Are Employers Keeping Their Workers Safe From Chemical Exposure?

Injured workerOccupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officials have fined a Somerville custom-order cabinetry company $136,000 for exposing workers to methylene chloride, a known carcinogen. Methylene chloride exposure puts workers at an increased risk for cancer and organ damage.

During the OSHA investigation last March, 15 violations of worker safety were uncovered, including three that were willful. OSHA officials uncovered faulty training for handling methylene and a lack of hazard training. Some of the more egregious violations included a lack of protective equipment and eyewash facilities. Serious violations under OSHA guidelines occur when there is a significant risk to the workers’ health and life.

OSHA’s guidelines specify that workers have a right to receive information that will help them avoid risks to their health and safety while on the job and that they receive proper training for handling harmful chemicals. Additionally, employers must provide a safe working environment for employees.

How Often Do Workplace Violations Involving Chemical Exposure Occur?

Exposure to hazardous materials is one of the greatest risks that workers can face. The health risks of chemical exposure are so great due to the long-term costs and disabilities it can cause. Every year, tens of thousands face chemical exposure from asbestos, carcinogens and other dangerous materials. In 2012, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 340 workers died from exposure to harmful substances and another 13,680 were injured.

What Kinds of Illnesses and Injuries Follow a Chemical Exposure Accident?

Long-term costs of chemical exposure can be significant due to the illnesses that can arise from exposure. Illnesses and injuries that are common include:

  • Lung cancer and mesothelioma
  • Skin cancer and other skin diseases
  • Blindness
  • Burns

What Happens to Workers Who Are Injured On the Job?

Depending on who was at fault, a worker can either claim damages or receive workers’ compensation. It is important to receive legal representation to determine who is at fault and how to get compensation for your injury. Employers have a responsibility to ensure a safe working environment, and Spevack Law Firm can help hold them accountable. If you have questions for our team, reach out to us and visit our contact page.

[Did You Know: Smokers who are exposed to asbestos have an even higher risk of developing lung cancer.]

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