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Toxic Substance Exposure: What Workers Should Know

You may not have realized it before, but you could be actively accruing injury as a result of exposure to toxic substances each time you report to work. Whether you work directly with such substances or are otherwise employed where they’re manufactured or used, constant and consistent exposure to them can result in adverse effects upon your health.

What OSHA Says about Toxic Chemicals

According to regulations from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), it’s the employer’s responsibility to properly train employees to work with toxic substances and chemicals. Employers are also obligated to inform employees on any existing hazardous conditions from the beginning of employment, so that the employee is aware of their potential exposure to danger.

OSHA further requires employers to do the following:

  • Train all employees on how to detect exposure to a toxic substance.
  • Provide visual information that informs employees of safety standards and regulations regarding exposure to toxic substances.
  • Train employees on how to effectively use protective equipment and follow emergency procedures to limit exposure to toxic substances.
  • Provide protective equipment that allows employees to perform their tasks while minimizing the risk of exposure to toxic substances.
  • Distribute an OSHA-certified chemical hygiene plan that ensures employees can follow proper procedures after coming into contact with toxic substances.

Safety Is an Employer’s Responsibility

Employers in California are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. They are also required to ensure their employees are safe from work-related hazards. If any work-related illness or injury occurs as a result of exposure to toxic substances – whether suddenly or over a period of time – the employer must provide workers’ compensation benefits.

This is especially the case if your work-related illness or injury is a result of exposure to:

  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Benzene
  • Asbestos

These are just a few of the most commonly contacted toxic substances, but you can review dozens more on OSHA’s website.

Can I Sue My Employer for My Illness of Injury?

The purpose of workers’ compensation laws is to prevent lawsuits arising when employees are injured at work. In return for protection against liability for personal injury lawsuits, employers in California are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ compensation allows employees to file for and receive disability and medical benefits after becoming ill or injured while performing work-related tasks.

In most cases, California workers are entitled to compensation for the following:

  • Medical costs
  • Physical therapy and/or vocational rehabilitation
  • Loss of income and wages
  • Disability benefits

Do You Need Help with Workers’ Compensation?

If you became ill or were injured as a result of exposure to toxic substances at your work, reach out to Smolich & Smolich today to get assistance for your workers’ compensation claim. We can help you file for the benefits you need to afford medical bills, therapy costs, or any loss of income you may have experienced as a result of your illness or injury.

For more information, get in touch with Smolich & Smolich today by contacting us online.

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