Almost any job and job site can expose employees to dangerous chemicals. While most cases of toxic chemical exposure occur in factories or locations where dangerous chemicals are used, manufactured, or mined, even office workers can suffer from exposure to cleaning chemicals or paint if the work area is not properly ventilated. If you suffer injury as a result of chemical exposure at work you should speak with an attorney about a worker’s compensation claim.
A worker can suffer injury from toxic chemicals from skin contact, breathing the fumes, or accidental swallowing of even a small amount of a chemical. Some of the more common symptoms of exposure to toxic chemicals are burns, rashes, dry/red eyes, hives, and throat or lung injuries. But nerve and neurological injuries (i.e. brain damage) from chemical exposure are not uncommon. In fact, certain types of industrial paint give off such toxic fumes that they can cause brain damage if the paint is applied without a powerful ventilation system.
As an attorney who represents Chicagoland clients in Workers’ Compensation claims, I fight for victims every day to gain the benefits they deserve. With the risks posed by exposure to toxic chemicals, I want to offer some suggestions that will reduce the likelihood that you will suffer an injury by such exposure at work.
Wear the ‘Right’ Protective Gear. Depending on the chemical being used, proper safety equipment may include goggles, gloves, helmet, full body suit, and exhaust fans or other means of ventilation. It is always the employer’s duty to ensure that its workers have the proper protective gear.
Check Chemical Labels. Some of the more common toxic chemicals and substances that can cause injury on the job are benzene, pesticides, cadmium, beryllium, mercury silica, paint, solvents, acids, lead, and asbestos. Ask your supervisor if you see any of these names on packages or work orders. It is always the employer’s duty to ensure that its workers enjoy a safe work environment.
Inquire About Odors. Small work areas are particularly vulnerable to poor ventilation. If you notice any out-of-the-ordinary smells or odors, alert your supervisor immediately. It is always the employer’s duty to ensure that your work area is properly ventilated and air is circulating properly.
What To Do If You’re Injured.
If you suffer a chemical exposure injury on the job, you are entitled to file a Workers’ Compensation claim. Based upon my years of experience, I can offer a 5-step checklist to maximize success with your claims. I know the territory, the pitfalls, and the hurdles.
Step 1: Medical Care. First and foremost is your health. Seek medical attention immediately after you believe you’ve been exposed. Be sure to get copies of medical records regarding your treatment. Being examined by a physician and following their medical advice is first priority.
Step 2: Notify your employer. Following your initial medical treatment, notify your employer. Do not wait. In Illinois, you have only a short time to notify your employer of the injury.
Step 3: Document the situation. Being exposed to toxic chemicals is scary. Details are easy to overlook. Write down what you remember happening as soon as possible in your private notes. Was your protective gear or safety equipment inadequate? What was happening just prior to the accident? Where were you located? Who came to help? Get the names of witnesses. Do not share these notes with anyone other than your attorney who will find these enormously helpful in fighting for you.
Step 4: Notify your union. If you’re a member of a union, make your steward aware of your injury. Your union can provide significant help.
Step 5: Retain an attorney. Contact Chicago Workers Compensation lawyer who is knowledgeable and experienced. Depending on where the chemical came from and who controlled the job site where the exposure occurred is key to successfully satisfying your claim. We help you navigate the claims process to insure that you receive all the benefits you deserve. We fight for your rights, your benefits, and assist with all the details.
We Help Victims.
The Attorneys at Friend, Levinson & Turner Law apply a disciplined approach to gain a comprehensive perspective of the facts, issues, and injuries experienced by victims of work related injuries. Our knowledge, experience, insight, and advice are invaluable. We make the legal process as stress-free as possible. We focus on recovering the compensation you deserve, while you focus upon recovery.
The attorneys at Friend, Levinson & Turner Law make the legal process as stress-free as possible. We focus on recovering compensation for you – while you concentrate on your physical and emotional recovery.
If you or a loved one is injured at work, please call my office at 312-346-8465 or contact us using the form below.