Workplace injuries are most commonly thought of as physical accidents; slipping, tripping, or being injured by machinery and equipment. In many industries, however, workers face exposure to harmful chemicals. Exposure to toxic chemicals causes more than 10% of all occupational deaths in the United States. Employers are responsible for ensuring a safe work environment, but sometimes these precautions are not enough.
According to NewsMax, the top three industries in Delaware are, in descending order, the aircraft industry, environmental protection companies, and the healthcare industry. These industries use a great deal of chemicals, from caustic cleaning solutions to toxic fuels. Even environmental protection companies are exposed to toxic materials, whether during a cleanup or in the form of approved pesticides.
Common consequences of exposure
Injuries from chemical exposures can occur instantly, as with a chemical burn, or during low-level exposure over time. The injuries suffered depend on the way a worker was exposed. Chemicals can be ingested, inhaled, or absorbed the skin. According to the Centers for Disease Control, skin absorption is by far the most common, with more than 13 million workers exposed every year.
In the past, efforts to protect workers from harmful chemicals have focused on inhalation risks. However, it is becoming clear that these efforts are not enough. Occupational skin diseases are the second most common occupational disease, and this may be the direct result of a lack of attention to skin contact risk. The most common occupational skin diseases include:
- Irritant contact dermatitis
- Allergic contact dermatitis
- Skin cancers
- Skin infections
- Skin injuries
- Other miscellaneous skin diseases
If you have suffered injuries as a result of toxic chemicals on the job, you are likely entitled to compensation. However, if the effects of the exposure are not obvious, or have occurred gradually, it may be more difficult to prove that you became ill on the job. In that case, it pays to have a skilled Delaware workers’ compensation lawyer by your side.
If you or someone you know has been injured on the job, our experienced Delaware workers’ compensation attorneys can help get you the compensation you deserve. Silverman, McDonald & Friedman have offices in Newark, Seaford, and Wilmington. If you are unable to visit an office in person, please contact us today to schedule a consultation.
Attorney Jeffrey S. Friedman joined Silverman, McDonald & Friedman in 2001. He graduated from Widener University School of Law, and is admitted to practice law in Delaware and Pennsylvania, and in several Federal Circuit courts. He areas of concentration include auto accident and workers’ compensation cases. Read more about Attorney Friedman here.