Georgia Chemical Exposure Accidents in the Workplace
The jobs of many hard-working people in Georgia expose them to chemicals. Chemicals can be hazardous to work near. Every employee must take precaution against leaks, spills, fires, exposure to fumes, and burns. Additionally, every employer must protect their employees from the dangers of working near chemicals.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration, or OSHA, established the minimum safety guidelines for working with chemicals and other toxins. OSHA's regulations for handling, storing, and transporting chemicals are a comprehensive collection of laws designed to ensure the safety of all employees in the workplace. Nearly every job can expose a person to a dangerous chemical. While we often think of chemical exposures causing injury or death being more prominent in manufacturing, mining, drilling, and transportation, other professionals can expose workers to hazardous chemicals and fumes. Therefore, every employer should make it a priority of theirs to protect and educate their employees on protocols relating to chemical exposures.
OSHA's rules attempt to account for every aspect of working with chemicals. However,even a powerfulregulatory body like OSHA cannot keep track of every chemicalmanufacturedand used in industry in the U.S. OSHA admits this short-coming. Accordingly, employers bear the responsibilityfor taking care of their employees by limiting exposure to noxious fumes, combustible or flammable liquids, dangerous acids, and carcinogenic materials such as asbestos.
The number of American workers who suffer injuries from chemical exposure or die as a result of harmful contact with chemical compound is staggering. According to OSHA, 190,000 people fall ill or suffer an injury and 50,000 people die each year from chemical exposures. Those figures might seem extraordinary at first glance. However, OSHA considers some cancers to stem from chemical exposures. Similarly, OSHA determined that a whole host of skin diseases, kidney diseases, heart problems, cognitive problems, reproductive issues, digestive, and neurological problems linked to exposure to toxic chemicals in the workplace.
The figures endorsed by OSHA involving chemical exposure illness and death are an extrapolation because many illnesses and chronic diseases have a lengthy incubation period. In other words, the illnesses do not appear immediately. They take time to develop and in some cases, like mesothelioma, the incubation period could be 20-plus years.
Recent data, not based on a theory of extrapolation demonstrates a positive trend in the workplace. In 2016, the latest data available, 268 people died in the U.S. from exposure to chemicals in the workplace. Regrettably, 217 of those deaths may be attributed to an unintentional overdose. The remaining deaths occurred as a result of various methods of exposure to harmful substances at work.
Fire, explosions, and leaks accounted for additional workplace deaths. Approximately 55 people died in various explosions of chemicals or the containers in which the chemicals were housed ruptured leading to the death of an employee. Another seven people died as a result of flammable substances catching fire. By contrast, 2,083 people died in workplace accidents involving transportation, 849 died from falls, 761 people were struck by an object, and 866 people met their demise in workplace violence at the hands of another human being or as a result of an animal accident.
Chemical injuries can be devastating and permanent. As a result, you may be eligible to receive workers' compensation benefits for an extended period. Your employer's workers' compensation insurer may cover your medical bills up to 400 weeks' pay. Additionally, you may be eligible to receive monetary benefits for catastrophic loss or partial disability. You could receive two-thirds of your gross weekly salary up to $575.00 per week for your disability.
If you do suffer an injury at work from exposure to chemicals, be sure to follow the procedures for notifying your employer. Georgia law allows 30 days to file a notice of claim. Additionally, you have one (1) year in which to file a complaint with the Georgia Workers' Compensation Board. You should consult a knowledgeable and experienced Georgia workers' compensation lawyer for assistance with these issues.
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If you have been injured in any type of accident at work, call Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law for your free consultation today. Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law has been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and in the Southeast for over 36 years, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.
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Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law
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Atlanta, GA 30329
Telephone: 1 (800) LAW-NEED
Telephone: 1 (404) 529-6333