Chemicals: A Silent Workplace Threat

There are a lot of jobs out there that require workers to work directly with chemicals. Unfortunately, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), many of these chemicals can cause serious health problems for workers.

These chemicals can include asthmagens, pneumoconiotic agents, dermatopathic agents, immunological agents, sensitizers, neurological toxicants, reproductive toxicants, carcinogens and even systemic toxins.
Our Asheville workers’ compensation attorneys understand chemicals can even affect those completing office work — who may think that chemicals could never risk their safety at work. While most chemical contaminants come from within a building, it’s still possible for them to be drawn inside from outdoors, too! The degree to which chemical exposure can affect your health depends on a number of factors. That includes how much of the chemical is present, how often a worker is exposed to the chemical, how harmful the chemical and how sensitive a person is to a particular chemical.

Sometimes you’ll be able to recognize when you’re being exposed to and harmed by chemicals. But unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Keep an eye on yourself and on your coworkers to be able to spot and of the following symptoms.

Common Symptoms Reported From Chemical Over-Exposure:

-Throat and Nose Irritation
-Itchy, Burning or Watery Eyes.

What Workers Can Do to Prevent Chemical Exposures:

-Report any kind of safety or health concerns immediately to explorers or supervisors.

-If you feel like you have been overexposed to any chemical, seek medical assistance. Don’t wait around and wait for more side effects to kick in.

-Try not to use air fresheners or any kind of room deodorizers. These can cause throat, nose and eye irritation.

-Make sure that all foods are stores in the appropriate areas.

-Make sure that trash is taken out promptly to prevent and kind of odors.

-Cleaning products should never be mixed.

-Workplaces should choose low-emitting office supplies and cleaners.

-Be sure that employers are keeping material safety data sheets for all dangerous substances and chemicals and that they’re passing along the information to workers.

For workers dealing directly with chemicals, it’s important for employers to provide them with the necessary safety and protective equipment. This can include chemical cartridge respirators, masks, suits, breathing apparatuses and protective clothing.

Remember that there are even some chemicals that can be immediate threats to your health and even your life. It’s important to keep an eye on chemicals and the symptoms your experience. In any negotiable situations you want to remove yourself and immediately report your concerns.

This is such a serious problem that dangerous and hazardous chemicals kill close to 450,000 workers worldwide each year.

Reducing exposure to all kinds of chemicals on the job is a preventative action that can lead to improved outcomes for both employee health and to the environment.

If you or a loved one is out of work and facing a workers’ compensation claim, call the Lee Law Offices, P.A. for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

More Blog Entries:

Worker Killed in Excavation Project on NC State’s Centennial Campus, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, December 6, 2012

Tips for Worker Safety When Using a Chain Saw This Winter, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, November 30, 2012

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