Simply attending your job should never place your health at risk, but unfortunately for workers all across Chicago, that is the result they face annually due to exposure to toxic substances while working. Toxic substances can take many forms and can affect an employee’s respiratory system, circulatory system, bone structure, soft tissues, eyes, ears, limbs, and other aspects of a worker’s body.
An employee’s exposure to hazards in the workplace can also place family members at home in danger. Substances can be transferred from the workplace to the home through skin, hair, clothes, shoes, or even tools and cars. It is incredibly important for employers to educate their employees about proper hygiene tactics to prevent this additional exposure and to provide a safe work environment to avoid toxic substance exposure for the worker.
Toxic Substance Exposure through Skin Contact
Exposure to chemicals and toxic substances in the workplace poses a certain danger to an employee’s skin. In 2010 the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported over 34,000 cases of skin diseases in employees. Many non-volatile chemicals are easily absorbed through the skin, allowing the absorption to occur without the employee or worker knowing of it. The absorption of these dangerous chemicals can lead to not only skin diseases and problems, but it can endanger other systems and organs in the body. Most commonly, chemicals absorbed through the skin are linked to causing respiratory illnesses like lung cancer.
Occupational Cancer resulting from Toxic Exposure
Unfortunately, another consequence to prolonged exposure to hazardous substances is cancer. When a person contracts cancer that is caused fully or partially by the exposure to a carcinogen (a substance or agent that can cause cancer or increases the risk of cancer) at work it is referred to as occupational cancer. The most common types of cancer caused by exposure in the workplace include lung cancer, bladder cancer, and mesothelioma. Some other documented types of cancer caused by workplace carcinogens include leukemia as well as nasal, sinus, lip, throat, and skin cancer.
It is incredibly difficult to determine what exactly causes an individual to get cancer. It is predicted by the American Cancer Society that 4 percent of cancer cases in America are due to occupational exposure to carcinogens. While around 6 percent of deaths caused by cancer yearly, or approximately 34,000 deaths, are linked to occupational and environmental exposure.
Workers Facing High Risks of Exposure to Toxic Substances
An employee in any industry and performing any job may come into contact with toxic substances during the course of her duties. Yet some workers and industries present a greater risk than others as some inherently deal with chemicals, additives, and other harmful agents that can cause injuries to a worker.
The following list includes occupations that pose a higher risk for the foregoing health problems:
- Construction Workers
- Farmers – others in the agriculture industry
- Chemical Manufacturing
- Iron and Steel Founding
- Electronics Manufacturers
- Nail Technicians
- Chimney Sweepers
- Textile Industry Workers
- Leather Workers
- Paving Employees
- Hairdressers or Barbers
- Food Industry Assembly Line Workers – Especially Microwave Popcorn
- Rubber Manufacturers
- Plastic Manufacturers
Have You Been Injured by a Toxic Substance in the Workplace?
Often, employees are too afraid to speak out and to demand the protection they deserve which means that unsafe conditions in the workplace are addressed once it is too late. OSHA law prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for exercising their right to a safe and healthy workplace. You will not be penalized for speaking out to protect your health or the health of your fellow employees. Those working with toxic substances or hazardous chemicals have the right to raise a health or safety concern as well as the right to report an injury to the OSHA.
Furthermore, in the state of Illinois, workers’ compensation rights do not hinge on liability. Therefore regardless of who is to blame for you or your loved one’s injury you may be entitled to compensation for your damages.
If you have suffered from injury or health problems due to a toxic substance or chemical in the workplace, or if someone you love has been injured or killed due to these dangerous materials, contact the personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. Over the years, our legal team has helped countless workplace accident victims seek the relief they deserve and we are ready to help you as well.
Contact Abels & Annes, P.C., toll-free at (855) LAW-CHICAGO (529-2442) or locally in Chicago at (312) 924-7575. If you prefer, contact us online for a free, no-obligation case consultation. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to take your call and provide the answers you need.
If you were injured by exposure to toxic substances at work, call Abels & Annes, P.C. toll free at (855) LAW-CHICAGO for a free case consultation now.