New Jersey Workplace Chemical Exposure Attorneys
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We like to think of our work environment as a safe place. However, toxic exposure can occur almost anywhere, leaving us physically ill, incapable of working, or permanently disabled. Most of the time, chemical exposure happens in factories, on construction sites, or in places that deal with dangerous materials, but exposure is not limited to those places only. Even an office worker can suffer from toxic exposure in an improperly ventilated area.
If you suspect that you or a loved one was exposed to toxic chemicals while on a job and suffered an injury, please contact our experienced New Jersey workplace injury lawyers at Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C. Proving toxic exposure can be difficult, but we have experience with these cases. Take the first step and call us today at (609) 240-0040 to receive a free, comprehensive case evaluation.
Chemical exposure takes place when someone is exposed to harmful chemicals by breathing, touching, eating, or drinking them. The symptoms from chemical exposure vary from mild reactions like a rash to more severe and permanent reactions such as brain or organ damage.
Chemical exposure happens most often when safety equipment or protective gear, such as goggles, gloves, or a bodysuit, is deficient. It is up to each employer to provide his or her workers with adequate protective gear, to warn workers about known hazards in the workplace, and to limit the worker’s exposure to those hazards as much as possible.
Breathing contaminated air is the most common way toxic exposure occurs at a workplace. This is the case for jobs like welding, as toxic particulates are blown into the air as a byproduct of the welder. The chemicals enter the body through the mouth and pass into the lungs or bloodstream. Chemicals can also be accidentally swallowed, which is why it’s vital to not drink, eat, or smoke in areas that might have chemicals.
Touching or skin contact is also a common way for chemicals to enter the body. Certain chemicals can easily pass the skin layers and enter the bloodstream. Workers are especially exposed if they have any cuts or scrapes, as there is no protective layer to stop the chemicals from entering the body.
A less common instance of chemical exposure is injection. This might happen at a laboratory or hospital. Accidental injection results in chemicals entering the bloodstream and possibly wreaking havoc on the organs.
As the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) states, employers are required to have labels and safety data sheets to train workers how to handle chemicals safely. Employees should also be given information on the dangers of the chemicals in their vicinity and what safety measures they need to take in order to avoid toxic exposure.
The New Jersey Department of Health developed a Right to Know Hazardous Substance List (RTKHSL) that contains over 2,000 hazardous substances. It’s available as a resource for all workers. However, some of the more common toxic chemicals and substances that are found on the job are:
Chemical exposure can cause rashes, burns, bleeding, and lung injuries, as well as brain damage, heart failure, and cancer in the long run. There is a wide range of health problems you could suffer, and many times, "toxidromes" (symptoms caused by toxins in the body) take some time to show up. The ones you may see first are itching, irritation, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and blurred vision, if you were exposed to high levels of toxins at one time.
There are two types of chemical exposure: acute and chronic. With acute toxicity, the victim suffers one or more severe toxic exposures within 24 hours, and will see the adverse effects generally within two weeks.
Chronic toxicity comes after long exposure to lower levels of toxins, and the adverse effects may take years to show up. OSHA warns all workers that some chemicals can cause both acute and chronic toxicity.
If you suspect you were exposed to chemicals while working:
- Report your exposure to a supervisor immediately.
- Explain, in detail, how your exposure happened.
- Get the names and contact information of anyone who witnessed your accident.
- Seek medical treatment at once.
- Let your doctor know that you were exposed to a toxic chemical.
If you or your loved one suspect that toxic chemicals on a job contributed to your injury or illness, contact Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C., at (609) 240-0040 for a free consultation. Proving toxic exposure, especially chronic exposure, is a difficult thing to do. To get the workers’ compensation benefits that you deserve, let our experienced New Jersey chemical exposure lawyers help. We may find that a third party, like a manufacturer or property owner, was also to blame for your injury. If that’s the case, we will file a third-party claim against them as well to get you and your family the money you need now and for the future.
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