Despite federal regulations demanding workplace safety, exposure to toxic chemicals is a daily risk for thousands of workers across Philadelphia and Pennsylvania. Toxic exposure can have devastating health effects, leading to injuries and complications such as cancer, lung disease, chemical burns, organ failure, vision loss, radiation poisoning, mesothelioma, skin lesions, infertility, and even wrongful death.
If you were exposed to dangerous chemicals at your workplace or due to an industrial accident, look to the Reiff Law Firm for aggressive legal representation. Our Philadelphia toxic exposure attorneys are here to help you fight for the maximum compensation. Contact us online today to set up a free consultation, or call the Reiff Law Firm at (215) 246-9000 to speak with an attorney.
Chemical Hazards in the Workplace
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which is part of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), enforces employer compliance with workplace safety regulations throughout the United States. Unfortunately, despite OSHA intervention, there are countless workplaces across Pennsylvania which contain chemical hazards that are improperly stored, labeled, used, or disposed of.
While any workplace contains hidden hazards, certain types of jobs or industries may pose greater dangers – including those in which workers must handle volatile, corrosive, explosive, caustic, toxic, radioactive, or flammable chemicals. Examples of workers who are often in close contact with chemical substances include chemists and laboratory workers, medical researchers, workers at manufacturing facilities, workers at pesticide plants, and workers who clean up or dispose of toxic waste. Other types of workers who might be at higher risk of toxic exposure include:
- Agricultural workers (e.g. pesticides)
- Construction workers (e.g. cadmium)
- Miners (e.g. mercury)
- Oil and natural gas workers (e.g. benzene)
- Popcorn plant workers (e.g. diacetyl)
While chemical workers typically have the greatest risk of a medically significant exposure, members of the general public can also become exposed if a serious industrial accident, refinery explosion, or chemical spill occurs.
Dangerous Industrial Chemicals
There are thousands of dangerous chemicals that are capable of causing injury or death. Some require high concentrations to produce death or injury, while others can be fatal with merely the slightest contact. Some are dangerous on their own, while others must be combined with other substances before producing hazardous effects. Many are fast-acting, odorless, tasteless, and colorless, greatly heightening the danger – particularly if other safety protocols have been compromised by shortcuts, a lack of experience, or workers being in a rush.
Examples of industrial chemicals that can be harmful to human health include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Asphalt fumes
- Diesel exhaust
- Ethylene oxide
- Hydrogen sulfide
- Manganese (welding fumes)
- Metalworking fluids (MWFs)
- Silica dust
- Toxic mold
Filing a Chemical Injury Lawsuit in Pennsylvania
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, federal law broadly requires U.S. employers to maintain workplaces that are “free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm” to employees, which involves carefully adhering to hundreds or thousands of highly specialized regulations. For instance, as OSHA’s web page discussing chemical hazards notes, employers must take steps to “identify and evaluate the respiratory hazard(s) in their workplaces.” Additionally, “All employers with hazardous chemicals… must have labels and safety data sheets for their exposed workers,” while furthermore, providing these workers with the necessary training “to handle the chemicals appropriately.”
Unfortunately, many Pennsylvania employers fail to comply with basic safety regulations, either intentionally to cut costs or through sheer negligence. In other situations, a chemical worker might make careless errors that expose his or her peers to a toxic substance. If the negligence of another party (or multiple parties) led to your injuries, those parties may be responsible for financially compensating your losses, including your:
- Damage to personal property
- Diminished future earning capacity
- Lost earnings
- Medical bills
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
However, in order to hold the at-fault parties liable, you will need to file a chemical exposure claim or lawsuit seeking damages (compensation), providing ample evidence that supports your claim. Examples of useful evidence, which our attorneys will handle obtaining for you while you recuperate, can include medical photographs, expert medical opinions, eyewitness statements, surveillance or security camera footage, and logs and records from the plant, factory, or refinery where the accident and exposure occurred.
Philadelphia Chemical Exposure Lawyers Can File Your Injury Claim
You do not have to suffer in silence if you were exposed to toxic chemicals because of another person’s negligence. If somebody’s careless actions led to your injuries, the chemical injury lawyers of the Reiff Law Firm are here to explain your legal rights, hold the liable parties accountable, and pursue compensation on behalf of you and your loved ones. Contact us online today to set up a free legal consultation, or call our law offices at (215) 246-9000.