The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has strict standards and regulations  to prevent workers in many different employment environments from being exposed to toxins, chemicals, or other hazardous substances while on the job. Unfortunately, OSHA also reports a large number of violations of these regulations, many of which are in Delaware. There are likely many additional instances of toxic exposure that occurs in the workplace that have not been reported or discovered by federal officials. This means that many workers are at risk for injury and illness due to toxic exposure while they are performing their job duties.
Injuries from hazardous chemicals
Dangerous and toxic chemicals can cause many different injuries and illnesses, depending on the particular substance in question and the other circumstances surrounding the exposure. The following are only some of the risks of toxic exposure in the workplace:
- Irritation of the skin, eyes, throat, lungs, or other parts of the body
- Burns from lye, acid, or other corrosive chemicals
- Burns or smoke inhalation from flammable chemicals
- Cancer, nervous system damage, liver damage, and other conditions from DDT and similar compounds
- Lead poisoning, causing abdominal pain, cognitive issues, hearing loss, fatigue, and other serious symptoms
- Brain damage due to inhalation of chemicals and oxygen deprivation
These are only some examples of the serious injuries that workers can sustain if they are exposed to toxic chemicals on the job.
Most of these injuries require extensive medical treatment and workers deserve to have their medical care provided by workers’ compensation insurance, just like for any other type of workplace injury. Additionally, if the injured victim must take time from work to recover, they should receive the full amount of income replacement available under workers’ compensation laws.
Workers’ Comp and asbestos injuries
Asbestos is a highly toxic mineral that has been used in many different industries and building materials. As a result, many workers have been exposed to asbestos at least once or repeatedly over the course of their job.
Over time, workers exposed to asbestos may develop an aggressive cancer called mesothelioma. This type of cancer arises from asbestos fibers getting lodged in the lungs for an extended period of time and the eventual formation of cancerous tumors. The prognosis for mesothelioma is often grim and treatment usually involves costly and painful chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery.
Workers’ compensation claims for mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses can be complex, however. Many times, it is not the employer’s fault the asbestos exposure occurred, but may be the fault of a suppliers, manufacturer, contractor, or another third party. In such cases, obtaining workers’ compensation benefits may be difficult, but victims do have the opportunity to file a legal claim against the liable party. It can be challenging to determine who was responsible for the exposure, so it is imperative to have a qualified attorney handling your case who knows how to fully investigate the circumstances of the workplace and the asbestos to determine your best course of legal action.
If a worker with mesothelioma does qualify for workers’ compensation, the benefits are usually substantial and can include significant death benefits for surviving family members if the individual does not survive their cancer.
Though asbestos is one of the most well-known toxins in a workplace, it is far from the only one and every worker should be aware of the possible hazards and cause for illness in their particular work environment.
Consult with an experienced Delaware workers’ compensation attorney for help
Every employer should follow the OSHA guidelines regarding toxic chemicals and similar hazards in the workplace. However, some employers make mistakes, accidents happen, and other companies may intentionally disregard these safety regulations to protect their bottom line at the risk of their workers’ health and well-being. No matter what you particular situation may be, the experienced workers’ compensation lawyers at Zavodnick, Zavodnick & Lasky can help. We will stand up for your right to full benefits if you suffered any type of injury or illness on the job. Cases involving toxic chemical exposure can be complex, however, so it is critical to have the highest quality of representation to ensure you obtain the medical care and financial benefits to which you are entitled. Call today at 302-364-6047 for a free consultation.