Exposure to Toxins at Work: Workplace Exposure Claims
The subject of workplace exposure is important when one is considering workers' compensation. A worker who is suffering from an illness or injury caused by exposure to toxins or hazardous situations at the workplace may be entitled to cash benefits and medical care under the New York workers' compensation system. Some examples may include exposure to toxic chemicals such as benzene or asbestos, exposure to naturally occurring substances like mold and exposure to loud noises. Napoli Shkolnik PLLC represents injured workers and families of deceased workers who have suffered from workplace exposure.
One of the key advantages we can offer our clients is the use of our secure database to store medical and exposure information. Our firm can keep detailed and accurate records of all medical treatment sought and medical records pertaining to exposure to chemicals, noise or radiation at the workplace. This may include regular tests of lung function, hearing tests, blood tests or other relevant information that serves to track unsafe levels of hazardous substances or emergent health concerns. We can also track what exposure has occurred. This information may prove invaluable in future workers' compensation claims, hearings and appeals.
Workplace Exposure Regulations
State and federal regulations dictate exposure levels of certain substances in the air workers breathe. They also address ventilation, respirators, safety equipment, safety protocol and various measures that must be taken by employers to train and protect employees from exposure, which may occur through inhalation, ingestion or skin contact. State and federal regulations also address noise levels in the workplace. When an employer is negligent in implementing safety measures, does not properly train employees or otherwise fails in their duty to protect employees from exposure, employees pay the price.
Health Problems Linked to Exposure to Toxins and Noise
There are a number of health problems that may be caused by occupational exposure to toxins, loud noise, radiation and other hazardous substances or situations. Three are highlighted below:
Benzene Exposure and Leukemia Benzene, one of the 20 most used chemicals in the U.S., is a known carcinogen, meaning it causes cancer. Exposure to benzene over a period of years may lead to leukemia, a cancer of the blood cells. Leukemia starts in the bone marrow, affecting the production of white blood cells. Too many white blood cells are created, and they do not do their primary function of preventing infection. Overcrowding of these abnormal blood cells may cause anemia, infection, bleeding and death.
Asbestos Exposure and Mesothelioma Though now regulated by the government, asbestos was once used in a wide range of commercial and consumer applications through the mid-1970s. When inhaled or ingested, asbestos fibers may cause mesothelioma, a rare but deadly form of cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, abdomen or heart. Occupational asbestos exposure may also lead to asbestosis and lung cancer.
Exposure to Loud Noises and Hearing Loss Employees in certain occupations may be exposed to loud noises, and depending on the volume of these noises, this can lead to permanent hearing loss. Firefighters, paramedics and emergency medical technicians, for example, may suffer from hearing loss caused by continued exposure to sirens. Construction workers may be exposed to loud noises from power tools and heavy machinery. Workers in manufacturing plants may be exposed to loud noises caused by equipment and machinery.
Please note that there are many other different types of toxins or conditions that may endanger an employee's health. The above are meant to provide examples that shed light on the overall subject.
Filing a Workers' Compensation Claim
A worker who is suffering from occupational hearing loss or any type of disease or medical problem related to exposure to hazardous conditions or toxins at the workplace may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. It will be necessary to file a claim and to provide sufficient information and medical documentation of the worker's condition so it can be established that it was caused at work or while the worker was performing his or her job duties. With the use of stored information in our database and our experience in handling workers' comp claims in New York and across the U.S., the team at our firm can help disabled workers seek the benefits they need. We also handle Social Security Disability claims and personal injury lawsuits related to workplace exposure when applicable.
Contact a New York workers' compensation lawyer today to learn more about exposure at work and what you can do if you've suffered health problems as a result. We are here to help.