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What protections exist for workers exposed to toxic materials?

On Behalf of | Jan 31, 2022 | Personal Injury Law

Sometimes, your job responsibilities might put your health and safety at risk. Many job risks are obvious. People who drive for work or who operate heavy machinery understand that they could suffer a traumatic injury at any moment.

However, there are plenty of workplace risks that are far more subtle. Rather than resulting in a dramatic incident and severe injuries, these risks cause minor or cumulative damage to the human body that builds up over many years.

Toxic exposure is a perfect example. Workers may encounter low levels of dangerous substances while performing their jobs. Frequent or prolonged exposure to those substances could potentially lead to someone developing severe illnesses, like cancer. What protections exist for workers exposed to toxic substances? 

Federal rules require training and safety practices

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recognizes numerous chemical hazards that could endanger workers. From heavy metals and benzene to silica and arsenic, many toxic substances require either training or special equipment for safe workplace handling.

Employers should comply with both federal and California state chemical safety regulations when it comes to how they train or supply the workers at their company.

Workers’ compensation can cover treatment

Employers also need to carry workers’ compensation insurance to protect their employees. If someone develops an illness because of workplace chemical exposure, they can claim workers’ compensation benefits.

These benefits will include full medical coverage for necessary care and disability benefits. Workers won’t have to worry about foregoing treatment because they can’t afford it or losing out on the money they need to support their families.

Civil lawsuits can be an option

In scenarios where a company was obviously negligent in its training or openly violating California or OSHA safety rules for workplace chemical exposure, workers may have grounds for a lawsuit.

Usually, workers’ compensation coverage of an employer of liability. However, gross negligence or illegal workplace practices could open a company up to a civil suit. Those coping with the consequences of toxic exposure in the workplace may need to explore every option for compensation available to them. Taking action after injury or illness can protect you and the family that depends on you.