Injuries Related To Hazardous Materials
There are more hazardous materials in the workplace than many people realize—and the government has strict standards as to how those materials are to be stored and used, as well as what emergency preparedness steps must be taken. Nonetheless, workers sometimes experience exposure to these materials, sometimes as a result of an employer’s negligence. If you believe you’ve experienced harm in this way, you may want to consider pursuing legal action in order to receive compensation for your injuries. The experienced personal injury attorneys at our office know exactly how to proceed in these matters.
Workplace Safety Protocols
Any facility that has hazardous materials on the premises is required to take specific steps in order to mitigate any potential risks to the environment or to human health. The goal is to minimize the release of these toxins into the air, soil, or water where they can cause damage to workers or the public. Some of the basic requirements include:
- Having an on-site coordinator to deal with emergencies;
- 24-hour surveillance on parts of the facility that are active;
- Barriers surrounding these areas of the facility;
- Danger signs warning unauthorized individuals to stay out of sensitive areas in all major languages spoken in the facility;
- Labels on all hazardous materials;
- Protocols to regulate who enters sensitive areas;
- Alarm systems to alert managers of issues, along with emergency instructions that can be broadcast to individuals on the premises;
- A plan that coordinates with emergency responders, who have knowledge of the layout and materials on site;
- Training procedures to educate employees about the materials, their dangers, and how to react in emergency situations.
What Kinds of Materials are We Talking About?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration outlines wide-ranging categories of materials that are of concern, including those that are highly toxic, carcinogens, corrosives, irritants, and those that target organs. Some of the most common chemicals include carbon monoxide, chlorine, hydrochloric acid, ammonia, and sulfuric acid.
Chemical Exposure Symptoms
How do you know if you’ve suffered a chemical exposure? Some symptoms are immediate, while others may take years to appear. Much depends on the chemical itself, the level of exposure, and whether or not the exposure occurred over a period of time. Some common symptoms include but are not limited to:
- Nausea and vomiting;
- Headaches or confusion;
- Vision issues;
- Loss of consciousness;
- Rashes or blisters;
- Breathing problems;
- Various cancers.
After a Workplace Exposure
Many employees are under the mistaken belief that Workers’ Compensation is the beginning and end of all compensation to which they are entitled. However, when an employer has failed to protect employees due to recklessness or negligence, it is possible to sue for damages to address pain and suffering and any scarring you may suffer as a result of your injuries. But the clock is ticking: you have just four years from the onset of injuries to file a claim under Florida law. If you believe you may have a case, schedule a confidential consultation with the Kissimmee personal injury attorneys at Salazar & Kelly Law Group, P.A. today.