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Chemical Exposure Has Long-Term Effects

Posted on in Construction Accidents

Chemical Exposure Has Long-Term EffectsExposure to hazardous substances is a serious risk that some construction workers face on the job. The immediate danger is most apparent when disastrous events occur, such as explosions. However, chemical exposure can cause medical conditions that may become life-threatening over time. Construction workers must be aware of the long-term hazards of working with toxic substances.

Types of Hazards

Construction projects may use materials that are toxic to workers who come in contact with them. Builders have stopped using some of the most hazardous materials, such as asbestos. However, workers may still need to remove dangerous materials if they are renovating an older building. Workers can also become ill due to exposure to more common substances, such as:

  • Lead; 
  • Chemical dust; 
  • Glues; and
  • Solvents.

How Exposure Happens

Toxic materials can enter the body by breathing them in, touching them or accidentally ingesting them. This may occur during an explosion, spill or fire. However, many occupational illnesses are the result of more subtle and prolonged exposure. Workers gradually absorb the toxins into their bodies, which enter the bloodstream and cause serious medical conditions.

Symptoms

Chemical poisoning can start as an allergic reaction that a person does not connect with his or her exposure to toxic materials. Symptoms may include:

  • Headaches;
  • Dizziness;
  • Coughing;
  • Shortness of breath;
  • Sore throat;
  • Irritated eyes;
  • Nausea;
  • Vomiting;
  • Rashes; and
  • Increased irritability.

If the condition is left untreated, it can later develop into different forms of cancer and respiratory diseases. 

Negligence

Workers who prove they are suffering from an occupational disease often receive workers’ compensation benefits to cover medical expenses and lost wages. However, workers’ compensation may not be enough to pay for the long-term medical costs and personal suffering. A victim can obtain additional compensation if he or she can prove that a third party’s negligence caused the occupational disease. Workers are responsible for following safety procedures to protect themselves. Some factors are out of their control, such as:

  • Faulty safety equipment;
  • Negligence by other workers; and
  • Insufficient warning of hazards.

In order to establish negligence, the worker must prove that the third party did not make a reasonable effort to protect the worker’s safety and the worker had no way of foreseeing the hazard that caused the danger.

Receiving Full Compensation

If chemical exposure at your construction site has made you ill, you may be entitled to personal injury damages from a negligent party. A Barrington personal injury attorney at Joseph M. Lucas & Associates, LLC, can help you obtain compensation for your medical expenses and personal suffering. To schedule an appointment, call 847-381-8700.

Source:

https://www.osha.gov/dte/grant_materials/fy11/sh-22240-11/ChemicalHazards.pdf

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