With each workplace comes unique hazards and potential for dangerous situations. Employers will always do their best to enforce safe practices within the workplace and try to eliminate any hazards if possible. Yet, any employee in any workplace environment can still face potential dangers, especially if the workplace has toxic chemicals. When toxic chemicals and substances are present in a workplace, any employee’s health is at greater risk. Even though you and your employer may follow safety precautions, accidents can still occur, and your health may still be at risk. Hazardous chemicals and toxins can lead to serious health risks and illnesses. If your health has become compromised or if you have become ill due to toxins or chemicals in the workplace, you may be able to receive workers’ compensation.
With workers’ compensation, you may be able to receive financial assistance for the proper medical attention and services for your condition. As a worker in California, you have a right to receive workers’ compensation for work-related injuries and illnesses. Of course, with these benefits, there is a specific process you must follow. Also, there may be certain conditions that you must meet in order to receive proper compensation for your injury or illness. At The Workers Compensation Attorney Law Firm, we aim to provide workers in the Los Angeles area with the proper knowledge and assistance in these matters. After all, you deserve any compensation you may be able to receive.
Types of Toxic and Chemical Exposure in the Workplace
The types of toxic chemicals and substances that may be found in a workplace can vary depending on many different factors such as the line of work, the workplace environment, and more. Some workers may be more at risk of chemical exposure than others depending on the circumstances. Common workplaces in which these types of hazard may take place include factories, manufacturing, construction zones, and more. When it comes to chemical and toxin exposure, there are also many different types of situations in which you may become affected health wise. This could be from either a one-time incident of exposure or from more prolonged exposure over a span of time. Toxic and chemical exposure can arise from many different types of situations that may range from cleaning chemicals to more toxic chemicals.
- While doing a deep clean of his workplace, Jason spills some highly hazardous chemicals on himself and it lands on his arms. The contact with the chemicals leads to a burning sensation.
- Miranda works in an old office building. After ten years of working, she learns that she has developed mesothelioma, a disease caused by asbestos. It turns out the old building was filled with asbestos.
Common types of hazardous chemicals that may be found in a workplace include acids, asbestos, benzene, beryllium, cadmium, lead, mercury, paint, pesticides, silica, and solvents. Of course, these chemicals and toxins may be present in certain substances at varying degrees. For plumbers, insulators, construction workers, janitors, and even office workers, asbestos can be a real risk since it can be found in older buildings. Benzene is a chemical that can be commonly found in oil, gasoline, and plastic manufacturing factories. Silica is a hazardous type of dust that commonly occurs in mining and drilling sites. These chemicals and toxins can cause significant damage to your health, and can even lead to cancer or lung disease.
Your employer must show where hazardous materials and substances are located in the workplace and how they should be handled to ensure the safety of yourself and everyone else in the workplace. However, even though you may be aware of the hazard and practice proper precaution, accidents may still occur.
Depending on your workplace, toxic and chemical exposure may occur through a variety of situations. Whether you work in a manufacturing factory or an office, the toxic and chemical hazards can vary on type and on the degree of exposure. For example, toxic or chemical exposure in an office space may occur through the use of cleaning chemicals or paint if the workspace is not properly ventilated while these chemicals are in use. This may seem minor in nature, but it can still have a major impact on an employee’s health and lead to serious issues. In factories and other workplaces in which there may be more chemicals, workers may be at even greater risk of exposure to toxins and chemicals.
- Richard works in a manufacturing factory. Working in the assembly line, he works with highly toxic chemicals. One day, his protective gloves rip and the chemicals make contact with his skin.
- Marla also works in the same factory and in the same assembly line. One day, she accidentally drops her protective goggles. A crack forms in the goggles; however, she is unaware. Some of the chemicals seep into the goggles and get into her eyes.
Usually, injuries related to toxic and chemical exposure occur from skin contact, inhalation of toxic fumes, or accidental consumption of chemicals even in the smallest amount.
Possible Injuries from Toxic and Chemical Exposure
Due to the hazardous nature of some chemicals and toxins, they may lead to serious injuries or conditions for any worker who makes contact with them. Once again, there are many possible situations in which you may face toxic or chemical exposure in the workplace. All employers will do their best eliminate these hazards due to the potentially debilitating effects they may have on any employee. The most common cause of chemical or toxin injury may occur through skin contact, inhalation of toxic fumes, and accidental consumption of chemicals.
If you have made contact with hazardous chemicals or toxins, then it may lead to certain types of injuries. These may include burns, rashes, throat or lung injuries depending on the chemicals and how you made contact with them. Hazardous chemicals and toxins can even lead to more serious injuries and conditions. These can include nerve and neurological injuries depending on the circumstances. These types of injuries can still be caused by skin contact, inhalation of toxic fumes, or accidental consumption of chemicals. Some chemicals may even lead to brain damage. For example, toxic paint fumes may lead to brain damage if the area that is being painted is not properly ventilated.
Even though chemical and toxic exposure may seem like a minor threat to your health while in the workplace, it can cause serious damage to your health. Even if you have made contact with chemicals or toxins in small amounts, you may still be at risk to health damage and injuries depending on your situation.
Can I Receive Workers’ Compensation for Toxic / Chemical Exposure?
If you have suffered from an injury stemming from toxic or chemical exposure in your workplace, then you may be able to receive workers’ compensation. In California, all employees have a right to receive workers’ compensation for work-related injuries and illnesses. Also, all employers are legally obligated to have workers’ compensation insurance for all employees. Since workers’ compensation is meant to cover any work-related injury or illness, most types and forms of chemical exposure can be covered as well. This is important to know about, especially for workers who work with hazardous materials and substances on a daily basis.
All of this is to ensure the health of workers across the state and to provide assistance to employees should anything unfortunate occur within the workplace. It must be noted that, with workers’ compensation, it is a ‘no-fault’ system. This means that you do not need to prove that your employer did anything wrong in order for the incident to take place. Simply, when it comes to this type of situation, you would just need to prove that you have sustained an injury caused by handling or coming into contact with hazardous chemicals in the workplace. Also, if your workplace does have the proper precautions and procedures in place when handling or working with hazardous chemicals, you can still receive workers’ compensation if you have become injured or have developed a health condition.
With workers’ compensation, you may receive certain benefits depending on your situation. If you have been approved to receive compensation, the insurance will determine what is necessary in order to treat your injury or condition. There are some common types of workers’ compensation. These include:
- Medical coverage
- Temporary disability benefits (TD)
- Permanent disability benefits (PD)
- Supplemental job displacement benefits (SJDB)
Under workers’ compensation, the benefits you will receive will be dependent on the seriousness of your injury or condition and on what necessary treatments should be covered. This can include coverage for expenses related to treatments and doctor visits. Also, if you have sustained a serious injury or condition that requires you to stop working, then you may receive temporary or permanent disability benefits depending on the severity of the case. Under these benefits, you may also receive monthly payments that will cover for a percentage of any lost wages caused by the injury or condition. Lastly, if you have recovered but you are unable to return to your old job, then you may receive supplemental job displacement benefits. With this, you will receive financial assistance for any necessary training or skill learning in order to find a new occupation.
If you have received workers’ compensation benefits due to your injury or illness, then it is important to stay in contact between your employer, your doctor/health care provider, and your claims administrator. This is done so that you can make sure your treatments are covered under the benefits. Also, it will be determined when you may return to work, or if you need any work modifications to make your job easier. Once again, your health should be the top priority. By staying in contact, you can ensure a speedy recovery and an easy return to work if necessary.
When it comes to workers’ compensation, you may still be eligible to receive benefits for a work-related chemical or toxin exposure. After, these chemicals and toxins can have a significant effect on your health. So, it is important that you are covered in case anything occurs in the workplace.
What Should I Do If I Have Been Exposed to Hazardous Chemicals or Toxins?
If you have been exposed to hazardous chemicals or toxins in the workplace, there are a couple of steps you should follow, especially if you want to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Of course, the first step you should take is seeking medical attention if necessary. Even in cases where chemical exposure is not very apparent, you may still seek the expertise of a doctor or physician if you suspect that you have been exposed to hazardous substances. From there, you will be notified if you developed a physical condition due to the presence of chemicals or toxins in the workplace. The next steps you should take include:
- Notify your employer or supervisor about the chemical exposure
- Fill out a workers’ compensation claim form
- Receive notification regarding approval or denial
- Receive proper medical treatment for your injury or condition
If you are able to, you should always alert your employer or supervisor about any injuries or illnesses that have occurred within the workplace. If you have been exposed to hazardous chemicals, it is crucial to notify them so that they may reduce the chance any other employee may be exposed, and they may get started on the workers’ compensation process. Also, you should report your injury or condition within thirty (30) days of the incident or from when you have learned about your condition.
With a work-related injury or illness, your employer should give you a WC-1 form to fill out. On this form you will describe the injury or illness, how it occurred, and if it occurred as a result of your employment. You will, then, give it back your employer who will fill out the rest and submit it to the workers’ compensation insurance to be reviewed. Always keep a copy of the form for your own records. During this phase of the workers’ compensation process, deadlines are crucial. Your employer should respond to your injury within one (1) business day. If you or your employer delay in submitting a workers’ compensation claim, it may be denied which can lead to a loss of potential benefits.
The insurance will have a claims administrator review the forms and determine whether or not you are eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Sometimes, they may even investigate your claim to ensure its validity. Once they have made their decision, your employer should notify you if you have been approved or denied. If approved, they will provide information about the benefits you may be eligible to receive for your injury or illness. If denied, you may still argue against the decision depending on your situation. It is important to know that even during this claims process, you may still seek medical attention and treatments. During this phase, these treatments will be covered by your employer; however, the coverage amount is limited.
With workers’ compensation benefits, you will receive the coverage necessary to treat your injury or illness that has resulted from chemical exposure. Depending on your situation, the treatments can vary. You may receive light medical attention, or you may have to receive multiple treatments over a period of time. Everyone’s case is different, and with workers’ compensation, you should be able to receive what is necessary for your work-related injury or health condition.
Finding a Workers’ Compensation Attorney Near Me
Hazardous chemicals and toxins have the potential to cause serious damage to your health, and the effects can be lasting. Especially for workers who have to work with hazardous materials and substances on a daily basis, your health may be at risk if there are any hazardous chemicals or toxins present in your workplace. Also, this can affect any worker. From factory employees and construction workers to office workers and janitors, chemicals and toxins can be found in a wide variety of workplaces. Even if there are precautionary protocols in places and training to learn how to handle certain chemicals, accidents may still occur to anyone. This is where workers’ compensation comes in. Workers’ compensation is provided for all employees in California should they sustain an injury or develop a health condition as a result of their employment—even if it was accidental. With workers’ compensation, you can receive assistance for treatment of chemical or toxic exposure.
At the Workers Compensation Attorney Law Firm, we specialize in cases dealing with workers’ compensation. We can help any worker in the Los Angeles area with their claims or figuring out the workers’ compensation process. Toxic and chemical exposure can have a significant impact on your health and on your future. So, it is only important that you receive all of the compensation you deserve to treat any injury or condition you may have sustained. Even if you feel that your claim has been wrongfully denied, we can still help you. Contact our Los Angeles workers compensation attorney today at 310-956-4277. Our team wants to hear from you and get started on your case as soon as possible.