Employees who handle hazardous chemicals in North Carolina have specific rights to know the potential health consequences of the chemicals and employers have an obligation to ensure workplace safety for those handling hazardous or dangerous chemicals.
Our North Carolina workers’ compensation attorneys encourage employees to understand what they are using on the job. Exposure to dangerous chemicals while on the job can quietly cause serious or fatal health risks.
North Carolina’s Hazardous Chemicals Right to Know Act requires all employers who “manufacture, process, use, store, or produce” hazardous chemicals in quantities of 55 gallons or more (or 500 pounds or more) to maintain a list and provide Material Safety Data Sheets.
Material Safety Data Sheets will provide information about a substances’ explosion or fire risks as well as its known health risks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also offers a pocket guide to hazardous chemicals.
In addition to federal regulations, the U.S. Department of Labor reports that North Carolina has additional guidelines with which businesses must comply when it comes to dealing with hazardous materials or toxic and hazardous substances.
The government recognizes nine forms of hazardous materials:
-Oxidizing agents and organic peroxides
-Toxic and infectious substances
An employee may get sick and never equate the illness with exposure to dangerous chemicals at work. In many cases, cancers and respiratory diseases have been linked to dangerous chemicals or substances employees were exposed to over a period of years, or even decades, in the workplace. The use of asbestos and its link to mesothelioma is just one high-profile example.
If you are concerned about a dangerous chemical in the workplace or about an illness you believe may be associated with chemical exposure, contact the North Carolina work injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Lee & Smith today for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 800-887-1965.