If you’re like most people, you are probably unaware of the odds of being exposed to unhealthy chemicals at home, work, or while running your everyday errands. Although it might seem odd, an average person is exposed to hundreds of thousands of toxic chemicals every single day. Of course, the effects of this exposure will greatly vary in severity and length. Not every exposure will produce readily visible short-term effects but will take many years to show.
If you’re a worker in construction, excavation, mining, or similar industries, you’re likely to be exposed to toxins and dangerous environments on a daily basis at work. In that case, you might wonder if you’re eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Keep reading to learn more.
What are the Common Causes of Chemical Exposure in the Workplace?
Hazardous chemicals can enter your body through a variety of ways, most of which include:
- breathing in toxic gas or fine dust
- ingestion of toxic chemicals through food or drink
- skin contact with toxic agents
- injection of toxic substances.
Regardless of the way the toxic substance enters the body, once it enters your bloodstream, it might spread to other body parts.
What Hazardous Substances should You Look out for?
Certain occupations are more likely to suffer from chemical exposure. This includes workers’ that work with, or are in direct contact with cleaning products, such as degreasers, bleach, detergents, and toilet cleaners. There are other substances that can cause acute or chronic symptoms if precautionary measures are not taken, which include:
- caustic and corrosive chemicals
- heavy metals
- paints and glues
- petroleum products
- refrigerant gases
How to Reduce the Risk of Chemical Exposure?
There are various ways to eliminate or put the risk of chemical exposure in control. There are industry standards that need to be implemented to keep workers safe whenever there is a risk of contamination, injury, or chemical burn. For instance:
- You may have to use special protective clothing and gear, to protect your skin from chemical exposure
- Respiratory protection, such as face masks or helmets
- Avoiding touching anything with your naked hand, so you will have to use gloves
- Wearing eye protection
- Reduction of aggressive cleaning solutions such as bleach and degreasers, and replacement with natural alternatives where possible
- Regular workspace cleaning and keeping it orderly and clutter-free
- Raising awareness among fellow employees about chemical exposure and how to prevent injuries or reduce the risks
Am I Eligible for Workers’ Compensation after Chemical Exposure?
Although responsible employers will do their best to reduce the risk of chemical exposure in the working environment, accidents may happen. Regardless of the level of precaution taken, when you’re exposed to a gas leak or poisoning, or you sustained a chronic health condition due to the exposure, you have the right to claim workers’ compensation benefits.
The first step to undertake when you suspect that you were exposed to toxic chemicals is to see your doctor. Your chosen physician will carefully document your condition. In addition, your employer or supervisor needs to find ways to reduce or eliminate exposure to toxic chemicals in the working environment to boost productivity and eliminate health hazards. Once you have a plan for recovery, it’s time to get you back on your feet.
While you focus on your recovery, your employer should help you file for a workers’ compensation claim. Of course, you can act proactively and hire a workers’ compensation lawyer to help you from day one and get the maximum monetary compensation you are entitled to, including medical benefits.