Sternberg | Forsythe, PA, is a law firm that specializes in representing clients who have been injured on the job due to exposure to harmful chemicals and fumes. Workplace exposure to these hazardous substances can have serious consequences for workers’, including long-term health problems, disability, and even death.
Unfortunately, many employers fail to take the necessary precautions to protect their employees from these dangers, putting them at risk for injury or illness. That’s where our law firm comes in. With our expertise in workplace injury law, we are dedicated to helping clients receive the compensation they deserve for their injuries and holding employers accountable for their negligence.
If you or a loved one has been harmed due to exposure to chemicals or fumes in the workplace, Sternberg | Forsythe, PA, can help you seek justice and get back on the road to recovery.
Statistics on Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses Due to Exposure to Chemicals or Fumes
Workplace exposure to chemicals and fumes is a serious issue across the United States, and Florida is no exception. According to data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), more than 50,000 workers’ die yearly due to exposure to hazardous substances, with an estimated 190,000 new cases of work-related illnesses reported annually.
These illnesses can include respiratory problems, skin irritation, neurological damage, and cancer, among others. It is essential for employers to take steps to prevent exposure to these substances and for workers’ to be aware of the risks and protect themselves accordingly.
Causes of Exposure to Chemicals or Fumes on the Job
Chemical exposure on the job can occur due to a variety of reasons, including:
- Lack of Proper Safety Measures: Employers are responsible for providing a safe working environment for their employees. Failure to implement appropriate safety measures, such as providing protective gear or ensuring proper ventilation, can put workers’ at risk of chemical exposure.
- Improper Use of Chemicals: Improper handling or use of chemicals can lead to exposure. This includes not following proper procedures for storing, transporting, or disposing of chemicals and not using protective equipment such as gloves or masks when necessary.
- Accidents: Accidents such as spills, leaks, or explosions can release harmful chemicals into the air, putting workers’ at risk of exposure.
- Inadequate Training: Workers’ without proper training in handling and using chemicals may be exposed. They may not know how to handle chemicals properly or be unaware of the potential dangers associated with their work.
- Negligence: Employers or coworkers’ who act negligently by not taking appropriate precautions or ignoring safety regulations can put workers’ at risk of chemical exposure.
- Maintenance and Equipment Failure: Failure to properly maintain equipment that comes into contact with chemicals, such as storage tanks, pipes, and valves, can lead to leaks, spills, or other accidents that result in chemical exposure.
- Third-Party Negligence: Workers’ may also be exposed to chemicals due to third-party negligence. For example, a contractor or supplier who fails to properly label or package chemicals can put workers’ at risk of exposure.
- Environmental Factors: Workers’ may be exposed to chemicals due to environmental factors, such as contamination of air, water, or soil around the workplace.
- Working with Hazardous Materials: Some jobs involve working with hazardous materials, such as asbestos or lead, which can cause serious health problems if proper safety measures are not taken.
Exposure to chemicals or fumes can have dire consequences, and employers and employees must work to prevent this from happening.
Injuries Caused by Exposure to Chemicals or Fumes on the Job
Exposure to hazardous chemicals in the workplace can cause various injuries and illnesses, ranging from minor skin irritation to long-term health problems and even death. Some of the most common injuries resulting from chemical exposure on the job include:
- Respiratory Problems: Chemical exposure and fumes can lead to respiratory problems such as asthma, bronchitis, and lung damage. These conditions can be caused by inhalation of airborne particles or direct contact with the skin.
- Skin Irritation: Chemicals can cause skin irritation, rashes, burns, and blisters, especially if the skin is exposed to concentrated doses of chemicals over long periods.
- Eye Injuries: Chemical exposure can cause eye injuries ranging from mild irritation to permanent damage or blindness. Chemicals can splash into the eyes or be absorbed through the conjunctiva, causing severe burns, corneal damage, or other serious conditions.
- Neurological Damage: Some chemicals can cause neurological damage, resulting in symptoms such as seizures, tremors, or memory loss. Long-term exposure to certain chemicals can also increase the risk of developing neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s.
- Cancer: Exposure to certain chemicals have been linked to an increased risk of developing various types of cancer, including lung, skin, bladder, and liver cancer.
Employers must take measures to prevent chemical exposure in the workplace and for workers to be aware of the risks and take appropriate safety precautions.
Receiving Workers’ Compensation in Florida for Chemical Exposure
Workers’ in Florida who have been injured or become ill due to chemical exposure on the job may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that benefits employees who are injured or become ill due to their work.
In Florida, employers must have workers’ comp insurance coverage to compensate injured workers’ if an injury or illness occurs.
To receive workers’ compensation benefits for chemical exposure in Florida, you must report your injury or illness to your employer as soon as possible and file a workers’ compensation claim. You must provide medical evidence of your injury or illness, such as doctor’s reports or test results, to support your claim. The benefits you receive will depend on the severity of your injury or illness and may include medical expenses, wage replacement, and rehabilitation services.
FAQs about Exposure to Chemicals and Fumes on the Job
What should I do if I have been exposed to chemicals on the job?
If you have been exposed to chemicals on the job, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. You should also report the exposure to your employer immediately and file a workers’ compensation claim if you are eligible.
What types of chemicals are commonly found in workplaces?
Chemicals commonly found in workplaces include solvents, cleaning agents, pesticides, heavy metals, asbestos, and lead.
What are the long-term health effects of exposure to chemicals?
Exposure to chemicals on the job can lead to various long-term health effects, including respiratory problems, skin irritation, neurological damage, and cancer.
Can I sue my employer for chemical exposure on the job?
In Florida, workers’ who are injured or become ill due to chemical exposure on the job are generally limited to filing a workers’ compensation claim against their employer. However, there may be circumstances where it is possible to file a personal injury lawsuit against a third party, such as a contractor or supplier.
What if my employer doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance?
Employers in Florida are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. If your employer does not have insurance, you may be able to file a claim through the Florida Workers’ Compensation Insurance Guaranty Association.
How long do I have to file a workers’ compensation claim for chemical exposure?
In Florida, you have up to two years from the date of the injury or illness to file a workers’ compensation claim. It is important to file your claim as soon as possible to ensure you receive the benefits you are entitled to.
What are my employer’s responsibilities for preventing chemical exposure in the workplace?
Employers in Florida are required to provide a safe working environment for their employees, which includes taking appropriate measures to prevent chemical exposure. This may include providing protective gear, ensuring proper ventilation, and implementing safe handling and storage procedures.
What should I do if I think my workplace is unsafe due to chemical exposure?
If you believe your workplace is unsafe due to chemical exposure, you should report your concerns to your employer or supervisor. If your employer does not take appropriate action to address the issue, you may want to contact the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to file a complaint.
What if I am unable to work due to chemical exposure?
If you cannot work due to chemical exposure, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, including wage replacement benefits.
What if I am exposed to chemicals outside of work?
If you are exposed to chemicals outside of work, you may be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit against the party responsible for the exposure.
What are my rights as an employee if I have been exposed to chemicals on the job?
As an employee exposed to chemicals on the job, you can seek medical attention and file a workers’ compensation claim if you are eligible. You also have the right to report unsafe working conditions and to refuse work that you believe is unsafe due to chemical exposure.
Our Legal Team Will Help You Secure the Workers’ Compensation Benefits You Deserve
Exposure to chemicals or fumes at work can have serious consequences for workers’, ranging from short-term health problems to long-term disabilities and even death. If you or a loved one has been injured due to chemical exposure on the job, it is important to seek medical attention and legal guidance as soon as possible.
At Sternberg | Forsythe, PA, we are dedicated to helping our clients seek justice and receive the compensation they deserve for their injuries. Our experienced attorneys are well-versed in workplace injury law and can guide you through the process of filing a workers’ compensation claim or pursuing legal action against a negligent party.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help you navigate this challenging time.