Hagen Rosskopf Explains the Need for Caution When Handling Hazardous Materials

Posted by JaamZIN on 10:52 PM
Many workers and homeowners are exposed to hazardous substances every year. Asbestos and lead are only a few examples of these dangerous materials. Poisons, fertilizers, and acids are other culprits. Using, transporting, and storing these dangerous substances could cause personal injury.

Hagen Rosskopf, a personal injury law firm in Atlanta, explains the ways in which hazardous substances can cause injury and the legal steps that injured parties can take to receive compensation.

The Dangers of Using Hazardous Chemicals

Some chemicals are more dangerous than others. Toxic substances need to be stored, used, and handled properly in order to avoid accidents. These accidents could hurt people and damage property.
Hazardous substances are particularly problematic on the job site. Chemical spills, overuse of chemicals without the proper safety equipment, and burns or other injuries could happen. Innocent bystanders could also be injured when workplace chemicals are not used properly.

Oversight of Chemical Use

The federal EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) keeps track of thousands of different chemicals that could cause injury and death. These chemicals range from household cleaners to fertilizers. Employers must report these chemicals under the “Tier II” system, but it is possible that employers are not fully reporting them.

Since 2005, the EPA has recorded 60 deaths, $1.6 billion in damages, and 1,300 injuries related to hazardous chemical use.

Many states have their own hazardous chemical laws to protect their residents from injury. These protocols provide important local reinforcement to the EPA’s policies.

The Most Common Chemicals Resulting in Injury

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a paper detailing the top five most hazardous chemicals involved in acute chemical incidents. These chemicals are carbon monoxide, ammonia, chlorine, hydrochloric acid, and sulfuric acid. Carbon monoxide and ammonia caused most of the injuries, evacuations, and deaths.

One of the major chemical hazards at home is carbon monoxide poisoning. This can be prevented by installing inexpensive detectors, but many building owners neglect this responsibility, leaving them open to lawsuits.

Inaccurate Reporting

When companies do not fully report the chemicals on their job sites, accidents could injure not only the employees, but also the first responders coming to help them with the situation. This could certainly result in legal trouble for the employer.

The Most Common Work-Related Chemical Injuries

The most common chemical injuries include chemical burns to the skin, inhalation burns to the lungs, mouth, and throat, and injuries from fires or explosions. Rashes are potentially the easiest injuries to treat. Nerve and brain damage could also be possible with chemical injuries. In severe cases, these exposures could also result in death, leading to wrongful death lawsuits.

Chemical exposure over time, such as exposure to asbestos, could possibly result in cancer years or even decades after the exposure.

Regulatory Education Programs

The high level of risk associated with these chemicals led the EPA to create education and reporting programs. State agencies have also added their own programs. Companies must report whether they have caches of dangerous materials at their job sites. Employees also need to be taught to safely handle these substances, using MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) and other guidelines.

When employees are properly trained to handle chemical emergencies, it is less likely that they would need to file workers’ compensation or injury claims against their workplaces or supervisors.

Personal Injury Attorneys Protect Your Rights

Most chemical injuries in the workplace will result in a workers’ compensation claim. In some cases, a civil lawsuit may be appropriate. Every state has its own regulations regarding the handling of toxic chemicals, meaning that each case is unique.

Each injured employee has the right to workers’ compensation benefits. They must prove that they were exposed to these hazardous chemicals while they were at work and that they were injured as a result.

Personal injury attorneys recommend that injured employees file claims as early as possible. They should recruit witnesses for their case. They must also report the claim to their employer and their primary care physician.

If an employee has received a permanent injury, they may be eligible for disability benefits. They may need retraining if they need to find a new job because they cannot perform the duties of their old job after the injury. They may also receive payments while they are recovering. The medical needs of these patients may also require extra compensation.

How Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help You

If you have been exposed to a toxic chemical in the workplace, an experienced law firm like Hagen Rosskopf may be able to help you navigate the challenging process of receiving compensation. Taking care to explore all of the possible avenues of compensation will help you receive the money and assistance you are entitled to by law.

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