Receive Workers’ Comp Benefits?
The work accident in Hammonton shows how injured workers can benefit from receiving workers’ comp and disability benefits. Earlier, we mentioned that Freon poisoning could cause significant brain damage. In New Jersey, workers with permanent injuries might be able to receive permanent total benefits.
When workers receive permanent total benefits, they are unable to return to any type of employment. In the case of a significant brain injury from chemical exposure, it is possible the injured worker could receive permanent benefits. Initial benefits are provided for the first 450 weeks and beyond if the worker can prove that he or she is still unable to return to work.
Depending on the circumstances of the case, family members and injured workers might be applicable for workers’ comp benefits. Contacting an attorney with questions about your case will cost nothing and might speed up the workers’ compensation or disability application process.
Our readers can learn more about workers’ compensation in New Jersey by continuing to explore our website.
Spevack Law Firm – Middlesex County Injury Attorneys