Hexavalent chromium is a known carcinogen that can be produced by industrial processes. In addition to causing cancer, the harmful chemical can damage the kidneys, liver, skin, eyes and respiratory system.
Employees in charge of welding and other types of “hot work” are at the highest risk for chromium exposure due to high levels of chromium in certain metals. For that reason, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) tries to protect workers by enforcing several regulations governing chromium use.
OSHA inspectors found unacceptable levels of chromium exposure at an aluminum extruding plant owned by Keymark Corp. Management at the plant failed to keep track of workers’ chromium exposure, and the harmful chemical was allowed to accumulate on surfaces in the facility.
Workers who were regularly exposed to chromium had no appropriate changing areas, and management failed to make sure that chromium-contaminated clothing was sealed, stored and transported properly.
These oversights could increase worker exposure and allow traces of chromium to contaminate other areas of the factory. If these areas do not have the right safety measures in place, those workers could suffer permanent health issues.
Keymark also failed to ensure that mandatory personal protective equipment (PPE) was provided, including clothes and respiratory equipment. Even available pieces of PPE were improperly cleaned and maintained.
OSHA cited Keymark for 11 serious safety violations, resulting in more than $50,000 in fines. The company has 15 days to comply with penalties or refute OSHA’s findings.
Did Chemical Exposure Cause My Illness?
Exposure to harmful substances can have lingering effects long after the initial contact. It is every employer’s responsibility to make sure that workers have the right training and safety equipment to protect themselves.
If you have suffered an illness due to chemical exposure, Spevack Law Firm can help you hold the right parties responsible. Schedule a free consultation to speak with one of our experienced workers’ comp attorneys today. We are here to fight for workers and their right to work safely.
[Did You Know: Every year, chromium exposure affects 558,000 workers nationwide.]
Spevack Law Firm – Middlesex County Personal Injury Lawyers